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8731.0 - Building Approvals, Australia, Apr 2008 Quality Declaration 
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FEATURE ARTICLE: CHANGES IN THE MIX OF DWELLING TYPES

This article was published in Building Approvals, Australia, Apr 2008.

INTRODUCTION

Single storey townhouses and one or two storey apartment buildings accounted for 81.7% of all new other residential dwelling approvals in Australia in 1991-92 but only 27.2% in 2006-07. On the other hand, three or more storey apartments, which provide high density living, accounted for only 7.7% in 1991-92 compared to 48.4% of all new other residential dwelling approvals in 2006-07.

This article examines the number of new dwelling approvals in Australia as well as the states and territories over the period 1991-92 to 2006-07 and the proportion of these approvals which are houses and other residential dwellings. Other residential dwellings include ‘flats, units, or apartments’ and 'semi-detached, terrace or townhouses’. The change in the proportion of other residential dwellings, between single or small storey buildings and large storey buildings is also examined.

Data for this article was obtained from the monthly Building Approvals Survey.


HOUSES AND OTHER RESIDENTIAL DWELLINGS - AUSTRALIA

Table 1 shows the number of dwelling units approved in Australia over the period 1991-92 to 2006-07. The greatest number of houses were approved in 1993-94 (130,483) and the least in 2000-01 (80,116). Other residential dwelling approvals were highest in 2003-04 (59,766) and lowest in 1995-96 (35,137). The total number of dwelling units approved over the period ranged from a high of 184,704 in 1993-94 to a low of 118,097 in 2000-01.

Table 1. DWELLING UNITS APPROVED, Australia

Period
Houses no.
%(a)
Other residential buildings no.(b)
%(a)
Total dwelling units no.(c)

1991-92
110 863
73.8
39 337
26.2
150 200
1992-93
123 586
72.5
46 970
27.5
170 556
1993-94
130 483
70.6
54 221
29.4
184 704
1994-95
115 018
68.8
52 225
31.2
167 243
1995-96
87 558
71.4
35 137
28.6
122 695
1996-97
92 533
69.6
40 417
30.4
132 950
1997-98
106 991
70.2
45 506
29.8
152 497
1998-99
107 350
70.0
45 950
30.0
153 300
1999-00
123 343
71.0
50 284
29.0
173 627
2000-01
80 116
67.8
37 981
32.2
118 097
2001-02
121 602
71.4
48 648
28.6
170 250
2002-03
117 198
66.6
58 727
33.4
175 925
2003-04
121 977
67.1
59 766
32.9
181 743
2004-05
108 239
67.1
52 961
32.9
161 200
2005-06
104 440
70.2
44 436
29.8
148 876
2006-07
106 038
70.0
45 517
30.0
151 555

(a) Percentage of total dwellings units.
(b) Includes semi-detached, row and terrace houses; flats, units and apartments.
(c) Includes dwellings attached to non-residential buildings.


Graph 1 displays the proportion of total dwelling unit approvals accounted for by houses and other residential buildings. For houses, the proportion was around 70% for the period, reaching a high of 73.8% at the beginning of the period in 1991-92 and a low of 66.6% in 2002-03. Similarly the proportion for other residential buildings was around 30% for the period with the highest proportion of 33.4% recorded in 2002-03 and a low of 26.2% in 1991-92.

Graph 1. Type of Dwelling, Australia (a)
Graph: Graph 1. Type of Dwelling, Australia (a)



OTHER RESIDENTIAL DWELLINGS - TYPE AND NUMBER OF STOREYS

The number of other residential buildings approved over the period 1991-92 to 2006-07 in terms of dwelling type and number of storeys for Australia is shown in Table 2. At the beginning of the period, semi-detached, row or terrace house, townhouses were the main contributor to other residential dwelling approvals but over time, flat, unit or apartment buildings have become the more dominant of the two building types. Semi-detached, row or terrace house, townhouse approvals were highest in 1993-94 (32,867) and lowest in 2000-01 (15,999). Flat, unit or apartment buildings experienced their largest number of approvals for the period in 2002-03 (37,127) and their lowest in 1991-92 (12,391).

