Dwelling approvals rise on the back of resurgent apartment sector

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A significant jump in the apartment sector has resulted in an increase in dwelling approvals across Australia in April.

Figures released this week from the Australian Bureau of Statistics have revealed that total dwelling approvals increased by 3% over April, with conditions differing across the detached housing and apartment markets.

“Approvals for multi-unit dwellings provided the impetus for the headline growth in April, with approvals in this part of the market growing by 8.1% during the month,” said Housing Industry Association (HIA) economist Geordan Murray said.  

“The growth in multi-unit approvals was driven by the eastern sea-board states, where we saw multi-unit approvals jump by 20% in Queensland, 19% in New South Wales, and 7% in Victoria. South Australia also posted an increase of 3%,” Murray said.

Detached housing approvals saw a small decline over April; however the supply pipeline still remains similar to what it has been in recent years.

“Approvals for detached houses continue to flow through at a steady rate. While there was a decline of 2% in the month, there were a total of 9,695 detached dwellings approved which is still on par with the monthly average over the last couple of years,” Murray said.

“In contrast to the situation with multi-unit approvals, the number of detached house approvals fell across the eastern sea-board states while all other states and territories posted improvements. It’s pleasing to see the likes of South Australia post the strongest month of detached house approvals in more than two years.”

While the increase in apartment approvals over April may add further fuel to the ongoing debate around apartment oversupply in some inner city markets, people have been warned to look beyond those numbers when assessing a location.

“What you’ll find is that while there are a lot of approvals in place, a lot of those developments won’t happen. People should be looking at project starts, not approvals,” Mark Mendel, chief executive officer of off the plan property marketing firm iBuyNew, told Your Investment Property earlier this week.

During April 2016, total seasonally adjusted new home building approvals saw the largest increase in South Australia (+13.7%) with growth also occurring in Tasmania (+13.6%), New South Wales (+10.4%), and Queensland (+6.7%).

Approvals fell by 2.7% in Victoria and by 0.6% in Western Australia. In trend terms, approvals saw a 15.1% fall in the Northern Territory and an increase of 6.8% in the Australian Capital Territory.

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