The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released building activity figures for the March quarter of 2017 today, a snapshot of what was built and what was commenced during the quarter.
Here’s a few charts we pulled from the data, all but confirming that Australia’s residential construction boom has now passed its cyclical peak.
The first chart is dwellings completed during the quarter, revealing a decline across all of Australia’s mainland states.
The number of dwellings that began construction also fell in all states bar Western Australia, with some particularly large declines registered in New South Wales and Queensland due to the impacts of Cyclone Debbie late in the the quarter.
And the pipeline of work is also starting to weaken, although it still remains elevated compared to historic norms, especially in New South Wales. Over the quarter, newly approved dwellings rose in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, but fell in Queensland and Western Australia.
According to data released by the ABS earlier this month, new building approvals stood at 17,414in April, down 17.2% on a year earlier.
With new approvals starting to slide, largely due to a sharp drop in unit approvals, Australia’s Housing Industry Association (HIA) is forecasting that dwelling starts will decline by 10.7% in the current financial year before bottoming out next year at around 177,000 commencements.
In 2015/16, 231,000 dwellings began construction, the highest number on record.