Table 2. DWELLING UNITS APPROVED, Australia

SEMI-DETACHED, ROW OR TERRACE HOUSE, TOWNHOUSE
FLAT, UNIT OR APARTMENT IN BUILDING OF
Period
1 Storey
2 or more Storeys
Total
1 or 2 Storeys
3 Storeys
4 or more Storeys
Total

1991-92
22 800
4 146
26 946
9 354
1 906
1 131
12 391
1992-93
20 552
6 962
27 514
11 500
4 169
3 787
19 456
1993-94
21 981
10 886
32 867
10 037
5 244
6 073
21 354
1994-95
19 500
10 237
29 737
7 435
4 879
10 174
22 488
1995-96
12 427
7 499
19 926
4 388
4 027
6 796
15 211
1996-97
10 698
8 920
19 618
4 777
5 464
10 558
20 799
1997-98
11 376
10 403
21 779
5 116
6 064
12 547
23 727
1998-99
10 217
11 975
22 192
4 704
5 069
13 985
23 758
1999-00
10 461
12 920
23 381
5 400
4 870
16 633
26 903
2000-01
7 421
8 578
15 999
2 894
4 191
14 897
21 982
2001-02
9 106
10 567
19 673
3 479
5 048
20 448
28 975
2002-03
9 570
12 030
21 600
3 662
5 555
27 910
37 127
2003-04
10 953
13 364
24 317
4 571
5 665
25 213
35 449
2004-05
10 996
12 454
23 450
3 921
5 268
20 322
29 511
2005-06
10 051
10 461
20 512
2 975
5 103
15 846
23 924
2006-07
9 902
11 086
20 988
2 479
4 365
17 685
24 529


Graph 2 shows the proportion of approved semi-detached and flat/apartment dwelling types in terms of storeys of other residential dwellings. In the early 1990’s, semi-detached, row or terrace house or townhouse accounted for the majority of other residential dwelling approvals, specifically one storey buildings. Over the last sixteen years the number of approvals for these buildings has declined from 58.0% (22,800) in 1991-92 to 21.8% (9,902) in 2006-07. Conversely, the proportion of large storey flat, unit or apartment buildings of other residential dwelling approvals has increased from 7.7% (3,037) in 1991-92 to 48.4% (22,050), peaking at 57.0% (33,465) in 2002-03.

Graph 2. Dwelling type by number of storeys, Australia (b)
Graph: Graph 2.  Dwelling type by number of storeys, Australia (b)



MIX OF NEW DWELLING TYPES - STATES AND TERRITORIES

The states and territories show more pronounced differences in the mix of house and other dwellings as well as the shift in approvals from small storey buildings to large storey buildings.

New housing approvals have declined in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory, whereas South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania have all had increases in new housing approvals.

Large shifts between the proportion of approvals for small storey buildings to large storey buildings has also occurred in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory within other residential approvals.


NEW SOUTH WALES

The number of new dwelling approvals in New South Wales was 30,734 in 2006-07, one fifth of all new dwelling approvals in Australia.

Over the last 16 years the gap between the proportion of new house and new other residential dwelling approvals in New South Wales has reduced. Between 2003-04 to 2005-06 the difference was only 0.6%. Over the last financial year the difference increased slightly more, with new houses accounting for 3.4% more approvals than other residential dwellings (graph 3).

Graph 3. Type of dwelling, New South Wales (a)
Graph: Graph 3.  Type of dwelling, New South Wales (a)


Graph 4 shows the change between semi-detached, row or terrace house or townhouse buildings and one or two storey flat, unit or apartment buildings compared to three or more storey complexes as a proportion of total other residential dwellings over time in New South Wales. The proportion of semi-detached, row or terrace house or townhouse buildings was greatest in 1993-94 at 54.2% and has since declined to 39.4% in 2006-07, reaching a low of 31.6% in 2001-02. In contrast three or more storey flat, unit or apartment building approvals have increased from a low of 14.1% in 1991-92 to 56.7% in 2006-07 peaking in 2001-02 with a proportion of 62.7%.

Graph 4. Dwelling type, New South Wales (b)
Graph: Graph 4.  Dwelling type, New South Wales (b)



VICTORIA

The number of new dwellings in Victoria was 37,459 in 2006-07. This was almost one quarter of all new dwelling approvals in Australia.

Over the period 1991-92 to 2006-07 the difference in the proportion of new house approvals compared to new other residential approvals has narrowed from 88.7% and 11.3% to 76.9% and 23.1% respectively. The difference was lowest in 2002-03 with 71.0% new house approvals and 29.0% new other residential dwelling approvals (graph 5).

