8752.0 - Building Activity, Australia, Dec 2018 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 10/04/2019   
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TELLING STOREYS - CHARACTERISTICS OF APARTMENT BUILDING HEIGHTS

INTRODUCTION

Approvals for new apartments have surged in recent years, driven by four or more storey buildings in NSW, VIC and QLD. To better understand the composition of these apartments, this article splits them 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). Furthermore, it examines patterns in the number of apartment dwellings approved but not yet commenced from the 2003-04 financial year to the 2017-18 financial year.

Data are presented for the following types of buildings:
  • 'Houses' - 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.
  • 'Townhouses' - defined as semi-detached row or terrace houses attached in some structural way to one or more dwellings, with their own private grounds and no separate dwelling above or below.
  • 'Flats, units or apartments' - 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).

The data presented is from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) quarterly publication Building Activity, Australia (cat. no. 8752.0).

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


RESULTS

Apartments as a proportion of total dwellings commenced

From 2003-04 to 2017-18, total dwelling commencements increased by 54,247 dwellings (31.0%). This was driven by a 119.1% increase in dwellings commenced in apartment buildings (37,918 dwellings). New houses commenced increased by 1.7% (2,066 dwellings) and townhouses increased by 68.6% (15,079 dwellings).

Graph 1 shows that dwellings commenced in apartment buildings have increased as a proportion of total dwellings commenced. In 2017-18, dwellings in apartment buildings made up 30.4% of total dwellings commenced, up from 18.2% in 2003-04. The highest proportion that dwellings in apartment buildings have contributed to total dwellings commenced was 34.9% in 2015-16.


Graph 1: Total dwellings commenced by building type, Australia
Graph 1: Total dwellings commenced by building type, Australia


Low rise, medium rise, high rise and super high rise apartments

Graph 2 illustrates the change in the total number of dwellings commenced in low rise, medium rise, high rise and super high rise apartment buildings from 2003-04 to 2017-18.

The number of dwellings commenced in super high rise apartment buildings increased by 510.3% (14,258 dwellings) and the number of dwellings commenced in high rise apartment buildings increased by 186.2% (11,618 dwellings). The number of dwellings commenced in medium rise apartment buildings increased by 120.5% (15,580 dwellings) and the number of dwellings commenced in low rise apartment buildings decreased by 36.8% (3,618 dwellings) over this period.


Graph 2: Number of dwellings commenced in low rise, medium rise, high rise and super high rise apartment buildings, Australia
Graph 2: Number of dwellings commenced in low rise, medium rise, high rise and super high rise apartment buildings, Australia


High rise and super high rise apartments in NSW, VIC and QLD

The increases in dwelling commencements for high and super high rise apartment buildings have primarily been driven by activity in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. Graph 3 shows the change in figures for those three states.

New South Wales recorded a total of 89,938 dwellings commenced in high rise and super high rise apartment buildings from 2003-04 to 2017-18, more than any other state. In 2016-17, New South Wales recorded 18,873 dwellings commenced, which was the highest figure for any state in any single financial year. In 2017-18, Victoria was the state with the highest number of dwellings commenced in high rise and super high rise apartment buildings with 13,127 dwellings.

Victoria recorded the largest growth in dwellings commenced for high rise and super high rise apartment buildings, with an increase of 601.2% (11,255 dwellings) from 2003-04 to 2017-18. In New South Wales, this figure increased by 242.3% (8,922 dwellings), while in Queensland, the number of dwellings commenced grew by 91.5% (2,509 dwellings) from 2003-04 to 2017-18.

Graph 3: Number of dwellings commenced in high and super high rise apartment buildings in NSW, VIC and QLD

Graph 3: Number of dwellings commenced in high and super high rise apartment buildings in NSW, VIC and QLD


Apartments approved but not yet commenced

Graph 4 shows the change in the number of dwellings in Australia approved but not yet commenced for low rise, medium rise, high rise and super high rise apartment buildings from 2003-04 to 2017-18.

The number of dwellings approved but not yet commenced in super high rise apartments recorded an increase of 28,867 dwellings (1,817.8%), while high rise apartments recorded an increase of 22,540 dwellings (493.0%). Medium rise apartments recorded an increase of 26,006 dwellings not yet commenced (329.6%) and low rise apartments recorded an increase of 2,331 dwellings (33.0%) not yet commenced.

In 2003-04, medium rise apartments had the highest number of dwellings approved but not yet commenced with 7,889 dwellings, followed by low rise apartments (7,073 dwellings), high rise apartments (4,572 dwellings) and super high rise apartments (1,588 dwellings). In 2017-18, medium rise apartments continued to have the highest figure with 33,895 dwellings approved but not yet commenced, followed by super high rise apartment buildings (30,455 dwellings), high rise apartment buildings (27,112 dwellings) and low rise apartments (9,404 dwellings).

Graph 4: Number of dwellings approved but not yet commenced in low rise, medium rise, high rise and super high rise apartment buildings, Australia
Graph 4: Number of dwellings approved but not yet commenced in low rise, medium rise, high rise and super high rise apartment buildings, Australia