- The seasonally adjusted estimate for total dwellings approved rose 17.4% in March.
- Private sector dwellings excluding houses rose 63.6%, while private sector houses rose 0.1%, in seasonally adjusted terms.
- The seasonally adjusted estimate for the value of non-residential building approved rose 59.4%.
|Mar-21||Monthly change||Yearly change|
|Total dwelling units approved||23176||17.4||47.4|
|Private sector houses||14117||0.1||60.9|
|Private sector dwellings excluding houses||8563||63.6||27.4|
The number of dwellings approved in Australia rose 17.4% in March, in seasonally adjusted terms. This follows a 20.1% increase in February.
Private sector houses rose 0.1% in March, reaching a new record high of 14,117 houses. Private sector dwellings excluding houses increased 63.6% in March, driven by an increase in large apartment approvals in New South Wales and Victoria.
Total dwelling approvals rose in New South Wales (26.9%), Victoria (24.7%), Queensland (12.1%) and South Australia (3.5%), while Western Australia (-6.4%) and Tasmania (-4.8%) fell, in seasonally adjusted terms.
Approvals for private sector houses rose in Victoria (7.8%) and South Australia (3.6%), in seasonally adjusted terms. Falls were recorded in New South Wales (-10.5%), Queensland (-4.0%) and Western Australia (-0.1%).
The value of total building approved rose 36.3%, to a record high of $15.6b, in seasonally adjusted terms. The rise in March was driven by an increase in the value of non-residential building (59.4%), to the highest level recorded ($6.66b). The rise in non-residential building can be attributed to a strong increase in both private and public projects approved in March.
The value of total residential building rose 22.9 per cent, comprising a 25.4 per cent rise in new residential building, and a 7.3 per cent increase in alterations and additions, in seasonally adjusted terms. The value of residential alterations and additions approved also reached a record high in March ($1.07b).
Suspension of trend series
The trend series attempts to measure underlying behaviour in building approval activity. In the short term, this measurement will be significantly affected by changes to regular patterns in approval activity during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, as potential home builders faced uncertainty initially, followed by the introduction of government stimulus measures. If the trend estimates in this publication were to be calculated without fully accounting for this irregular event, they would likely provide a misleading view of underlying approval activity.
The Building Approvals monthly trend series have therefore been suspended starting from May 2020, while the quarterly series have been suspended from the June 2020 quarter. The trend series will be reinstated when more certainty emerges in the underlying trend.
Update to seasonal adjustment methods
Building Approvals uses the concurrent seasonal adjustment method, meaning that seasonal factors are re-estimated each time a new data point becomes available. If not appropriately accounted for, unusual real-world events, such as COVID-19, can distort estimates calculated using this method. From May 2020, seasonal factors are being calculated using data up to and including April 2020, then projected from May 2020 onwards. This approach, known as the forward factor method, ensures that the seasonal factors are not distorted by COVID-19 impacts.