Graph 5. Type of dwelling, Victoria (a)
Graph: Graph 5.  Type of dwelling, Victoria (a)


Graph 6 shows that three or more storey flat, unit or apartment building approvals peaked at 61.8% of the total other residential dwellings in Victoria in 2002-03. However semi-detached, row or terrace house or townhouse buildings have increased from a low of 44.4% in 2000-01 to account for more than half the total other residential dwellings in Victoria since 2004-05.

Graph 6. Dwelling type, Victoria (b)
Graph: Graph 6.  Dwelling type, Victoria (b)



QUEENSLAND

In 2006-07, Queensland had the highest number of new dwelling approvals in comparison to the other states and territories at 41,236. This was one quarter of all new dwelling approvals in Australia.

The proportion of new housing and new other residential building approvals in Queensland has stayed relatively constant over the last 16 years. Over the period, the average proportions are similar to the national average with new housing approvals accounting for an average of 69.1% in Queensland and 69.9% nationally and new other residential building approvals accounting for 30.9% in Queensland and 30.1% nationally of all new residential dwelling approvals from 1991-92 to 2006-07 (graph 7).

Graph 7. Type of dwelling, Queensland (a)
Graph: Graph 7.  Type of dwelling, Queensland (a)


In Queensland during the period 1991-92 to 2006-07, there has been a shift in building approvals away from one or two storey flat, unit or apartment building. Since 2002-03 one or two storey flat, unit or apartment building approvals have accounted for less than 11% of total other residential dwellings. In contrast the proportion of three or more storey flat, unit or apartment building to new other residential building approvals has increased from 4.8% in 1991-92 to 49.3% in 2006-07, peaking in 2002-03 at 55.9% (graph 8). Semi-detached, row or terrace house or townhouse buildings comprised 84.5% of total other residential dwellings in 1991-92 but account for only 43.6% in 2006-07.

Graph 8. Dwelling type, Queensland (b)
Graph: Graph 8.  Dwelling type, Queensland (b)



SOUTH AUSTRALIA

The number of new dwelling approvals in South Australia was 10,743 in 2006-07, 7% of all new dwelling approvals in Australia.

The proportion of new house approvals of new residential dwelling approvals increased slightly over the period 1991-92 to 2006-07. In 1991-92 new house approvals were 79.3% of new residential dwelling approvals while new other residential approvals accounted for 20.7%, in 2006-07 the proportion was 80.0% for house approvals and 20.0% for other residential approvals, the highest proportion new other residential approvals experienced in the period was 26.0% in 2005-06 as can be seen in graph 9.

Graph 9. Type of dwelling, South Australia (a)
Graph: Graph 9.  Type of dwelling, South Australia (a)


In 1993-94 semi-detached, row or terrace house or townhouse buildings accounted for nearly all (99.2%) of other residential dwelling approvals in South Australia. By 2006-07 this had dropped to 77.5% but, as Graph 10 illustrates, the series is quite volatile. There has been an increase in the proportion of approvals for three or more storey flat, unit or apartment buildings from a low of 0.0% in 1993-94 to 16.1% in 2006-07. Like the semi-detached, row or terrace house or townhouse series, this is also volatile.

Graph 10. Dwelling type, South Australia (b)
Graph: Graph 10.  Dwelling type, South Australia (b)



WESTERN AUSTRALIA

The number of new dwelling approvals in Western Australia was 24,868 in 2006-07, 16.4% of all new dwelling approvals in Australia.

In contrast to the states already discussed, the proportion of new house approvals in Western Australia has increased over the period 1991-92 to 2006-07. In 1991-92 the proportion of new house approvals of total new dwelling approvals was 74.5% and other new residential building approvals was 25.5%, in 2006-07 the proportions were 78.4% and 21.6% respectively. New house approvals fell to their lowest level in Western Australia in 1994-95 at 72.6%, which, is above the national average of 69.9% for the period (graph 11).

Graph 11. Type of dwelling, Western Australia (a)
Graph: Graph 11.  Type of dwelling, Western Australia (a)


From 1991-92 to 2006-07 there has been a large decline in the proportion of approvals for semi-detached, row or terrace house or townhouse buildings to new other residential building in Western Australia from 97.9% at the beginning of the period to 51.4% at the end. In contrast three or more storey flat, unit or apartment building approvals, have increased from 2.1% at the beginning of the same period to 41.0% by the end (Graph 12). One or two storey flat, unit or apartment building approvals accounted for 20.1% of other residential building in 2003-04 but have decreased to 7.5% in 2006-07.

