Building Approvals, Australia

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Provides the number of dwelling units and value of buildings approved

Reference period
May 2021

Key statistics

  • The seasonally adjusted estimate for total dwellings approved fell 7.1% in May.
  • Private sector houses fell 10.3%, in seasonally adjusted terms, while private sector dwellings excluding houses rose 1.2%.
  • The seasonally adjusted estimate for the value of non-residential building approved rose 28.5%.

Dwellings approved

May key figures
  May-21Monthly changeYearly change
Seasonally adjusted
 Total dwelling units approved 20,163 -7.152.7
 Private sector houses13,571 -10.355.2
 Private sector dwellings excluding houses6,3741.253.6

The number of dwellings approved in Australia fell 7.1% in May, in seasonally adjusted terms. This follows a 5.7% decrease in April.

Private sector houses fell 10.3% in May, to 13,571 approved, after reaching a record high In April. Private sector dwellings excluding houses increased 1.2% in May, driven by a rise in apartment approvals in Western Australia.

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 Wales2,904-4.65,919-10.9
South Australia1,089-16.91,312-11.9
Western Australia2,022-18.02,657-8.7
Northern Territorynananana
Australian Capital Territorynananana

By state, the number of dwelling approvals fell in Queensland (-13.1%), South Australia (-11.9%), New South Wales (-10.9%) and Western Australia (-8.7%). Meanwhile, dwelling approvals rose in Victoria (3.2%) and Tasmania (2.0%), in seasonally adjusted terms.

Approvals for private sector houses fell across all mainland states: Western Australia (-18.0%), South Australia (-16.9%), Queensland (-13.8%), Victoria (-5.8%) and New South Wales (-4.6%), in seasonally adjusted terms.

Value of building approved

Value of building approved, by building type
Seasonally adjusted
$mMonthly % change
New residential building6,927.4-5.8
Alterations and additions to residential building953.3-12.7
Total residential building7,880.7-6.7
Non-residential building5,064.728.5
Total building12,945.44.5

The value of total building rose 4.5 per cent, in seasonally adjusted terms. The value of total residential building fell 6.7 per cent, comprising a 5.8% fall in new residential building and a 12.7% fall in residential alterations and additions.

The value of non-residential building rose 28.5% (to $5.06b), driven by a large rise in public sector projects approved in May, following a 38.5% fall in April.

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

Data downloads

Time series spreadsheets

Data files


Series ID Concordance

Private residential alterations and additions, July 2016 - May 2021 - States and Territories

Small area datacubes

Data files


ABS.Stat datasets

Help for: ABS.Stat Datasets

Building Approvals by Greater Capital Cities Statistical Area (GCCSA) and above - Number and value of approvals, monthly, July 2001 onwards

Building Approvals by Statistical Area Level 2 (SA2) and above - Number and value of approvals, monthly, July 2011 onwards

Building Approvals by Local Government Area (LGA 2019) - Number and value of approvals, monthly, 2019/20

Building Approvals by Local Government Area (LGA 2020) - Number and value of approvals, monthly, 2020/21


Data files


Data notes

This publication provides the number of dwelling units and value of buildings approved released in Building Approvals, Australia on 5 July 2021.

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 Areas Level 2 and Local Government Areas. Release dates are published under the “Forthcoming Issues” section of the publication and in the ABS Release Calendar.

A number of time series spreadsheets contain ‘np’ (not available for publication) annotations. This is due to confidential data being contained in these series.

Extraordinary Annual Seasonal Review

The Extraordinary Annual Seasonal Review undertaken this month has individually assessed each series to determine how each observation from the previous year should be treated for estimation of the seasonal factors used to seasonally adjust the current end of the series. This process has ensured disruption to series caused by COVID-19 does not unduly affect estimates of the seasonal factors.

For series which have used the forward factors method, revisions to the seasonally adjusted series are likely to be larger than the revisions historically observed each month when concurrent adjustment was used. Series which have used forward factors have used static seasonal factor estimates for the previous year, and the review has updated these seasonal factor estimates by incorporating relevant information from the previous year's observations. When concurrent adjustment is used, revisions to the seasonally adjusted estimates will typically be smaller because seasonal factor estimates are updated monthly on the basis of the addition of just one extra data point.

New forward factors have been calculated and will be used from the May 2021 publication. 

Revisions this month

In this release, revisions are provided for the time period from July 2019 to April 2021. 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:

 Financial year
Dwellings 2019-202020-21
New South Wales-262
South Australia-140
Western Australia356
Northern Territory--
Australian Capital Territory-159


For inquiries about these and related statistics, contact the Customer Assistance Service via the ABS website Contact Us page. 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 8731.0.

Post release changes

12/07/2021 - As advertised in the main release of this publication on 5 July 2021, this additional information release contains the small area Excel datacubes and CSV files for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 financial years. The CSV files were released shortly after the Excel datacubes.

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