There was a welcome 5.6% increase in building approvals in November last year according to ABS data released yesterday (see chart above), largely due to approvals of new apartments and townhouses. Of course, the volatility of approvals from month-to-month means that this gain could be wiped out in the December data, and also approvals still remain below pre-financial crisis highs.
Finally, yesterday’s data confirm there is something pretty extraordinary going on in Victoria, which Queensland policy advisers should investigate. In part, the surge in Victorian building approvals at the end of 2014 may be due to the introduction of changes to residential zones in Victoria, which were designed to give greater protection to heritage and character housing. It’s possible there was a surge in development applications earlier in the year, before the reforms were introduced, and these applications have just been approved. So we’ll have to wait and see if there’s a correction in Victoria in coming months. In any case, Victoria deserves close attention from Queensland policy advisers because, as I’ve noted before, one of the reasons interstate migration and population growth have fallen in Queensland is because we are no longer attracting people (in net terms) from Victoria. Victoria has obviously done something right to improve the livability of the State and the economic opportunities available.
See my previous post: