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Media Release by The Hon Tanya Pibersek MP

ABS builiding approvals figures show some encouraging signs

Today’s Australian Bureau of Statistics building approvals figures show the first monthly rise in dwelling approvals since June 2008.

The ABS figures show there has been a 7.8 per cent increase in the total number of dwelling units approved in February, compared to the previous month, driven by an increase in the number of approved units and apartments.

“While times may still be tough, it is pleasing to see the first monthly rise in dwelling approvals for quite some time,” , Tanya Plibersek said.

“These figures show that the Rudd Government’s First Home Owners Boost, combined with low interest rates, is having a positive effect on the housing market.

“A strong housing market is critical for underpinning confidence and supporting jobs in the Australian economy.”

The $1.5 billion First Home Owners Boost is part of the Rudd Government’s $10.4 billion Economic Security Strategy announced on October 14 last year to strengthen the Australian economy during the global financial crisis.

Under the scheme:

  • First home buyers who purchase established homes will have their grant doubled from $7,000 to $14,000; and
  • First home buyers who purchase a newly constructed home will receive an extra $14,000 to take their grant to $21,000.

By the end of February, more than 42,000 Australians had taken up the First Home Owners Boost.

“Housing and construction is a major employer in the Australian economy,” Ms Plibersek said.

“That’s why housing has featured so strongly in the Rudd Government’s Nation Building Economic Stimulus Plan – firstly through the First Home Owners Boost and then by building 20,000 social housing dwellings.

“As these increased dwelling approvals translate to additional building it will support jobs in the housing and construction industry.

“This is good news for builders and tradies, right across Australia.”