Building Approvals Crash To 1980’s Levels

Written by:
5 April 2024
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“ABS data confirms yet again the economic and social disaster awaiting Australia, due to out-of-control and record migration intakes and plummeting building approvals, which have crashed to 1980s levels,” said Daniel Wild, Deputy Executive Director of the Institute of Public Affairs.

New data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on building approvals in February 2024 reveals: (charts over page)

  • New dwelling approvals are now at 1980s levels, with just 12,407 new dwellings approved in February 2024, comparable with the 1980s monthly average of 12,736.
    • This is despite Australia’s population having almost doubled since the start of the 1980s.
  • New dwelling approvals have been slashed by almost half since its peak in March 2021, from approximately 23,000 to below 12,500.
  • Total dwelling approvals in February 2024 were the second lowest month for approvals since July 2012 (only January 2023 has been lower).
  • Total dwelling approvals in the 12 months to Feb 24 were 162,751.
    • This is a 12 per cent decline from the previous 12-month period to February 2023 (185,329), and 26 per cent lower than the 12 months to February 2022 (220,629).

“Yesterday’s ABS data is yet another warning to Canberra of the real-world consequences of record levels of migration without a plan on how to house new arrivals. Australians, and new arrivals alike, cannot afford to buy a home and rent prices are unsustainable for family budgets,” said Mr Wild.

“Despite repeated warnings, the federal government continues to push the accelerator on migration at the exact same time as the brakes are being slammed on housing approvals. We are setting ourselves up for a disaster.”

Recently released IPA research revealed that 2023 was the first year in Australia’s history that more than one million migrants entered our nation.

“The current out-of-control migration intake is placing immense pressure on housing and our critical infrastructure. It has also not solved our worker shortage crisis, the very reason the federal government uses to justify this record, unplanned intake,” said Mr Wild.

“It is clear this lazy approach to solving worker shortages has failed and there should be a greater focus of getting Australian pensioners, veterans, and students wo want to work into work.”

IPA research has also found the migration program is growing out of step with community expectations.

“IPA polling shows 60 per cent of Australians want migration paused until more housing and infrastructure is built. Only 23 per cent did not want a pause, and 17 per cent were unsure,” said Mr Wild.

“Australia is the world’s most welcoming and tolerant nation, and migration is critical to our future, but it must be planned for and undertaken in a manner that allows us to affordably house both new arrivals and first home buyers alike.”

To download the IPA’s previous research click here.

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