8731.0 - Building Approvals, Australia, Jun 2020 Quality Declaration
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/07/2020
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June key points
Total dwelling units
Private sector houses
Private sector dwellings excluding houses
Value of building approved
In this release, revisions are provided for the time period from July 2018 to May 2020. Further information about potential sources of revisions can be found in the feature article released with the January 2016 8731.0 publication -"Revisions to Building Approval Statistics".
Small area data cubes and CSV files will be made available in an “Additional Information” release five business days after the main publication. These will be for Statistical Area Level 2 and Local Government Areas. Release dates are published under the “Forthcoming Issues” section of the publication and in ABS Release Advice.
A number of time series spreadsheets contain ‘np’ (not available for publication) annotations. This is due to confidential data being contained in these series.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) in June
The World Health Organisation (WHO) commenced daily situation reports of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on 21 January 2020 and identified it as an international health emergency on 30 January. In March, regulations to encourage social distancing saw further impacts on the ability of businesses to trade as normal, resulting in rising unemployment and reduced household income. Travel restrictions have reduced the number of overseas arrivals to near-zero, resulting in less housing demand from overseas migrants.
In June, the effects of COVID-19 on Building Approvals were mixed. For residential approvals, there was a broad-based fall in dwellings approved, across all housing types and States. In contrast, the value of alterations and additions to residential buildings rose sharply. Meanwhile, the value of non-residential building approved rose in June, but remains below the levels recorded in early 2020.
Data collection activities continued to be largely unaffected in the June 2020 reference period. The ABS appreciates the support of federal, state and local government in continuing to provide the data to compile this publication.
Suspension of trend series
The trend series attempts to measure underlying behaviour in building approval activity. In the short term, this measurement will be significantly affected by changes to regular patterns in approval activity during this time, as potential home builders face on-going uncertainty. If the trend estimates in this publication were to be calculated without fully accounting for this irregular event, they would likely provide a misleading view of underlying approval activity.
It may be some time before the underlying trend in building approvals can be accurately estimated. The Building Approvals monthly trend series have therefore been suspended starting from May 2020. The trend series will be reinstated when more certainty emerges in the underlying trend.
Update to seasonal adjustment methods
Building Approvals uses the concurrent seasonal adjustment method, meaning that seasonal factors are re-estimated each time a new data point becomes available. If not appropriately accounted for, unusual real-world events, such as COVID-19, can distort estimates calculated using this method. From May 2020, seasonal factors are being calculated using data up to and including April 2020, then projected from May 2020 onwards. This approach, known as the forward factor method, ensures that the seasonal factors are not distorted by COVID-19 impacts.
Revisions this month
Revisions to the total number of dwelling units approved in this issue are:
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