Detached dwelling approvals increased by 15 percent in 2020

Latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on hew home building approvals indicate that home activity across the Central Coast and Hunter regions performed strongly in 2020, despite the impact of the global pandemic and a recession.

Housing Industry Association (HIA) Central Coast/Hunter Executive Director, Craig Jennion, said that in 2020, detached dwelling approvals increased 15 percent on the Central Coast and 21 percent in the Hunter, compared to the 2019 calendar year.

He said that detached homes increasingly remained the preference for home buyers locally, accounting for 64.7 percent on the Central Coast and 72.1 percent of all approvals in the Hunter.

“Over the same period multi-unit approvals decreased by 28 percent on the Coast and by 45 percent in the Hunter compared to the year earlier,” Jennion said.

“As has occurred elsewhere in the country, there appears to be structural changes in the demand for multi-unit housing as a result of a change in consumer preferences.

“In total 5,896 approvals were issued for new dwellings across the HIA Central Coast/Hunter region during 2020, a decrease of eight percent from the previous year.”

Central Coast approvals decreased by five percent while in the Hunter the fall was nine percent.

“Despite the slight deterioration in new home approvals in 2020, it was a solid result considering the head winds that the industry faced,” Jennion said.

“Much of the heavy lifting for the residential sector continues to occur in the Lower Hunter, with the local government areas of Lake Macquarie, Maitland and Newcastle continuing to be the top three locations for approvals, accounting for 58.9 percent of total approvals.

“Cessnock local government area took out the title of ‘biggest mover’ with total housing approvals increasing by 28 percent, with detached dwelling increasing 32 percent and multi-unit approvals increased by 134 percent.

“Looking ahead, we are forecasting residential building activity to remain solid on the back of the HomeBuilder stimulus, low interest rates, rising house prices and a demographic shift in demand towards detached housing and regional areas.

“Together this should ensure ongoing demand for new homes, albeit at a level below that observed in recent years,” Jennion said.

Media release, Feb 17
Housing Industry Association