Building Approvals, Australia

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Provides the number of dwelling units and value of buildings approved

Reference period
October 2020

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
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

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 Wales2,237-4.24,69532.1
South Australia8175.0941-2.4
Western Australia1,81737.52,39929.7
Northern Territorynananana
Australian Capital Territorynananana

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 building5,464.411.5
Alterations and additions to residential building775.3-3.3
Total residential building6,239.79.4
Non-residential building4,636.158.6
Total building10,875.926.1

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


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

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 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.


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

08/12/2020 - As advertised in the main release of this publication on 1 December 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

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