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Construction Strong Despite Softer Approvals

New dwelling approvals have declined for a fourth consecutive month as the surge in detached housing, propelled by the federal government’s HomeBuilder stimulus, continues to drop out of the system.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures for July show a seasonally adjusted total of 17,601 dwelling approvals, a dip of 8.6 per cent on June’s result and marked the lowest monthly total since January.

Building approvals were weighed down in part by a 24 per cent decline in detached house approvals from their peak of 15,443 in April to 11,671 in July.

The monthly decline in the total number of dwellings was broad-based, with private sector houses falling 5.8 per cent and approvals in private sector dwellings, excluding houses, falling 12.3 per cent.

Housing Industry Association economist Angela Lillicrap said the latest date indicated that the majority of HomeBuilder projects had now moved through the approvals process and were set to begin construction in the coming months.

Dwelling approvals 


^Source: ABS, AMP Capital 

Across July, the largest falls were in South Australia, down by 17.1 per cent, and Tasmania, 15.3 per cent.

Queensland, benefiting particularly from interstate migration, was the only state to record an increase in dwelling approvals with a 9 per cent rise.

Private house approvals in Queensland also rose, up 8.3 per cent in seasonally adjusted terms.

The return of lockdowns across parts of New South Wales and Victoria meant approvals for private sector houses fell 4.2 per cent and 7.3 per cent respectively.

The rebounds from last year’s disruptions combined with major stimulus from ultra-low interest rates and HomeBuilder are now seemingly fading.

Detached-house approvals remain 43.2 per cent up on the same quarter last year but the rate of decline has now increased after falling by half the rate, 10.1 per cent, in June.

ANZ economist Adelaide Timbrell said the numbers were likely to fall.

“While the wind-back of fiscal support was always expected to lead to a fall in residential building approvals, the decline has been faster in recent months than the market expected,” Timbrell said.

“We know much of the increase in approvals represented a bring-forward of activity, so we expect to see more declines.”

AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver shared that sentiment and said the increased rate of decline meant that the outlook for building approvals leading into 2022 was less certain.

“Next year risks seeing a slump in home building reflecting the pull forward of activity due to HomeBuilder, reduced demographic demand after two years of zero immigration and the risk that the latest lockdowns impact homebuyer sentiment,” he said.


▲ The HomeBuilder scheme has estimated to have created over $30 billion of construction projects. 

Between March 2020 and March 2021 dwelling approvals have posted an 84 per cent increase.

Monthly approvals have since declined 25 per cent but are still up 21 per cent year on year and are sitting 8.6 per cent higher than their pre-pandemic level.

Private house approvals remain 28 per cent higher than July 2020 and 36 per cent higher than July 2019.

Construction for the foreseeable future remains strong, with more than 121,000 HomeBuilder grant applications lodged, four times more than what was initially expected.

As a knock-on effect, almost four in five builders are now reporting “significant delays” in being able to secure concreters, joiners and bricklayers ,and an increase of up to 10 per cent in the cost of materials and specialist trades or labour, according to lobby group Master Builders.

Residential property construction times have also doubled across 2021.

A single-storey dwelling, which required six to eight months to build in 2019-2020, now requires between 12 to 16 months, while a double-storey home, which had previously taken 10 to 12 months, is now taking 14 to 20 months to complete.




New Home Builds to Remain High Until 2022

New Home Builds

Construction of new homes will be strong well into next year as new home sales increased 5.8 per cent in August.

However, meeting this demand will continue to challenge the construction sector as it deals with lengthy material delays and cost hikes.

This was likely to extend until 2022 as developers rush to meet demand for new homes.

For August, sales in Queensland increased 44.3 per cent, NSW 17.9 per cent and South Australia was up 64.3 per cent, according to HIA new home sales data.

The results were worse for Victoria, down 10.8 per cent, and in Western Australian where activity also dropped, by 11.8 per cent.

The report showed that while buyer activity was rising, it was 15.5 per cent lower than in the three months to August last year during HomeBuilder, but well above 2019 levels.

Private new house sales in Australia 

New Home Builds

HIA economist Tom Devitt said new home sales remained strong in August, albeit not at the record levels prior to the end of HomeBuilder in March 2021.

“The strength in new home sales in recent months indicates that the boom in detached home building will continue to create strong employment opportunities into the second half of 2022,” Devitt said.

“A more reasonable timeframe for comparison is the same period in 2018 and 2019, before the adverse impact of Covid-19 and the stimulus from HomeBuilder.

