New Zealand and Australia see increase in new home building consents

Planning approvals for new homes have increased in both Australia and New Zealand, the latest official statistics show.

Approvals increased by 2.9% in Australia nationwide in November but when the data from the Australian Bureau of  Statistics are broken down they show that Victoria was the only state which recorded an increase, up 8.7% and this skewed the national figures.

Approvals fell 13.8% in South Australia, were down 7.6% in Tasmania, down 4% in New South Wales, down 1.5% in Queensland and down 1% in Australia. In trend terms building approvals in November fell in both the Australian Capital Territory, down 0.8% and 3.6% respectively.

The rise regained some of the ground lost in October, said the Housing Industry Association, the voice of Australia’s residential building industry.

‘Today’s positive headline result, a 2.9 per cent improvement in the dwelling approvals nationally, somewhat overshadows what is a rather poor update for most jurisdictions,’ said HIA economist Geordan Murray.
‘Victoria was the only state which recorded an increase. The improvement was driven by a rebound in approvals for multi-unit dwellings after a relatively soft result a month earlier. Concurrent declines in all other states and territories is concerning, although the modest declines observed in the larger states were insufficient to cause a decline in the national total,’ he explained.

‘Lower lending rates in the latter half of 2012 provided one of the necessary preconditions for an improvement in new home building and we are watching for the impact of the state based reforms to first home buyer incentives in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania flow through to approvals data over coming months,’ he added.

Meanwhile the latest data from Statistics New Zealand shows that consents for new houses, including apartments, has been growing for 20 months in a row, up 45% over the period.

‘Since the latest low point in March 2011, we have seen continuous steady growth in the trend for the number of new houses consented,’ said Blair Cardno,  industry and labour statistics manager.

Excluding apartments, the trend for new houses is up by 41% Since March 2011. In November consents for house and apartments increased by 20% compared with a year ago, and for houses alone the growth was 27%.

Canterbury led the increase in the number of new houses in November 2012 and earthquake related building consents totalled $59 million. The region with the second largest increase in the number of new houses was Otago.

The seasonally adjusted number of new non-apartment houses increased 4.6% in November 2012. Including apartments, the seasonally adjusted number decreased 5.4% Apartment numbers can vary a lot from month to month.

The value of all building consents in November 2012 was $1,053 million, up 15% compared with November 2011.