Australia

Dwelling approvals decrease by 6.9 per cent in August

FOLLOWING a revised increase of 7.9 per cent in July, the number of new dwellings approved in August decreased by 6.9 per cent, in seasonally adjusted terms, according to the latest figures released last week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

A total of 18,701 dwellings were approved in August, compared to seasonally adjusted totals of 20,085 in July and 18,620 in June. When compared to the same month last year, the number of dwellings approved in August 2015 was up by 5.1 per cent, in seasonally adjusted terms.

New House
Above: New House / by Alexander Kesselaar.

In seasonally adjusted terms, dwelling approvals for the month of August increased in South Australia (up 27.9 per cent to 990 dwellings), Tasmania (up 17.6 per cent to 217), Western Australia (up 6.9 per cent to 2,470) and Queensland (up 4.5 per cent to 3,626).

Dwelling approvals decreased in Victoria (down 0.7 per cent to 5,266 dwellings) and New South Wales (down 28.5 per cent to 5,428), in seasonally adjusted terms.

In seasonally adjusted terms, 9,765 private sector houses were approved in August, compared to 9,312 in July. A total of 8,760 private sector dwellings excluding houses were approved in August, which was an 11.4 per cent decrease when compared to July's result of 9,886.

The seasonally adjusted estimate of the value of total building approved fell 5.6 per cent in August following a rise of 9.2 per cent in the previous month. The value of residential building fell 3.5 per cent following a rise of 8.1 per cent in the previous month. The value of non-residential building fell 10.1 per cent following a rise of 11.7 per cent in the previous month.

Chief Economist of Master Builders Australia, Peter Jones, said "the roller coaster ride for high rise apartments units continued but there was an encouraging lift in detached house approvals according the latest figures for August 2015."

"Approvals for major unit developments, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne continue to dominate approvals data, but increasing volatility may signal the approaching peak of the cycle for high rise apartments," Mr Jones said.

"Whilst residential builders are enjoying a long-awaited cyclical upturn, structural issues remain.

"Supply side bottlenecks and inefficiencies in making available an adequate supply of serviced land must be addressed if Australia's housing affordability problem is to be solved particularly for first home buyers

"Master Builders has long called for the implementation of a national affordability agenda across federal, state and local government and welcomes the recent call by Treasurer Scott Morrison for national leadership of this process," Mr Jones concluded.

More information is available from the Australian Bureau of Statistics website at <http://www.abs.gov.au/>.

Photo: 'New House Lock Up HDR' / Alexander Kesselaar / Licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 2.0.

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