FOLLOWING an increase of 8.6 per cent in December, the total number of new dwellings approved in January decreased by 7.5 per cent, in seasonally adjusted terms, according to the latest figures released last week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
A total of 17,446 dwellings were approved in January, compared to seasonally adjusted totals of 18,854 in December and 17,354 in November. When compared to the same month last year, the number of dwellings approved in January 2016 was down by 15.5 per cent, in seasonally adjusted terms.
In seasonally adjusted terms, dwelling approvals for the month of January increased in South Australia (up 14.2 per cent to 1,021 dwellings), Western Australia (up 7.2 per cent to 2,126) and Victoria (up 2.9 per cent to 6,098).
Dwelling approvals decreased in Tasmania (down 11.1 per cent to 137 dwellings), Queensland (down 13.3 per cent to 2,770) and New South Wales (down 22.9 per cent to 4,260), in seasonally adjusted terms.
In seasonally adjusted terms, 9,319 private sector houses were approved in January, compared to 9,919 in December (a decrease of 7.5 per cent). A total of 7,829 private sector dwellings excluding houses were approved in January, which was a 10.8 per cent decrease when compared to December’s result of 8,774.
The seasonally adjusted estimate of the value of total building approved fell 10.7 per cent in January following a rise of 0.4 per cent in the previous month. The value of residential building fell 11.4 per cent following a rise of 3.8 per cent in the previous month. The value of non-residential building fell 9.2 per cent and has fallen for two months.
HIA Senior Economist, Shane Garrett, said the residential building industry was hit by a number of unfavourable developments towards the end of 2015, which he said has made it more difficult to deliver new housing supply.
“The major banks increased their mortgage interest rates, credit conditions were tightened for domestic investors and the $5,000 foreign investor fee came into force,” he said.
Mr Garrett said the HIA’s recent Housing Australia’s Future report warned of the major challenges in meeting Australia’s housing needs over the coming decades.
“It is therefore vital that policy settings and credit conditions become more focused on the consistent delivery of the required volume of new housing supply over the long term,” Mr Garrett concluded.