Graph 12. Dwelling type, Western Australia (b)
Graph: Graph 12.  Dwelling type, Western Australia (b)



TASMANIA

The number of new dwelling approvals in Tasmania was 2,815 in 2006-07, 2.0% of all new dwelling approvals in Australia.

Like Western Australia and South Australia, Tasmania has seen an increase in the proportion of new housing approvals compared to new other residential approvals between 1991-92 and 2006-07 as illustrated in graph 13. At the beginning of the period new housing accounted for 73.5% of new residential dwelling approvals and new other residential buildings 26.5% of new residential dwelling approvals, in 2006-07 they accounted for 89.1% and 10.9% respectively.

Graph 13. Type of dwelling, Tasmania (a)
Graph: Graph 13.  Type of dwelling, Tasmania (a)


Except for the period between 1998-2000 semi-detached, row or terrace house or townhouse buildings have accounted for at least 75.0% of new other residential building in Tasmania. Flat, unit or apartment building approvals have been more volatile, accounting for only 0.3% in 1994-95 before rising to 75.9% in 1998-99 and then dropping to 12.1% in 2006-07. (See Graph 14.) Three or more storey flat, unit or apartment building approvals have been irregular over this period.

Graph 14. Dwelling type, Tasmania (b)
Graph: Graph 14.  Dwelling type, Tasmania (b)



NORTHERN TERRITORY

In 2006-07, Northern Territory had 1,455 new dwelling approvals, less than 1% of all new dwelling approvals in Australia.

From 1991-92 to 2006-07 the proportion of new house approvals declined in the Northern Territory from 66.6% to 52.4% and new other residential approvals increased from 33.4% to 47.6%. Over the last five years the average proportion of new housing approvals of new residential dwellings was 51.2% and new other residential approvals was 48.8% (graph 15).

Graph 15. Type of dwelling, Northern Territory (a)
Graph: Graph 15.  Type of dwelling, Northern Territory (a)


Over the period 1991-92 to 2006-07 the proportion of semi-detached, row or terrace house or townhouse buildings to other residential buildings decreased from 90.8% to 32.3%. In contrast the proportion of three or more storey flat, unit or apartment buildings increased from 6.4% to 66.1%, peaking at 69.5% in 2004-05 (Graph 16).

Graph 16. Dwelling type, Northern Territory (b)
Graph: Graph 16.  Dwelling type, Northern Territory (b)



AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY

The number of new dwelling approvals in Australian Capital Territory was 2,245 in 2006-07, 1.5% of all new dwelling approvals Australia.

Over the period 1991-92 to 2006-07 there was a slight increase in the proportion of new other residential building approvals from 42.8% to 43.7% (graph 17). In 2006-07, the Australian Capital Territory had the third highest proportion of other residential dwelling units at 43.7%, behind New South Wales (48.3%) and Northern Territory (47.6%). This peaked at 58.6% in 1993-94.

Graph 17. Type of Dwelling, Australian Capital Territory (a)
Graph: Graph 17.  Type of Dwelling, Australian Capital Territory (a)


Over the last sixteen years in the Australian Capital Territory, there has been a shift away from semi-detached, row or terrace house or townhouse buildings to flat, unit or apartment building approvals. In 1991-92 the proportion of semi-detached, row or terrace house or townhouse buildings approved to new other residential buildings was 88.8% while in 2006-07 it had decreased to 24.8%. In contrast over the same period the proportion of three or more storey flat, unit or apartment building approvals increased from 1.3% to 72.6%, peaking at 91.5% in 2004-05 (Graph 18).

Graph 18. Dwelling type, Australian Capital Territory (b)
Graph: Graph 18.  Dwelling type, Australian Capital Territory (b)



CONCLUSION

Over the past sixteen years, the Australian picture does not show a distinct change from houses to other residential dwellings, however, clearer patterns have emerged in the states and territories. New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory, have shifted toward a greater proportion of other residential approvals in the dwelling mix. Whereas, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania have shifted toward a higher proportion of house approvals.

All states bar South Australia and Western Australia have shown shifts away from one or two storey flat and apartment buildings towards three or more storey flat and apartment buildings which are used for high density living. At the national level, approvals for three or more storey flat and apartment buildings peaked in 2002-03, accounting for 57.0% of other residential approvals.

For more information contact Rachel Fisher on Adelaide (08) 82377324.


ABBREVIATIONS

apt apartment

3+ Three or more

small storey 1-2 storey buildings

large storey 3+ storey buildings


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