Latest ABS figures on new home building approvals indicate detached home activity across the Hunter and Central Coast performed strongly in 2020, despite the impact of the global pandemic and a recession, according to the Housing Industry Association (HIA).
In 2020, detached dwelling approvals increased 21% in the Hunter and 15% on the Central Coast compared to the 2019 calendar year.
“Accounting for 72.1% of all approvals in the Hunter and 64.7% on the Central Coast, detached homes increasingly remain the preference for home buyers locally,” HIA Hunter executive director Craig Jennion said.
“Over the same period multi-unit approvals decreased by 45% in the Hunter and 28% on the Central Coast compared to the year earlier.
“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 Hunter region during 2020, a decrease of 8% from the previous year.
“The Hunter approvals dropped by 9% while on the Central Coast the fall was 5%.
“Despite the slight deterioration in new home approvals in 2020, it was a solid result considering the head winds the industry faced.”
Mr Jennion said much of the heavy lifting for the residential sector continued to occur in the Lower Hunter.
“The LGAs (local government areas) of Lake Macquarie, Maitland and Newcastle continue to be the top three locations for approvals, accounting for 58.9% cent of the total amount,” he explained.
“Cessnock LGA took out the title of ‘biggest mover’ with total housing approvals increasing by 28%.
“Detached dwelling increased 32% while multi-unit approvals rose 134%.
“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.”