30 May 2019

“Approvals for new detached houses across Australia have sagged to their lowest level since June 2013,” Shane Garrett, Master Builders Chief Economist said.

“Building approvals in April 2019 indicate that the number of approvals for all categories of new dwelling fell by 4.7% during the month. New detached house approvals dropped by 2.9% while the volume of approvals for apartments/units saw a 7.2% fall. Total approvals are now down by 24.2% over the past year,” he said.

“Since the beginning of the new home building downturn in late 2017, the bulk of the pain has been concentrated in the high density segment of the market,” Shane Garrett said.

“With today’s figures now showing detached house approvals at a 6-year low, it is ominous that the weakness in new home building is spreading to those parts of the market which are traditionally more resilient during downturns,” he said.

“Obviously, these figures relate to the month immediately prior to the federal election and the political uncertainty which was then at play has contributed to the weaker results for April,” Shane Garrett said.

“Now that there has been a clear conclusion to the federal election, a real opportunity exists to push home building activity back in the right direction,” he said.

“Many significant infrastructure projects have been announced by government over the past year. Speedily converting these announcements into real, visible activity on the ground would provide a major boost to the building industry, the wider economy and confidence more generally,” he said.

During April 2019, the number of approvals for new home rose in Queensland (+11.3%), followed by the ACT (+7.7%) and New South Wales (4.8%).

The largest drop in new dwelling approvals affected Tasmania (-19.1%) followed by Victoria (-16.1%). There were also falls in new home approvals in Western Australia (-6.7%), South Australia (-3.3%) and the Northern Territory (-2.0%).   

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