8752.0 - Building Activity, Australia, Sep 2013 Quality Declaration 
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FEATURE ARTICLE: AVERAGE DWELLING COMPLETION TIMES


INTRODUCTION

This article examines the average completion times (in quarters) for new houses and townhouses from 1998-99 to 2012-13. Completion times are measured as the period in quarters between the commencement and completion of construction for a project creating new dwellings. National data is presented to show changes in the average completion times of new houses and townhouses. Regional data is presented in five year periods to allow for broader comparisons between the States and Territories.

The data presented is from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) quarterly publication Building Activity, Australia (cat. no. 8752.0). New houses are defined as detached buildings used for long term residential purposes, consisting of only one dwelling unit and are not a result of alterations or additions to a pre-existing building. New townhouses are defined as dwellings with their own private grounds, that are either attached in some structural way to one or more dwellings or are separated from neighbouring dwellings or non-residential buildings by less than 500 millimetres and are not a result of alterations or additions to a pre-existing building. For further information refer to Functional Classification of Buildings, 1999 (Revision 2011) (cat. no. 1268.0.55.001). Dwellings that took more than three years to complete or were constructed in groups of 10 or more were excluded. As a result, approximately 2.5% of completed houses and townhouses were excluded.


Results

Australian Average Completion Times

Graph 1 depicts the Australian average completion times, in quarters, for new houses and townhouses from 1998-99 to 2012-13. Both new houses and townhouses have generally increased and have tracked similarly over the past 15 years. The main difference between the two types of residential dwellings is that new houses have had a lower average completion time than new townhouses.

The original average completion time series for new houses shows steady growth from the March 2010 quarter to the March 2012 quarter, peaking at an average completion time of 2.4 quarters. Since this peak, the average completion times have steadily decreased to 2.1 quarters in the June 2013 quarter.

In recent years there has been increased volatility in the average completion times for new townhouses. The original series showed steady growth from the December 2010 quarter to March 2012 quarter, peaking at an average completion time of 3.3 quarters. Since this peak, there has been a downward trend in average completion times for new townhouses.

Graph 1: Average completion time of new houses and new townhouses, Australia
Graph: Graph 1: Average completion time of new houses and new townhouses, Australia


Average Completion Times for New Houses

Graph 2 illustrates the five year average completion times for new houses over a 15 year period by State and Territory.

Most States and Territories observed a small rise in the average completion times in the last five years, with Victoria and Australian Capital Territory showing a very small decrease over the same time period.

New South Wales and Tasmania saw the largest increase in the current period with an increase of 0.2 quarters from the previous five year period.

Western Australia, on average over the 15 year period, experienced the highest average completion times for new houses, while Queensland and Northern Territory experienced the lowest.

Graph 2: Completion time of new houses, five year averages, States, Territories and Australia
Graph: Graph 2: Completion time of new houses, five year averages, States, Territories and Australia


Average Completion Times for New Townhouses

Graph 3 illustrates the five year averages of completion times for new townhouses over a 15 year period by State and Territory.

The most recent period is characterised by increases in completion times in most States and Territories with the exception of Queensland, Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory.

Victoria and Tasmania experienced the largest increase in 5 year average completion times in the current period of 0.3 and 0.4 quarters respectively from the previous period.

On average, over the 15 year period, Western Australia experienced the highest average completion times for new townhouses, while Queensland experienced the lowest.

Graph 3: Completion time of new townhouses, five year average, States, Territories and Australia
Graph: Graph 3: Completion time of new townhouses, five year average, States, Territories and Australia



References

Building Activity, Australia (cat. no. 8752.0)

Functional Classification of Buildings, 1999 (Revision 2011) (cat. no. 1268.0.55.001)