Dwelling approvals fall 2.4 per cent in January 2013

DWELLING approvals have fallen for the second consecutive month, with new figures showing the number of dwellings approved in January 2013 fell by a seasonally adjusted 2.4 per cent, following a revised fall of 1.7 per cent in December 2012, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Dwelling approvals decreased in January in Queensland (-5.8 per cent), South Australia (-3.2 per cent), Victoria (-2.6 per cent) and New South Wales (-1.3 per cent) but increased in Tasmania (13.9 per cent) and Western Australia (3.1 per cent), in seasonally adjusted terms.

In seasonally adjusted terms, approvals for private sector houses rose 3.2 per cent in January, with Western Australia (7.4 per cent), Queensland (4.2 per cent) and Victoria (3.6 per cent) all experiencing gains. Private sector house approvals fell in South Australia (-8.4 per cent) and New South Wales (-0.9 per cent).

The value of total building approved rose 6.6 per cent in January, in seasonally adjusted terms, after falling for three months. The value of residential building fell 1.7 per cent while non-residential building rose 20.9 per cent.

The Housing Industry Association (HIA) said the first ABS building approvals update for 2013 indicates that new home building activity will this year fall short of both RBA expectations and the Australian economy's requirements.

"The headline January decline of 2.4 per cent would have been weaker if there hadn't been a 3.3 per cent rise in detached house approvals, a component that continues to miss the mark overall. Even with that monthly rise, approvals for detached houses were still down by 1.0 per cent over the three months to January," said HIA Chief Economist Harley Dale.

Mr Dale said that in addition to interest rate reductions, Federal and state governments also have to provide policy solutions to the "lack-lustre new home building outlook."

The ABS said the January 2013 release included revisions resulting from a major audit of building approvals data.

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