8752.0 - Building Activity, Australia, Jun 2018 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 10/10/2018   
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AVERAGE DWELLING COMPLETION TIMES

INTRODUCTION

This article examines the average completion times (in quarters) for new houses, townhouses and flats, units or apartments from 2007-08 to 2017-18.

Completion times are measured as the period (in quarters) between the commencement and completion of construction for a project creating new dwellings. National data is presented to show changes in the average completion times of new houses, townhouses and flats, units or apartments. Regional data is presented in five year periods to allow for broader comparisons between the states and territories.

Average times from approval to commencement of construction are presented in Average Dwelling Commencement Times.

Data are presented for the following types of dwellings:

    • 'Houses' - defined as detached buildings used for long term residential purposes, consisting of only one dwelling unit and are not a result of alterations or additions to a pre-existing building.
    • 'Townhouses' - defined as semi-detached row or terrace houses attached in some structural way to one or more dwellings, with their own private grounds and no separate dwelling above or below.
    • 'Flats, units or apartments' - defined as blocks of dwellings that don't have their own private grounds and usually share a common entrance, foyer or stairwell.
For further information refer to Functional Classification of Buildings, 1999 (Revision 2011) (cat. no. 1268.0.55.001).

The data presented are from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) quarterly publication Building Activity, Australia (cat. no. 8752.0). Data presented in this article are available in the 'Building Activity: Average dwelling completion times' data cube on the downloads tab.

Houses or townhouses that took more than three years to complete and apartments that took more than five years to complete were excluded. Houses constructed in groups of more than 10 and townhouses constructed in groups of more than 25 were also excluded. As a result, 1.9% of houses, 20.2% of townhouses and 0.1% of apartments were excluded from this analysis.


RESULTS

Australian average completion times

Graph 1 illustrates the Australian average completion times, in quarters, for houses and townhouses from the 2007-08 financial year to the 2017-18 financial year.

The main difference between the two types of residential dwellings is that houses have a lower average completion time than townhouses. In 2017-18, the average completion time of houses was 2.23 quarters (29 weeks) and the average completion time of townhouses was 3.09 quarters (40 weeks and two days). Townhouses are constructed in groups of more than one dwelling at a time, whereas new houses are more commonly constructed as single dwellings, which affects how long they take to complete.

Average completion times for houses remained fairly steady over the period, varying between 2.16 quarters (28 weeks and one day) and 2.48 quarters (32 weeks and two days) to complete. Average completion times for townhouses were slightly more volatile over the same period, varying between 2.89 quarters (37 weeks and five days) and 3.24 quarters (42 weeks and two days).


Graph 1: Average completion times of new houses and new townhouses, Australia
Graph 1: Average completion times of new houses and new townhouses, Australia

Graph 2 illustrates Australian average completion times, in quarters, for new flats, units or apartments from the 2007-08 financial year to the 2017-18 financial year..

Completion times for flats, units or apartments are substantially higher than houses and townhouses, given the number of dwellings constructed per project is usually much higher and also includes the construction of common areas (i.e. entrances and stairwells).

Average completion times for flats, units or apartments have increased, particularly over the past two years, from 5.84 quarters (76 weeks and one day) in 2015-16 to 6.48 quarters (84 weeks and three days) in 2017-18. This is in line with an increase in the number of apartments approved, particularly from late 2014 onwards (see Building Approvals, Australia (cat. no. 8731.0)).


Graph 2: Average completion times of new flats, units or apartments, Australia

Graph 2: Average completion times of new flats, units or apartments, Australia

Average completion times of new houses, state and territories

Graph 3 illustrates the five year average completion times for houses over a 10 year period for the states and territories.

Average completion times for houses declined in all states in the 2013-2018 period compared to the 2008-2013 period, with the exception of the Australian Capital Territory. Tasmania recorded the largest decrease of 0.21 of a quarter (two weeks and five days), while the Australian Capital Territory increased 0.35 of a quarter (four weeks and four days).


Graph 3: Average completion times of new houses, five year averages, states and territories
Graph 3: Average completion times of new houses, five year averages, states and territories

Average completion times of new townhouses, state and territories

Graph 4 illustrates the five year average completion times for townhouses over a 10 year period for the states and territories.

Average completion times for townhouses declined in all states in the 2013-2018 period compared to the 2008-2013 period, with the exception of the Australian Capital Territory. The Northern Territory recorded the biggest decrease of 0.61 of a quarter (seven weeks and seven days), while the Australian Capital Territory recorded an increase of 0.30 of a quarter (three weeks and six days).


Graph 4: Average completion times of new townhouses, five year averages, states and territories
Graph 4: Average completion times of new townhouses, five year averages, states and territories

Average completion times of new flats, units or apartments, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland

Graph 5 illustrates the average completion times for flats, units or apartments for New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland from the 2007-08 financial year to the 2017-18 financial year. These states account for the large majority of flats, units or apartments under construction.

The average completion time of apartments in New South Wales and Victoria tend to be quite similar and have both increased slightly over the period; from 5.64 quarters (73 weeks and four days) to 6.70 quarters (87 weeks and two days) in New South Wales and from 6.14 quarters (80 weeks) to 6.63 quarters (86 weeks and three days) in Victoria. Queensland tends to have a lower average completion time for apartments, although this has increased over the past three years to 6.17 quarters (80 weeks and three days) in 2017-18, comparable with the New South Wales and Victoria averages.


Graph 5: Average completion times of new flats, units or apartments, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland
Graph 5: Average completion times of new flats, units or apartments, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland