July key figures
|Jun 20 to Jul 20|
|Jul 19 to Jul 20|
|Total dwelling units approved||na||na||na|
|Private sector houses||na||na||na|
|Private sector dwellings excluding houses||na||na||na|
|Total dwelling units approved||13 840||12.0||6.3|
|Private sector houses||8 852||8.5||5.6|
|Private sector dwellings excluding houses||4 684||22.7||7.5|
na not available
July key points
Total dwelling units
- The seasonally adjusted estimate for total dwellings approved rose 12.0% in July.
Private sector houses
- The seasonally adjusted estimate for private sector houses rose 8.5% in July.
Private sector dwellings excluding houses
- The seasonally adjusted estimate for private sector dwellings excluding houses rose 22.7% in July.
Value of building approved
- The seasonally adjusted estimate of the value of total building approved fell 3.9% in July. The value of residential building rose 9.5%, while the value of non-residential building fell 19.8%.
In this release, revisions are provided for the time period from July 2019 to June 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 "Future releases" drop down list 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 July
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 July, the effects of COVID-19 on Building Approvals were mixed. For residential approvals, there was a broad-based increase in dwellings approved, following the eight-year low recorded in June. The strength in July likely reflects improved consumer sentiment in May, on the back of falling COVID-19 cases and easing of restrictions. The value of alterations and additions to residential buildings remained relatively stable (-1.1%), following a strong 12.9% rise in June. However, the value of non-residential building approved fell in July, to the lowest level recorded since January 2018.
Data collection activities continued to be largely unaffected in the July 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, while the quarterly series have been suspended from the June 2020 quarter. 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: