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  • Another strong month of building approvals has pushed the numbers to the second-highest on record, despite a humble increase in house approvals
  • Private sector dwellings excluding houses drove the increase, rising 63.6 per cent
  • Ai Group’s Head of Policy, Peter Burn, said Australia’s construction sector continued to power ahead in April led by house building and engineering construction
  • As of April 9, 2021, the Federal Government has received 121,363 HomeBuilder applications
  • The value of residential renovations and building approvals reached record heights

Another strong month of building approvals has pushed the numbers to the second-highest on record, despite a humble increase in house approvals.

The number of dwellings approved rose 17.4 per cent in March (seasonally adjusted), following a 20.1 per cent rise in February, according to data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

“The total number of dwellings approved in March was the second highest recorded, only exceeded by the November 2017 result,” ABS Director of Construction Statistics Daniel Rossi said.

Private sector dwellings excluding houses drove the increase, rising 63.6 per cent.

“The number of private sector house approvals also remained at elevated levels due to HomeBuilder, edging up 0.1 per cent to a new record high in March,” Rossi said.

Other statistics show that Australia’s construction industry is floating near record highs as a result of strong home construction.

In April, the Australian Industry Group/Housing Industry Association Australian Performance of Construction Index dropped 2.7 points to 59.1, maintaining the solid rate of post-2020 recovery seen in March’s record high.

Ai Group’s Head of Policy, Peter Burn, said Australia’s construction sector continued to power ahead in April led by house building and engineering construction.

“Across the industry, employment and new orders were both higher in April although their expansion was slower this month,” he said.

“Apartment building and commercial construction were again in positive territory although with current growth coming after long periods of contraction, the levels of activity remain relatively modest.

“New orders were strong once again on the back of the house building and engineering construction sectors, suggesting continuing healthy levels of activity in the months ahead,” Dr Burn concluded.

Although the HomeBuilder scheme expired in March, the government has since prolonged the deadline to start building by another 12 months. The uptake of HomeBuilder has beaten all expectations, according to HIA Economist Tom Devitt.

“The extension of HomeBuilder’s commencement deadlines means builders will be able to meet much more of this record demand over the coming year and fewer homebuyers will have to suffer the disappointment of cancellation due to capacity constraints,” he said.

“This will support home building activity for several years before the current absence of population growth spreads from the apartment sector to the rest of the housing market,” Mr Devitt concluded.

As of April 9, 2021, the Federal Government has received 121,363 HomeBuilder applications.

The value of total buildings approved increased 36.3 per cent to reach a record high, in seasonally adjusted terms. Residential alterations and additions rose 7.3 per cent, also reaching an all-time high.

The value of non-residential building reached an all-time high too (up 59.4 per cent), driven by a large rise in both private and public projects in March.

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