AFTER recording an upwardly revised increase of 2.9 per cent in March, the number of new dwellings approved in April decreased by 4.4 per cent, in seasonally adjusted terms, according to the latest figures released last week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
A total of 18,715 dwellings were approved in April, compared to seasonally adjusted totals of 19,584 in March and 19,034 in February. When compared to the same month last year, the number of dwellings approved in April 2015 was up by 16.3 per cent, in seasonally adjusted terms.
In seasonally adjusted terms, dwelling approvals increased for the month of April only in Tasmania (up 29.8 per cent to a total of 400 dwellings), with decreases in all other states.
Dwelling approvals decreased in Victoria (down 2.2 per cent to a total of 5,841 dwellings), Western Australia (3.0 per cent to 2,583), South Australia (10.3 per cent to 849), Queensland (14.2 per cent to 3,279) and New South Wales (14.6 per cent to 4,762), in seasonally adjusted terms.
In seasonally adjusted terms, 10,130 private sector houses were approved in April, compared to 9,676 in March. A total of 8,271 private sector dwellings excluding houses were approved in April, which was a 15.0 per cent decrease when compared to March's result of 9,725.
The seasonally adjusted estimate of the value of total building approved fell 4.1 per cent in April following a rise of 4.8 per cent in the previous month. The value of residential building fell 3.5 per cent following a rise of 4.7 per cent in the previous month. The value of non-residential building fell 5.4 per cent following a rise of 4.9 per cent.
Shane Garrett, Senior Economist for the Housing Industry Association (HIA), said the detached housing approvals in April represented the highest monthly total for detached house approvals since February 2010.
"However, a weaker month for the multi-unit segment of the market actually drove total new dwelling approvals lower during April," Mr Garrett added.
"Strengthening activity in detached house building is crucial to broadening the base of the new home building recovery which has been largely contained to the multi-unit market to date.
"It is important that policy settings allow the expansion in detached house building to deliver on its full economic potential."