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Building Activity, Australia

Provides estimates of value of building work and number of dwellings commenced, completed, under construction and in the pipeline

Reference period
September 2020
Released
20/01/2021
Future releases
  • Next Release 14/04/2021
    Building Activity, Australia, December 2020
  • Next Release 14/07/2021
    Building Activity, Australia, March 2021
  • Next Release 13/10/2021
    Building Activity, Australia, June 2021
  • View all releases

Key statistics

  • The seasonally adjusted estimate for the total number of dwelling units commenced fell 0.8%.
  • New private sector house commencements rose 4.0% to 26,726 dwellings, while private sector other residential commencements fell 7.5% to 14,887 dwellings.
  • The value of total building work done fell 2.8% to $28.8b.

Number of dwellings commenced

 
 Sep qtr 20
no.
June qtr 20 to Sep qtr 20
% change
Sep qtr 19 to Sep qtr 20
% change
Seasonally adjusted estimates
Total dwelling units commenced42,545-0.83.5
New private sector houses26,7264.07.3
New private sector other residential building14,887-7.5-2.6
   
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The total number of dwelling units commenced in Australia fell 0.8% to 42,545 dwellings in the September quarter, in seasonally adjusted terms. The fall was driven by private sector other residential dwellings, which fell 7.5% to 14,887 dwellings and follows a fall of 13.2% in the June quarter. Private sector house commencements rose 4.0% to 26,726 dwellings and follows a rise of 0.4% in the June quarter.

Value of work done

Chain volume measures

 Sep qtr 20
$m
Jun qtr 20 to Sep qtr 20
% change
Sep qtr 19 to Sep qtr 20
% change
Seasonally adjusted estimates(a)
Total value of work done28,808.9-2.8-7.8
New residential building14,835.9-2.1-10.6
Alterations and additions to residential building2,443.76.46.0
Non-residential building11,529.4-5.5-6.7
a. Reference year for chain volume measures is 2018-19

 
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Reference year for chain volume measures is 2018-19

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Reference year for chain volume measures is 2018-19

The value of total building work done fell 2.8% to $28.8b in the September quarter, in seasonally adjusted terms. The fall was driven by non-residential building work done, which fell 5.5% to $11.5b and follows a fall of 1.4% in the June quarter. New residential building work done fell 2.1% to $14.8b. Work done on new houses fell 0.7% to $8.6b, while new other residential building fell 4.0% to $6.3b.

Data downloads

File contents

Formulas

Type of work

Total = New + Total alterations/additions (incl. refurb and conversion)

Type of building

Total residential building = Total houses + Total other residential building
Non-house building = Total other residential building + Total non-residential building
Total building = Total residential building + Total non-residential building

The Building Activity: Australia pivot table contains the following data items
Data itemClassification
State/TerritoryAll States and Territories
Reference quarterQuarterly (September 2001 to current)
Sector of ownershipPrivate, Public, Total
Type of buildingHouses
 Semi-detached, row or terrace houses, townhouses - One storey
 Semi-detached, row or terrace houses, townhouses - Two or more storeys
 Semi-detached, row or terrace houses, townhouses - Total
 Flats units or apartments - In a one or two storey block
 Flats units or apartments - In a three storey block
 Flats units or apartments - Total including those attached to a house
 Total other residential
 Total residential
 Retail and wholesale trade buildings
 Transport buildings
 Offices
 Commercial buildings n.e.c
 Commercial buildings - Total
 Factories and other secondary production buildings
 Warehouses
 Agricultural and aquacultural buildings
 Other industrial buildings n.e.c.
 Industrial buildings - Total
 Education buildings
 Religious buildings
 Aged care facilities
 Health buildings
 Entertainment and recreation buildings
 Short term accommodation buildings
 Other non-residential n.e.c.
 Other non-residential - Total
 Total non-residential
 Dwellings excluding new residential
 Dwellings excluding houses
 Total
Type of workNew
 Total alterations and additions (incl. refurbishment and conversion)
 Total
Data itemsValue of work done during quarter ($m)
 Value of work yet to be done ($m)
 Value of work in pipeline ($m)
 Value of work not yet commenced ($m)
 Value of work commenced ($m)
 Value of work completed ($m)
 Value of work under construction ($m)
 Dwelling units not yet commenced (no.)
 Dwelling units commenced (no.)
 Dwelling units completed (no.)
 Dwelling units under construction (no.)

Time series spreadsheets

Data files

Data cubes

Data files

Notes

About this issue

This publication updates the preliminary estimates released in Construction Work Done, Australia on 25 November 2020. The data in this publication are based on a response rate of approximately 90% of the value of building work done during the quarter. The data are subject to revision when returns from the following quarter are processed. Final data for the September quarter 2020 will be released in the next release of this publication, Building Activity, Australia on 14 April 2021.

Significant revisions this issue

Compared to the estimate published in Building Activity, Australia June 2020 released on 14 October 2020:

  • the total value of work done in Australia during the June 2020 quarter has been revised upwards by $610.2m or 2.0% (original, current price). 
  • the total value of work commenced in Australia during the June 2020 quarter has been revised upwards $1,433.8m or 5.6% (original, current price). This was driven by an upward revision to total non-residential commencements of $1,073.0m (10.6%), and an upward revision to total residential commencements of $360.8m (2.3%).
  • the number of dwelling unit commencements in the June 2020 quarter has been revised upwards by 443 dwellings or 1.1% (original).

Changes this issue

A new base year, 2018-19, has been introduced in the chain volume estimates resulting in revisions to growth rates in subsequent periods. In addition, the chain volume estimates have been re-referenced to 2018-19, preserving additivity in the quarters after the reference year. Re-referencing affects the levels of, but not the movements in, chain volume estimates. For further information, see the methodology.

Data note

Several time series spreadsheets contain 'np' (not available for publication) annotations from the September quarter 2012 onwards. This is due to confidential data being contained in these series.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the September quarter

The designation of construction as an essential service enabled activity to progress despite social distancing restrictions implemented from late March. Restrictions on activity in the September quarter were limited to Victoria, where work was able to continue, although at reduced capacity for some projects. 

Federal and state-based incentives are providing support for the detached housing and renovations sectors. Private investment in the non-residential sector remains weak, with falling building approvals since June 2020, although there will be a lag between any change in demand, the number of applications and the subsequent impacts on activity.

The ABS appreciates the support of survey respondents in continuing to provide the data to compile this publication.

Suspension of trend series

The trend series attempts to measure underlying behaviour in construction activity. This measurement will be significantly affected by changes to regular patterns in activity during this time, as the construction industry faces 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 building activity.

It may be some time before the underlying trend in building activity can be accurately estimated. The trend series have therefore been suspended starting from June 2020. The trend series will be reinstated when more certainty emerges in the underlying trend. 

Update to seasonal adjustment methods

Building Activity 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 September 2020, seasonal factors for Private sector non-residential building work done in Victoria are being calculated using data up to and including June 2020, then projected from September 2020 onwards. This approach, known as the forward factor method, ensures that the seasonal factors are not distorted by COVID-19 impacts.

Inquiries

For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070. The ABS Privacy Policy outlines how the ABS will handle any personal information that you provide to us.

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 8752.0.