National private sector homes approvals increase

31 May 2011

Seasonally adjusted approvals for new private sector homes rose 0.5 per cent in April, largely on the back of a surge in Queensland and a more modest increase in Victoria, according to the Urban Taskforce.

The Taskforces chief executive, Aaron Gadiel, said while the headline Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released today show a 1.2 per cent drop in seasonally adjusted new home approvals, the national fall includes a 50.3 per cent drop in approvals for new public housing.


Were seeing off the last of the public housing approvals associated with the Federal Governments economic stimulus program, with April public housing approval rates now returning to pre-stimulus levels, Mr Gadiel said.


Nonetheless, no-one should draw false comfort from this months increase in private sector housing approvals.


In three of the last six months, weve seen significant seasonally adjusted falls in new home approvals.


So much so, that, in trend terms, new home approvals have fallen by 3 per cent over the last five months.


Mr Gadiel said the stand-out performer was Queensland, where the private sector home approval rate surged by 31.3 per cent, nearly reversing the 33.3 per cent fall the states seen since the floods.


Queensland is hardly out of the woods though, with its April private sector approval figures still the worst the state has seen for that month since 1987.


Just under 2,000 private sector homes were approved in April 2011, compared with close to 2,400 in April last year, and an average of 2,800 homes over each April in the last 10 years.


Queensland clearly has more to do to kick-start a recovery in its home building sector.


Mr Gadiel said that Victoria once again broke a new record, with more new private sector homes approved in April this year, than in any other April in Australian Bureau of Statistics record-keeping history.


Victorias seasonally adjusted 4.6 per cent increase in new private sector homes was a significant increase given the 13.6 per cent decline in NSW, and the 10.3 per cent fall in Western Australia, Mr Gadiel said.


Of the four largest states, Victoria is the only one whose approval numbers for new private sector homes is trending upward.


Mr Gadiel said that in NSW the Australian Bureau of Statistics trend figure is now negative, for the first time this year, with revised figures showing a 1.7 per cent decline over March and April.


Developments in NSW will need to be monitored closely, as the number of Part 3A approvals begin to decline, and changes are made to joint regional planning panels.


Mr Gadiel said in Western Australia just 1,310 new private sector homes were approved in April 2011, down on 1,740 homes in April last year.


This is Western Australias second worst April for private sector home approvals, since 2001, he said. Mr Gadiel said the national supply of new homes simply wasnt strong enough.


Were consistently seeing, year-on-year home approvals, hovering at an annual rate of around 150,000 homes.


We havent seen the increases required to address shortages that have arisen in the past, let alone the additional housing required to meet population growth and the additional dwellings to support the growth in smaller households.


Were well and truly on track to reach the National Housing Supply Councils projected 300,000 home shortfall in 2014.


Mr Gadiel said that the next meeting of the Council of Australian Government in July would discuss the Productivity Commissions report on the state of planning and zoning laws across Australia.


We hope that the Federal and state governments take this report seriously and are prepared to act swiftly on its findings.


The Urban Taskforce is a property development industry group, representing Australias most prominent property developers and equity financiers..


Please note: A graph appears in the PDF below.

Download PDF Document