ABS figures an indicator of Victoria's construction strength

Figures have been released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics which show that through the March quarter building work has increased markedly in Victoria. Released as part of Urban Taskforce Australia's most recent commentary on the development industry, the statistics underpin the importance that construction and particularly apartment construction has in bolstering the overall Victorian economy which has taken a number of manufacturing-based blows in recent years.

The key figures that the Urban Taskforce uses to assess production is the value of building work per capita. Victoria produced $1172 per person in the March quarter while NSW only produced $808 per person.

In the last quarter NSW has moved downwards while Victoria has moved upwards.

Urban Taskforce CEO, Chris Johnson
Total building value per capita. Image courtesy ABS

While building construction expenditure is an accurate measure of current activity, it is a result of planning approvals made a year or more earlier. The building construction expenditure therefore needs to be compared with future work flowing from current approvals.

In overall terms the building work activity across Australia is robust which is good news for the jobs that flow from this.

Urban Taskforce CEO, Chris Johnson

As touched upon above, Victoria's current strength is a reflection of the efficient (some would no doubt say liberal) planning approvals process under the previous State Government which only now is starting to bare fruit if inner city Melbourne is used as a prime example. The heightened levels of construction is also a reflection of the multitude of foreign and foreign-backed developers who have been present in Melbourne for a number of years and are only comparatively starting to make their presence felt in Sydney, Australia's supposed global city.

While some fundamentals of apartment living are currently under the microscope, Planning Minister Richard Wynne has kept the approvals ball rolling with a host of high profile project approvals in recent weeks. Add the insatiable appetite of new developers seeking a piece of the Melbourne pie and Western Australia's general economic slowing post the mining boom and it's quite likely that in months ahead Victoria will take the mantle of achieving the highest total building value per capita state across Australia.

Apartments to the fore

Of course Victoria's construction strength is reflected in greater Melbourne's vista with approximately 130 tower cranes currently plying their trade. The vast majority of these cranes are dedicated to the delivery on new apartment projects with the latest project receiving its crane being Assembly North Melbourne above.

With a host of large-scale, long term projects such as Fishermans Bend, Footscray's Joseph Road Precinct, Toorak Park and Caulfiled Heath in their construction infancy, Melbourne and Victoria's construction strength looks set to grow further.

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