The latest building approval data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows that the value of capital city home renovations has declined over the September quarter.

“Residential renovations to the value of $1.42 billion were reported over the quarter, which was a fall of 4.3 percent compared to that recorded over the previous June quarter,” said Dr. Andrew Wilson, senior economist for the Domain Group.

In contrast, the value of home renovations over the first nine months of 2016 has increased by 1.1%—a rise of $46.1 million compared to the same period last year.

Melbourne continues to lead among the capitals, recording $501.2 million in renovation activity over the September quarter for a national capital city market share of 35.4%. So far this year, the value of home renovations in Melbourne has increased by 5.4% compared to the same period in 2015.

Sydney has also recorded an increase in home renovations over the past year—up by 3.2% to $1.4 billion over the first nine months of 2016 for an overall market share of 33.3%.

Although national renovation activity declined over the September quarter, home improvement continues to add a significant boost to capital city housing markets. Inner city locations are clearly favoured for renovation, reflecting rising property values, strong connections to local neighbourhoods, the higher costs of relocating, as well as the increasing prevalence of DIY home renovating.

“Home renovations provide significant benefits to local economies and act as positive force for urban renewal and the conservation of infrastructure resources,” Wilson said. “Lower interest rates also stimulate home renovations providing reduced borrowing costs and enabling home-owners to access property equity.”