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Australian housing approvals – Still underperforming

22 March 2024

Australia’s dwelling approvals data continues to underperform demand, with very little positive information. On an annualised basis, detached house approvals for the year-ending January 2024 were 100,737, down 11.6% on the previous year. Total dwellings for the year-ending January 2024 were 161,742 down -14.9% over the same period.

In analysing data, the preference is to provide context by looking at both the positives and the negatives. This month’s housing approvals is challenging as there is mainly negatives which leaves us still searching for the positives.

We’ll see how we go.

On a monthly basis, the data is more volatile than the annual data, with detached houses approved in January 2024 totalling 7,565 down 9.6% on December 2023. Total dwelling approvals were 12,850 down a more moderate 1.0%. To put that in context that is the worst monthly result since June 2012, when house approvals were as low as 7,411.

Examining the States, the year-end percentage change was lowest in South Australia at -9.8%, compared to a very steep change in the ACT where a decline of 25.3% for total dwelling approvals was experienced.

The states and territories are operating to sets of different parameters. Some have a little more demand because of migration flows or project work, some have insufficient land being released (hello NSW!) and others are battling for labour because of infrastructure projects (greetings Victoria).

However, all are struggling with one big constraint: confidence!

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Australian Dwelling Approvals

Source: FWPA