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Building approvals are a key indicator of future activity, as nearly all building activity must be approved by local and/or other authorities. Residential building is focused on the provision, upgrading and maintenance of dwelling units.
19.7 DWELLING UNITS APPROVED: Trend estimates
Residential building activity is dominated by the private sector. In 2002 this sector accounted for around 98% of new house approvals, a proportion largely unchanged from preceding years. The public sector is slightly more significant in the area of new other residential building work, although its share appears to be decreasing. In 2002 new other residential building work approved by the public sector accounted for 3% of approvals, compared to 6% in 2001.
The major component of dwelling unit approvals is new houses (table 19.8). In 2002 new house approvals accounted for 67% of total dwelling unit approvals.
The relationship between new house commencements and completions is illustrated in graph 19.9. Generally, during periods of downturn in new house construction activity, completions exceed commencements. In periods of growth the pattern is reversed.
The introduction of The New Tax System (July 2000) corresponded with a marked decline in new house commencements from 2000 to 2001. Subsequently, with a period of historically low interest rates, there has been a sharp increase in new house commencements.
19.9 NEW HOUSES COMMENCED AND COMPLETED: Trend estimates
New other residential building
Other residential building refers to structures other than houses, which are built for accommodation purposes. This includes buildings such as blocks of flats, units and apartments, and semi-detached houses, townhouses and the like.
In 2002 there was a 28% increase in new other residential buildings approved. Prior to 1996 approvals for semi-detached houses/townhouses, etc. was greater than that for flats, units and apartments. After 1996 the value of approvals for flats, units and apartments exceeded approvals for semi-detached houses, townhouses and the like. In 2002 flats, units and apartments contributed 63% of the value of total new other residential approvals (graph 19.10).
Value of residential building
Total approvals for new residential building was valued at $25,760m in 2002, increasing 24% from the previous year. The value of work done increased 31% over the same period to $24,844m (table 19.11).
Estimates of alterations and additions to residential buildings includes all approved building activity carried out on existing residential buildings, valued at $10,000 or more. Additions and alterations to residential buildings, is of increasing value (even though proportionally small compared to new residential buildings). Work done on alterations and additions to residential buildings was valued at $4,345m in 2002, representing an increase of 15% since 2001.