Apartments Drive Growth in Building Approvals


The highs of Australian house approvals have been joined by the apartment sector, with a huge increase recorded.

The number of multi-unit dwellings approved in March jumped 63.6 per cent, the biggest increase since November 2017, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

New house approvals remained at near-record highs, edging up by 0.1 per cent to 14117, an increase of just nine houses on February’s results.

Total dwelling approvals rose in New South Wales by 26.9 per cent, Victoria 24.7 per cent, Queensland 12.1 per cent and South Australia 3.5 per cent, in seasonally adjusted terms.

Western Australia and Tasmania fell -6.4 per cent and -4.8 per cent respectively.

Dwellings approved by building type

Houses, Units approved by building type, Australian Bureau of Statistics

^Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, March 2021 Seasonally Adjusted

ABS director of construction statistics Daniel Rossi said the apartment market was the major contributor to building approvals continuing the record climb this month.

“The total number of dwellings approved in March was the second-highest recorded, only exceeded by the November 2017 result,” Rossi said.

“The number of private sector house approvals also remained at elevated levels due to HomeBuilder.

House and apartment approvals

StateHousesMonthly ChangeUnitsMonthly Change
Western Australia2493-0.1%2728-6.4%
South Australia12823.6%14433.5%

^Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, March 2021 Seasonally Adjusted

Commonwealth Bank senior economist Kristina Clifton said the end of HomeBuilder on March 31 would have an impact on new house approvals.

“We expect approvals for houses to drop off relatively sharply during the next few months as many people who were looking to build a home would have brought this decision forward in order to receive the grant,” Clifton said.

“Nonetheless, record low interest rates will continue to support the demand for dwellings.”

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