Dwelling starts set to track at peak levels over 2015 & 2016: CBA

Dwelling starts set to track at peak levels over 2015 & 2016: CBA
Dwelling starts set to track at peak levels over 2015 & 2016: CBA

GUEST OBSERVER

The residential building transition is firmly on track. The ABS estimate that dwelling commencements rose by 8.6% in QI. Total commencements should total a record 219K in 2015 and 202K in 2016. This is a significant lift on the 2005‑12 average of 155K. Non‑residential building construction rose by 1.3% in QI.

The trends across the States showed a significant lift in commencements in VIC and QLD. NSW commencements edged up marginally. The increase in NSW commencements has been much softer compared to the pick up in NSW building approvals. NSW commencements are likely to record stronger outcomes over the remainder of 2015.  Across the other states, commencements fell in SA, WA, TAS and ACT.

We recently discussed the large pipeline of residential work that is yet to be completed. In the current residential construction upturn, the flow through from a building approval to a commencement to final completion has been longer compared to prior cycles. One of the reasons for this change is the larger‑than‑normal share of multi‑density dwellings in the pipeline. Multi‑density dwellings are accounting for 40% of total new dwelling commencements. In prior housing upturns, mutli’s were a smaller 30% of new dwelling starts. Multi‑density dwellings tend to have long planning and pre‑approval schedules. Site preparation can be lengthy and may require demolition, excavation and remediation. A longer flow through from approval to actual construction should mean that the positive impulse and contribution to GDP growth and the economy more broadly are also more drawn out.

On our calculations, the pipeline of residential work to be done should extend well into 2016.

 
 
Dwelling starts set to track at peak levels over 2015 & 2016: CBA
 
 

Non‑residential building trends have been varied.  Commercial approvals are weak because of elevated vacancy rates.  Industrial approvals have trended a little lower.

But, other non‑residential approvals activity has picked up noticeably – particularly in NSW and VIC thanks to large rises in short term accommodation, education and aged care building.  Demographic trends favour construction in the education and health sectors. And a lower Australian dollar is positive for the entertainment and accommodation sectors.  Non‑residential building construction should edge higher over 2015.

 
 
Dwelling starts set to track at peak levels over 2015 & 2016: CBA
 

Diana Mousina is an economist for Commonwealth Bank of Australia. She can be contacted here.

Tags: 
Housing Affordability Construction

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