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Building Approvals, Australia

Provides the number of dwelling units and value of buildings approved

Reference period
October 2020
Released
1/12/2020
Future releases
  • Next Release 8/12/2020
    Building Approvals, Australia, October 2020
  • Next Release 7/01/2021
    Building Approvals, Australia, November 2020
  • Next Release 14/01/2021
    Building Approvals, Australia, November 2020
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Key statistics

  • The seasonally adjusted estimate for total dwellings approved rose 3.8% in October.
  • Private sector dwellings excluding houses rose 6.2%, while private sector houses rose 3.1%, in seasonally adjusted terms.
  • The seasonally adjusted estimate for the value of non-residential building approved rose 58.6%.

Dwellings approved

October key figures
  Oct 20Sep 20 to Oct 20Oct 19 to Oct 20
  no.%%
Seasonally adjusted
 Total dwelling units approved16 5843.8  14.3
 Private sector houses10 6923.1  31.7
 Private sector dwellings excluding houses  5 5296.2-10.6
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The number of dwellings approved in Australia rose 3.8% in October, in seasonally adjusted terms. Private sector dwellings excluding houses increased by 6.2% in October, but remains 10.6% lower than at the same time last year. Private sector houses rose 3.1%, driven by strength in Western Australia.

Dwellings approved, states and territories
Seasonally adjusted
State/territoryPrivate sector housesPrivate sector housesTotal dwelling units approvedTotal dwelling units approved
no.Monthly % changeno.Monthly % change
New South Wales2237-4.2469532.1
Victoria3320-6.94946-15.0
Queensland21459.43080-0.8
South Australia8175.0941-2.4
Western Australia181737.5239929.7
Tasmanianana281-3.4
Northern Territorynananana
Australian Capital Territorynananana
Australia106923.1165843.8

Dwelling approvals rose in New South Wales (32.1%) and Western Australia (29.7%). Falls were recorded in Victoria (15.0%), Tasmania (3.4%), South Australia (2.4%) and Queensland (0.8%).

Approvals for private sector houses rose in Western Australia (37.5%), Queensland (9.4%) and South Australia (5.0%). Meanwhile, falls were recorded in Victoria (6.9%) and New South Wales (4.2%).

Value of building approved

Value of building approved, by building type
Seasonally adjusted
$mMonthly % change
New residential building5464.411.5
Alterations and additions to residential building775.3-3.3
Total residential building6239.79.4
Non-residential building4636.158.6
Total building10875.926.1
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The value of total building approved rose 26.1% in October, in seasonally adjusted terms. Non-residential building drove the increase, rising 58.6%, having fallen 35.4% in September.

The value of total residential building increased 9.4% in October. This was driven by a rise in the value of new residential building (11.5%), while the value of residential alterations and additions fell 3.3%.

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.

Data files

Datacubes

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

ABS.Stat datasets

Notes

Data notes

This publication provides the number of dwelling units and value of buildings approved released in Building Approvals, Australia on 1 December 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 October

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.

Dwelling approvals rose 3.8% in October, following a strong 16.2% rise in September. This follows the relaxation of COVID-19 related restrictions in most states and territories. Record low interest rates and Federal and state-based incentives are also providing support for the detached housing and renovations sectors. Seasonally adjusted private house approvals rose to the highest level since February 2000, while the value of alterations and additions remain at near four-year highs. Spending on public non-residential projects reached the highest level recorded since August 2019 ($2.2b), while private non-residential investment bounced back in October, rising 38% (to $2.7b), having fallen to near four-year lows in August and September. 

Data collection activities continued to be largely unaffected in the October 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 September 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          232           52
Vic.          -60             4
Qld          570         157
SA              -             1
WA              -           -2
Tas.              -             -
NT              -             -
ACT              -             -
Total          742         212
 

New base year for chain volume estimates

A new base year, 2018-19, has been introduced into the chain volume estimates which has resulted in revisions to growth rates in subsequent periods. The chain volume estimates have been re-referenced to 2018-19, thereby preserving additivity in the quarters after the reference year. Re-referencing affects the levels of, but not the movements in, chain volume estimates.

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.

History of changes

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 8731.0

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.