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Building Approvals, Australia

Provides the number of dwelling units and value of buildings approved

Reference period
September 2020
Released
2/11/2020
Future releases
  • Next Release 1/12/2020
    Building Approvals, Australia, October 2020
  • Next Release 8/12/2020
    Building Approvals, Australia, October 2020
  • Next Release 7/01/2021
    Building Approvals, Australia, November 2020
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Key statistics

  • The seasonally adjusted estimate for total dwellings approved rose 15.4% in September.
  • Private sector dwellings excluding houses rose 23.4%, while private sector houses rose 9.7%, in seasonally adjusted terms.
  • The seasonally adjusted estimate for the value of non-residential building approved fell 36.7%.

Main features

September key figures
  Sep 20Aug 20 to Sep 20Sep 19 to Sep 20
  no.%%
Seasonally adjusted   
 Total dwelling units approved15 827  15.4   8.8
 Private sector houses10 238    9.7 20.7
 Private sector dwellings excluding houses  5 189  23.4-12.1
 
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The number of dwellings approved in Australia rose 15.4% in September, in seasonally adjusted terms. The rise was driven by private sector dwellings excluding houses, which increased by 23.4% in September, but remains 12.1% lower than at the same time last year. Private sector houses rose 9.7%, driven by strength across all states and territories, to be 20.7% higher than at the same time last year.

Dwellings approved, states and territories
Seasonally adjusted
Private sector housesPrivate sector housesTotal dwelling units approvedTotal dwelling units approved
no.Monthly % changeno.Monthly % change
New South Wales23147.335294.6
Victoria35659.7582212.4
Queensland18433.6297019.3
South Australia77819.996628.3
Western Australia132515.1185242.6
Tasmanianana29118.8
Northern Territorynananana
Australian Capital Territorynananana
Australia102389.71582715.4

Dwelling approvals rose in Western Australia (42.6%), South Australia (28.3%), Queensland (19.3%), Tasmania (18.8%), Victoria (12.4%) and New South Wales (4.6%).

Approvals for private sector houses rose in South Australia (19.9%), Western Australia (15.1%), Victoria (9.7%), New South Wales (7.3%) and Queensland (3.6%).

Value of building approved, by building type
Seasonally adjusted
$mMonthly % change
New residential building4853.0-1.0
Alterations and additions to residential building786.71.1
Total residential building5639.6-0.7
Non-residential building2963.0-36.7
Total building8602.7-17.0
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The value of total building approved fell 17.0% in September, in seasonally adjusted terms. The value of non-residential building fell 36.7%, after rising 40.0% in August.

The value of total residential building fell slightly in September, by 0.7%. This was driven by a fall in the value of new residential building (1.0%), while the value of residential alterations and additions rose 1.1%.

Notes

Data notes

This publication provides the number of dwelling units and value of buildings approved released in Building Approvals, Australia on 2 November 2020.

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 September

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.

Dwellings approvals rose sharply in September, which follows the relaxation of COVID-19 related restrictions in most states and territories. Federal and state-based incentives are also providing support for the detached housing and renovations sectors. Private house approvals rose to the highest level since April 2018, while the value of alterations and additions are at a four-year high (in seasonally adjusted terms). However, private investment in the non-residential sector remains weak, with value of private non-residential building approved in September remaining near four-year lows. 

Data collection activities continued to be largely unaffected in the September 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

In this release, revisions are provided for the time period from July 2019 to August 2020. Further information about potential sources of revisions can be found in the feature article released with the January 2016 Building Approvals publication - "Revisions to Building Approval Statistics".

Revisions to the total number of dwelling units approved in this issue are:

 
Dwellings 2019-202020-21
NSW           228        132
Vic.             16          10
Qld             61            3
SA             -1            -
WA           -27           -3
Tas.              5            9
NT              -             -
ACT              -             -
Total          282         151
 

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.

Data downloads - time series spreadsheets

These data downloads are currently available in file formats that may not be accessible for users on assistive devices, such as screen readers. Request an accessible version of these files.

Time series spreadsheets

Data files

Data downloads - data cubes

Private residential alterations and additions, July 2016 - September 2020 - States and Territories

I-note

Information about Building Approvals small area data cubes

The following files contain data for small geographic areas in Excel and CSV (contained within .zip files) formats. Excel files contain data for a financial year whereas CSV files contain data for individual months.

Please note that Building Approvals data are subject to revision. Data cubes are re-released each month including data for the latest month and revisions to data for previous months.

CSV files

Statistical Area 2s: Australia, Year are CSV files containing Statistical Area 2, Statistical Area 3, Statistical Area 4, Greater Capital City Statistical Area and State data for Australia for each month in the relevant year.

Classifications

State/TerritoriesStatistical Area (SA), State and Australia
Reference MonthMonthly (yyyy refers to the financial year)
Sector of OwnershipPrivate, Public, Total
Type of BuildingHouses, Other Residential, Residential, Non-residential, Non-house and Total building
Type of WorkNew, Alterations & additions (incl. conversions and refurbishments), Total work
Data ItemsValue of approval ($m), Number of dwelling units (no.)

