October housing approvals hit 20-year high amid ‘acute shortage’: ABS

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Housing approvals have hit a 20-year high in Australia.


Australian housing approvals built up to a 20-year high in October as the nation’s regions battle an “acute shortage” caused by COVID-19.

And experts believe there is more to come.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released Tuesday show the a hefty 10,936 new houses were approved for construction around the country in October.

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It’s the highest number since 11,219 were approved in February 2000.

Housing Industry Association chief economist Tim Reardon said the raft of approvals went beyond the federal government’s $25,000 HomeBuilder grants.

New builds are expected to boom in regional parts of Australia thanks to COVID-19.


“It’s also the social impact of COVID-19 as we see populations shift away from Sydney and Melbourne and the capitals,” Mr Reardon said.

The effect had been exacerbated as regional high-school graduates from 2019 had not converged on capital city’s as they normally would, creating an “acute shortage of detached housing stock, with the exception of metropolitan Melbourne and Sydney”.

He said expatriates returning to Australia have also looked to new houses rather than apartments, while tree-changers and sea-changers had also played a part.

With housing finance figures at record highs in recent months, Mr Reardon said he believed house approvals would continue to rise across the nation through to the end of the year.

“This is probably the first of three very strong months,” he said.

Rental and price rises are expected for homes in areas that see populations increase outside of Sydney and Melbourne, and will likely continue until international students and migration return. It is expected 85 per cent of internationals will head for the major capitals — helping to revive CBD activity.

Housing development in Sydney and Melbourne, particularly inner areas, will benefit when international migration and travel resumes.


The 20-year high was largely achieved thanks to Western Australia, where private sector housing approvals surged from 1321 to 1817

Queensland homebuyers were given the nod for 2145 new builds, up from 1960 the month before, numbers also rose from 778 to 817 in South Australia.

However approvals fell from 2335 to 2237 in New South Wales and from 3567 to 3320 in Victoria.

However, compared to a year prior numbers were up 414 and 710 respectively.

But with units more challenged, particularly in Melbourne where they account for most of a 15 per cent decline in total residential construction approvals, there are concerns for high-rise construction.

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