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Soaring crane numbers tell the story of our apartment boom


Soaring crane numbers tell the story of our apartment boom

Have you noticed how many cranes are piercing the skyline? Rider Levett Bucknall’s Crane Index reports there are now 663 cranes across Australia’s capital cities – mostly involved in home building.


An ABC News story has revealed that there are more cranes employed in the construction of residential developments in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane than a large group of major North American cities including New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Toronto and up to Calgary.

“Morgan Stanley recently estimated that the [apartment] oversupply in the sector would be around 100,000 units which could spark a sudden downturn which in turn put around 200,000 jobs at risk.

“Another investment bank, UBS, argues there is still a fair way to run in the boom, having raised its forecast for overall housing commencements to a record 228,000 in 2016 and a still strong 205,000 before easing back in 2018.

“Completions are expected to peak in 2018 at 216,000.

“But within this, completions of (free-standing) houses already peaked last year, while in contrast the multi’s super-cycle is still only about half done, with the number of units completed in 2018 likely to end up well over double the pre-boom trend,” UBS economist George Tharenou noted.”

The full article can be read here.

Roger is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Montgomery Investment Management. Roger brings more than two decades of investment and financial market experience, knowledge and relationships to bear in his role as Chief Investment Officer. Prior to establishing Montgomery, Roger held positions at Ord Minnett Jardine Fleming, BT (Australia) Limited and Merrill Lynch.


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This post was contributed by a representative of Montgomery Investment Management Pty Limited (AFSL No. 354564) and may contain general financial advice that is prepared without taking into account your personal objectives, financial circumstances or needs. Because of this, before acting on any of the information provided, you should always consider its appropriateness in light of your personal objectives, financial circumstances and needs and should consider seeking advice from a financial advisor if necessary.


  1. Dragan Milosevic

    Just want to point out that the text in the above article states there are 663 Cranes however a quick look at the graph and ABC news link state 528 cranes in Australia

  2. Seeing reports that spring sales transactions are down up to 40% in Melbourne and Sydney. If true then the transaction based businesses such as agents would be feeling it. Any sign of REA and the like reporting this hit?

  3. 663 Cranes * 100 Unit average = 66300 Units

    66300 * 4 people average household = 265200

    We’re making enough houses for the 1 percent of Australian population. That’s how much Australia’s population grow each year. Unless I’m missing something here…

    • Ahhhh… the ABS has produced a significantly higher construction figure than that. Cranes move from site to site at different stages of a build so the 100 unit per crane might be an underestimate and many dev don’t need a crane.

  4. Hi Roger,
    I have been following your commentary about apartment over supply, and the links to others, with interest. In my small suburb of Northern Sydney and the surrounding 1-2 there would be approximately 12 cranes all related to apartment construction.

  5. the ship will sink so bad.. that Australia has to sell god knows what to china to recover. like kidman & Co.

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