8731.0 - Building Approvals, Australia, Sep 2019 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 31/10/2019   
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Characteristics of apartment approvals


Introduction

The number of new apartments approved surged between 2012 and 2018, driven by a large rise in four or more storey developments in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. However, in the 2018-19 financial year, apartment approvals fell to a six-year low.

This article examines characteristics of the number of new apartments approved in the 15-year period from the 2004-05 financial year to the 2018-19 financial year. Apartments have been split into four categories: low-rise (1 to 3 storeys); medium-rise (4 to 8 storeys); high-rise (9 to 19 storeys); and super high-rise (20 or more storeys). Data includes both private and public developments.

Data are presented for 'flats, units and apartments', collectively referred to as apartments in this article; defined as blocks of dwellings that don't have their own private grounds and usually share a common entrance, foyer or stairwell. For further information, refer to Functional Classification of Buildings, 1999 (Revision 2011) (cat. no. 1268.0.55.001).

Data presented in this article are available in the 'Building Approvals: Approvals by number of storeys' data cube on the downloads tab.


National summary

In the 15-year period from 2004-05 to 2018-19, 696,295 apartments were approved in Australia. There was volatility in the number and type of apartments that were approved during this time. The number of apartments approved fell during the Global Financial Crisis in 2008-09, to a low of 21,232 dwellings. However, by 2015-16, apartment approvals peaked at 82,371 dwellings. Apartment approvals have since fallen by 44.0% to 46,110 in 2018-19, the lowest since 2012-13.

Graph 1: Apartments approved, Australia - 2004/05 to 2018/19

Graph: Apartments approved, Australia - 2004/05 to 2018/19

Since 2004-05, mid-rise developments have comprised the largest share of apartments approved, contributing 282,549 dwellings (40.6%). High-rise approvals contributed 157,190 dwellings (22.6%), low-rise 131,176 dwellings (18.8%), and super high-rise 125,380 dwellings (18.0%).

Graph 2: Apartments approved by number of storeys, Australia - 2004/05 to 2018/19

Graph: Apartments approved by number of storeys, Australia - 2004/05 to 2018/19

In 2015-16, mid-rise apartments comprised 39.8% of all apartment approvals. By 2018-19, this proportion had increased to 44.7%. This appears to have come at the expense of low-rise apartments, which contributed 12.3% of apartment approvals in 2015-16, down to 8.6% in 2018-19.

Since the peak of the apartment approval boom in 2015-16, there have been large falls in approvals for all apartment heights:

  • 60.8% fall in 1-3 storey apartments
  • 37.1% fall in 4-8 storey apartments
  • 43.3% fall in 9-19 storey apartments
  • 47.6% fall in 20+ storey apartments

Despite the falls from the peak of the apartment boom, in 2018/19 there were 46,110 dwellings approved in apartment developments, consistent with the 15-year average of 46,420 dwellings.

Graph 3: Apartments approved by number of storeys, Australia - 2004/05 to 2018/19

Graph: Apartments approved by number of storeys, Australia - 2004/05 to 2018/19


Major state summary

On average, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland make up 80% of the total dwelling approvals across Australia and 86.3% of all apartment approvals. However, the composition of apartment types was not similar across the states. New South Wales was the nation’s leader in mid-rise approvals; while Victoria had the most high-rise construction.

Graph 4: Apartments approved by number of storeys, New South Wales - 2004/05 to 2018/19

Graph: Apartments approved by number of storeys, New South Wales - 2004/05 to 2018/19

New South Wales recorded 275,048 apartment approvals between 2004-05 to 2018-19, the highest of any state. Of these, 131,543 (47.8%) were in 4-8 storey buildings.

Approvals in 4-8 storey apartment buildings peaked in 2015-16, when 17,420 dwellings were approved. This represented over half of all apartment developments (50.5%). While still the most common apartment building type in New South Wales, the slowdown in apartment demand has led to a fall in mid-rise developments, with only 9,601 approved in 2018-19, representing a total fall of 44.9% in three years.

Of the three major states, New South Wales had the second-highest amount of super high-rise apartment approvals (34,955), but the lowest proportion, comprising just 12.7% of all apartment approvals.

Graph 5: Apartments approved by number of storeys, Victoria - 2004/05 to 2018/19

Graph: Apartments approved by number of storeys, Victoria - 2004/05 to 2018/19

Victoria recorded 192,735 apartment approvals between 2004-05 to 2018-19. Of these, the largest proportion were in 4-8 storey buildings, comprising 36.5% of all apartments approved.

Victoria had the nation’s greatest proportion of super high-rise (20+ storey) apartment approvals, with 55,418 approved (28.8% of the state’s total apartment approvals). Apartment approvals in super high-rises peaked in 2017-18, at 8,836 dwellings. In 2017-18, 39.8% of apartment approvals were for super high-rise developments. This figure fell back close to the average in 2018-19 (to 29.5%), when 3,664 apartments were approved. This represented a year-on-year fall of 58.5% for super high-rise apartment approvals in Victoria.

Graph 6: Apartments approved by number of storeys, Queensland - 2004/05 to 2018/19

Graph: Apartments approved by number of storeys, Queensland - 2004/05 to 2018/19

Queensland recorded 132,790 apartment approvals between 2004-05 to 2018-19. Approvals were more balanced across the four apartment categories, when compared to New South Wales and Victoria. Apartments in a 4-8 storey development were the most common, comprising 31.7% (42,086 dwellings) of all apartments approved. This was followed by 1-3 storey approvals with 34,230 approved (25.8%), 9-19 storeys with 31,526 (23.7%), and 20+ storeys with 24,948 (18.8%).

Queensland experienced an unprecedented apartment boom between 2014-15 and 2015-16, when 34,134 apartments were approved in two years. However, apartment developments have since declined, particularly for high-rise and super high-rise apartments. Only 2,427 high-rise and super high-rise apartments were approved in 2018-19, down from the peak in 2015-16, when 10,111 were approved. This represented a 76.0% decrease in high-rise and super high-rise developments in three years, the largest proportionate fall amongst the three major states.