“In the past three months sales were 15.4 per cent higher than at the same time in 2019 and 4.5 per cent higher than the same time in 2018.”

Comparing the results to before the pandemic, in the three months to August, Western Australia was up 60.0 per cent, followed by NSW up 28.1 per cent and Victoria 6.7 per cent compared to 2019.

Queensland was down 1.5 per cent for the same period and South Australia was 15.2 per cent down.


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Brookfield brings forward Rivello, Hamilton construction start after quick 80% apartment sales success


Brookfield Residential Properties’ managing director Lee Butterworth said the building program had been brought forward by six months

Construction of Brookfield Residential Properties’ Rivello apartment tower in Hamilton on the Brisbane River will start in October.

The commencement is six months earlier than scheduled after $118m in sales were secured within weeks of the development’s August launch.

More than 80 per cent of the 150 one, two and three-bedroom apartments, sub-penthouses and penthouses in Rivello have been sold off-the-plan.


Rivello 15 Wharf Street, Hamilton QLD 4007 

The sales include two penthouses at $5.5 million each at the 15 Wharf Street, Hamilton project.

Urban reported on its launch that it had been the higher end apartments in the $147 million, 21-level building designed by Cottee Parker Architects which had been among the first to sell.

Brookfield Residential Properties’ managing director Lee Butterworth told the Courier Mail it was “a significant achievement to reach this sales milestone so quickly.”

“It is a credit to the lifestyle-centred design and desirable Brisbane River position, together with the exceptional demand in the market.”

Two bedroom apartments were priced from $605,000.

Completion is now scheduled in late 2023 with Brookfield noting the availability of building supplies had been factored into the development program by the Tomkins Commercial and Industrial Builders.

Rivello is the ninth building to be developed at Portside by Brookfield.

The new building will be developed on a 2,829 sqm site, neighbouring Brookfield Residential Properties’ most recent residential projects – Gallery House One and Two.


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Gold Coast

Construction begins at The Monaco, Main Beach apartment tower, as penthouse sells for $9.5 million


Andrew Erwin, of NPA Projects, who is marketing The Monaco, said buyers are responding to the enhanced level of amenity on offer.

A locked-down Sydney buyer has snapped up the penthouse in the Gold Coast’s own apartment principality – The Monaco – for $9.5 million, as developer Ignite Projects pushes forward with construction next week ahead of an imminent sell out.

The Monaco, which has been two years in the making, is being developed by Ignite Projects and built by McNab Builders, opposite the Southport Yacht Club at the doorway to the much-loved Spit.

The Sydney-based buyer of the expansive two-level 630 sqm penthouse was impressed by the design and unrivalled location, and plans to use it for his ‘forever home’.

The penthouse sale caps off a buying rush with all but one of the 24 residences in the $110 million building sold with an average sale price of $4.6 million.


The Monaco Main Beach 2-4 MacArthur Parade, Main Beach QLD 4217 

Ignite Projects managing director Josh Foote said buyers in the opulent development will have the veritable keys to the kingdom when construction is completed in 2023.

“The Monaco in many ways represents the renaissance of Main Beach, with the building replacing an aging unit block and a well-known house, referred to locally as the ‘container home’,” Mr Foote said.

“The building is setting a new standard for the suburb, which is getting a well-deserved facelift thanks to the $205 million revitalisation of the Spit to turn it into the Gold Coast’s version of Hyde Park and a 300-berth marina at The Southport Yacht Club.”

Mr Foote said buyers have been attracted to the attention to detail and customisation options available in the residences.

“Buyers can customise their apartment, including their entire kitchen and have access to first-class facilities including a 24-metre heated pool alongside a private dining area and virtual golf simulator,” he said.

“I liken each apartment to an art gallery because of the thought that has gone into every aspect from the Greek marble and Spanish handmade wall tiles in the ensuite through to the designer cocktail bar and fluted columns throughout. It is all about luxury and refined living.”

Andrew Erwin, of NPA Projects, who is marketing The Monaco, said buyers are responding to the enhanced level of amenity on offer.

“Each apartment in The Monaco has the feel of a penthouse with unrivalled luxury,” Mr Erwin said.

“The apartments in The Monaco have sold really well and to be almost sold out before construction even starts is an amazing achievement.”

“Buyers have come from interstate and locally within Main Beach, which is the home of luxury apartment living on the Gold Coast.

“The median apartment sale price in Main Beach in May was $795,000 – more than $300,000 above the Gold Coast median of $458,000.”

The Monaco contains a collection of 25 full-floor and half-floor residences at 2-4 MacArthur Parade, Main Beach.

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