Monthly Market Report

September 2017
BankWest recently published its 2017 Housing Density Report which reveals long-term trends in Australia’s housing density by examining the nation’s dwelling approvals over time. It looks at trends at a state and capital city level by monitoring the number and proportion of medium density dwelling (units, townhouses and apartments) approvals compared to total dwelling approvals. This is contrasted with dwelling stock measured in the 2011 Census to identify areas of increasing housing density. So where around the country is housing density on the rise?

While the long-term trend towards medium density housing remains strong, the short-term trend reveals the largest national decline in the number of approvals for medium density housing in four years. There were 110,471 medium density approvals nationwide in the 12 months to March 2017, down 6.5% in the 12 months to March 2016. Approvals for stand-alone homes also declined by 2.9% over the same period. This short-term decline has been largely driven by uncertainty in Queensland markets, with many apartments being completed and tighter foreign lending terms leading to developers holding off on new medium density construction.

However, despite this short-term fall, over a five year horizon, the number of medium density approvals increased by a significant 99.7%, up from just 55,332 in the 12 months to March 2012. The 2016 Census reveals it was Victoria which had the largest increase in medium density housing in the five years to June 2016, increasing by 24.6%, demonstrating a strong trend towards apartment-living in the state. Western Australia, on the other hand, had the largest increase in stand-alone houses of 7.4% during the same period, reflecting its love affair with ‘a house and a yard’. (oneagency.com.au/newsletter-96-september-2017 )