How to understand the change in home approvals

David Berthon-Jones

Aequitas Investment Partners

The building approvals data is a monthly release issued by the Australian Bureau of Statistics detailing the change in building permits (approvals) issued, and is widely viewed as a key indicator of housing demand.

The very large spike in activity over the past year has been associated with the start and subsequent finish of the HomeBuilder package, a key stimulus measure designed to support the housing market in response to COVID-19. 

Post the expiry of this program, the data has begun to normalise, which you seen in the graph above (the number of permits issued) and below (the value approved).

From a stock picking perspective, the key is to ensure you avoid paying peak multiples, which are likely capitalising peak margins, on the underlying sectors whose earnings are being driven by a strength in housing demand that is unsustainable. 

For example, this means being alert to overpaying for building materials companies, or the banks that extend the credit that underpins/follows the approvals process, on the basis of extrapolating demand, or simply assuming that it continues at broadly similar levels, when it is likely to continue to normalise. 

To our mind, there are plenty of stocks within those sectors trading at what we would regard as unsustainably high multiples, in both an absolute and relative sense, suggesting an elevated risk appetite for the earnings generated.

We are running an underweight to the building materials sector, within our direct equity portfolios, and where we do have an exposure, choosing to focus on higher quality names within the space, such as Adbri (ASX: ABC).

Never miss an insight

Enjoy this wire? Hit the ‘like’ button to let us know. Stay up to date with my content by hitting the ‘follow’ button below and you’ll be notified every time I post a wire. Not already a Livewire member? Sign up today to get free access to investment ideas and strategies from Australia’s leading investors.

Important Information: This document has been prepared by Aequitas Investment Partners ABN 92 644 165 266 (“Aequitas”, “our”, “we”), a Corporate Authorised Representative (no. 1284389) of C2 Financial Services, (Australian Financial Services Licensee no. 502171), and is for distribution within Australia to wholesale clients and financial advisers only. This document is based on information available at the time of publishing, information which we believe is correct and any opinions, conclusions or forecasts are reasonably held or made as at the time of its compilation, but no warranty is made as to its accuracy, reliability or completeness. To the extent permitted by law, neither Aequitas nor any of its affiliates accept liability to any person for loss or damage arising from the use of the information herein. Please note that past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. General Advice Warning: This document has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs, and therefore you should consider its appropriateness, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. Before making any decision about whether to acquire a financial product, you should obtain and read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) or Investor Directed Portfolio Service Guide (IDPS Guide) and consider talking to a financial adviser. Taxation warning: Any taxation considerations are general and based on present taxation laws and may be subject to change. Aequitas is not a registered tax (financial) adviser under the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 and investors should seek tax advice from a registered tax agent or a registered tax (financial) adviser if they intend to rely on this information to satisfy the liabilities or obligations or claim entitlements that arise, or could arise, under a taxation law.

David Berthon-Jones
Co-Chief Investment Officer
Aequitas Investment Partners

David is Co-CIO of Aequitas Investment Partners with Dr Rowan Stewart. David and Rowan are responsible for investment strategy and the delivery of reliable, cost-effective multi-asset, and direct equity portfolio solutions to Advisers, Dealer...

I would like to

Only to be used for sending genuine email enquiries to the Contributor. Livewire Markets Pty Ltd reserves its right to take any legal or other appropriate action in relation to misuse of this service.

Personal Information Collection Statement
Your personal information will be passed to the Contributor and/or its authorised service provider to assist the Contributor to contact you about your investment enquiry. They are required not to use your information for any other purpose. Our privacy policy explains how we store personal information and how you may access, correct or complain about the handling of personal information.


Sign In or Join Free to comment