A record $15 billion was spent on all types of construction and it appears now that unit developments are starting to take off.
Unit approvals were up 59.4 per cent for the month while house approvals were up a modest 1.2 per cent. ANZ said house approvals were the standout in annual growth terms, at 62.2 per cent.
Unit approvals were driven by strong results in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.
According to ANZ, there was “very strong growth in housing approvals” which reflected the impacts of very low interest rates and optimism about the economy and housing market.
“Extremely strong growth in lending for the construction of new dwellings (+124 per cent year-on-year) is a good sign for building approvals in the coming months, as is the bounce in investor lending growth (+54.6 per cent year-on-year) for housing.
ABS director of construction statistics Daniel Rossi said the total number of dwellings approved in March was the second highest recorded, only exceeded by the November 2017 result.
Private sector dwellings excluding houses drove the increase, rising 63.6 per cent.
“The number of private sector house approvals also remained at elevated levels due to HomeBuilder, edging up 0.1 per cent to a new record high in March.”
Total dwelling approvals rose in New South Wales (26.9 per cent), Victoria (24.7 per cent), Queensland (12.1 per cent) and South Australia (3.5 per cent), in seasonally adjusted terms. Total dwelling approvals in Western Australia and Tasmania fell (-6.4 per cent and -4.8 per cent respectively).
Approvals for private sector houses rose in Victoria (7.8 per cent) and South Australia (3.6 per cent), in seasonally adjusted terms. Falls were recorded in New South Wales (-10.5 per cent), Queensland (-4.0 per cent) and Western Australia (-0.1 per cent).
The value of total building approved increased 36.3 per cent to reach a record high, in seasonally adjusted terms. The value of total residential building rose 22.9 per cent, driven by a 25.4 per cent rise in new residential building. Residential alterations and additions rose 7.3 per cent, reaching an all-time high.
The value of non-residential building reached an all-time high (up 59.4 per cent), driven by a large rise in both private and public projects in March.
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