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Dwelling approvals remarkable

Australia’s total dwelling approvals continued with their run of stability in June, with year-end approvals totalling 228,913 units, up 4.0% on the year earlier. Perhaps the most remarkable of the results is that 4+ Storey Apartment approvals were up 5.8% over the same period, totalling 66,211 units. They were still dwarfed by approvals of Houses, which were up 4.6%, totalling 121,454 units over the year-ended June.

The ‘remarkable’ comment comes because the commentariat (and some prominent forecasters) are insistent the housing market is due for a slump, and that in many respects it has already commenced. As we have been obliged to comment previously, the ‘housing market’ in Australia is made up of many elements, each of which operates to somewhat different dynamics.

Our focus here is not on transactions of existing dwellings, prices in major capital cities, or on the credit squeeze that is observably underway. Our focus in this item is dwelling approvals, and they are, despite the noise, quite strong, as the chart below shows. Read later items for further discussion on housing finance dynamics.


To go straight to the dashboard and take a closer look at the data, click here.

Dwelling approvals data is a well-worn story for Statistics Count. We can see that the boom in approvals was led by the 4+ Storey Apartment blocks, and we can see also that the Semi-detached 2+ Storey (Townhouses) have also grown strongly over the period.

But the real story – or at least the main story – is the base of dwelling approvals that is free-standing dwellings. They are the firmament upon which Australian housing remains standing, and they have been at high levels since early 2014, with only emerging signs of respite any time soon.

The table below shows the year-end approvals for each of the major housing formats.

Dwelling Type YE June ‘17 YE June ‘18 % Change
Houses 115,801 121,454  4.6%
Townhouses (1 Storey) 8,899 9,667 7.8%
Townhouses (2+ Storeys) 24,666  26,152 2.2%
Flats (1 or 2 Storey) 2,718 1,527 -37.8%
Flats (3 Storey) 4,273 3,902 -10.9%
Flats (4+ Storey) 63,121 66,211 5.8%
Total 219,478 227,555 4.0%

Source ABS

The Australian housing market has its issues right now. When does it not? But just at the moment, softening approvals is not one of them.

Posted Date: August 2, 2018

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