Local Government Areas: State, Year are CSV files containing Local Government Area and State data for Australia for each month in the relevant year.

Classifications

Geographic ClassificationLocal Government Area (LGA), State and Australia
Reference MonthMonthly (yyyy refers to the financial year)
Sector of OwnershipPrivate, Public, Total
Type of BuildingHouses, Other residential, Residential, Non-residential, Total building
Type of WorkNew, Alterations & additions (incl. conversions and refurbishments), Total work
Data ItemsValue of approval ($000's), Number of dwelling units (no.), Selected value and dwelling ranges

Excel spreadsheets

Statistical Area 2s: State, Year are Excel spreadsheets containing Statistical Area 2 data for that state/territory for the relevant year.

Information available

Geographic ClassificationStatistical Area 2 (SA2), Statistical Area 3 (SA3), Statistical Area 4 (SA4), Greater Capital City Statistical Area and State
Time periodTotal year, or year to date for the current financial year
Data itemsNew houses (number and value)
New other residential building (number and value)
Total dwellings (number)
Alterations and additions to residential buildings (value)
Total residential building (value)
Non-residential building (value)
Total building (value)

Local Government Areas: State, Year are Excel spreadsheets containing Local Government Area data for that state/territory for the relevant year.

Information available

Geographic ClassificationLocal Government Area (LGA) and State
Time periodTotal year, or year to date for the current financial year
Data itemsNew houses (number and value)
New other residential building (number and value)
Total dwellings (number)
Alterations and additions to residential buildings (value)
Total residential building (value)
Non-residential building (value)
Total building (value)

Volatility of Local Government Area and Statistical Area 2 data

Note that the estimates for small areas vary from month to month and caution should be used in drawing conclusions from monthly movements.

Previous financial year Statistical Area 2 (SA2) CSV data cubes

For SA2 data cubes for financial years 2016-17 to 2017-18, see the January 2020 issue of Building Approvals, Australia.

For SA2 data cubes for financial years 2018-19, see the June 2020 issue of Building Approvals, Australia.

Previous financial year Statistical Area 2 (SA2) SuperTABLE data cubes

For SA2 data cubes for financial years 2001-02 to 2010-11, see the January 2014 issue of Building Approvals, Australia.

For SA2 data cubes for financial years 2011-12 to 2014-15, see the January 2017 issue of Building Approvals, Australia.

For SA2 data cubes for financial year 2015-16, see the January 2019 issue of Building Approvals, Australia.

For further information

For any queries about the Building Approvals data, please contact the National Information and Referral Service 1300 135 070. The ABS Privacy Policy outlines how the ABS will handle any personal information that you provide to us.

Small area datacubes

Data files

Interactive map

To view the interactive map, click here

  • Note that the interactive map will be offline soon after this publication release and will be refreshed with the current month's data within 24 hours.

How to use

  • Navigating topics: maps can be selected via the drop-down menu (mobile devices) or the tabs (larger screens).
  • Search: the search icon opens the search function. It is set to look for locations such as addresses, suburbs and postcodes contained within an SA2 or LGA.
  • Data: on each map, an SA2 or LGA region can be selected to view the underlying data. Data for all SA2s and LGAs can be found in the Download section of this publication.
  • If the maps do not load successfully, please try refreshing this page.

History of changes

09/11/2020 - As advertised in the main release of this publication on 2 November 2020, this additional information release contains the small area Excel data cubes and CSV files for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 financial years. 

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 8731.0

All time series workbook zip file

All time series workbook zip file replaced on 02/11/2020. 

Article archive

Previous feature articles

Small area demolition approvals, August 2020

Australians building houses on smaller blocks, July 2020

Characteristics of apartment approvals, September 2019

Growth in approvals, December 2018

Change in composition of dwelling approvals, July 2016

Implementation of the Australian Statistical Geography Standard in ABS Building Approvals collection, April 2011

Average floor area of new residential dwellings, February 2010

Average quarterly completion times for new houses, July 2008

Changes in the mix of dwelling types, April 2008

Average floor area of new residential dwellings, February 2008

Are we building on smaller blocks?, July 2004

Focus on the South Australian Construction Industry, June 2004

Focus on the Tasmanian Construction Industry, June 2004

Focus on the Queensland Construction Industry, May 2004

Focus on the Victorian Construction Industry, April 2004

Engineering Construction, March 2004

Focus on the New South Wales Construction Industry, February 2004

Average floor area of new dwellings, December 2003

Work done on housing jobs each quarter, March 2003

Inner city development, December 2002

Functional classification of buildings, August 2002

Building activity in Sydney and Melbourne, July 2002

Changes in the mix of dwelling types, May 2002

Construction Industry information, April 2002

Average value of new houses, March 2002

Largest and fastest growing areas in Australia, November 2001

Functional classification of buildings, August 2001

Average floor area of new dwellings, July 2001

Identifying growth areas, May 2001

Additional Building and Construction feature articles can be found in Feature Articles by Catalogue Number.