FOLLOWING an upwardly revised increase of 11.7 per cent in June, the total number of new dwellings approved in July decreased by 1.7 per cent, in seasonally adjusted terms, according to the latest figures released last week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
A total of 18,299 dwellings were approved in July, compared to seasonally adjusted totals of 18,619 in June and 16,676 in May. When compared to the same month in 2016, the number of dwellings approved in July 2017 was down by 13.9 per cent, in seasonally adjusted terms.
In seasonally adjusted terms, dwelling approvals for the month of July increased in New South Wales (up 1.5 per cent to 6,266 dwellings) and South Australia (0.3 per cent to 1,000).
Dwelling approvals decreased in Victoria (down 0.3 per cent to 5,406 dwellings), Queensland (down 2.6 per cent to 3,388), Western Australia (down 11.2 per cent to 1,582) and Tasmania (down 11.4 per cent to 176).
In seasonally adjusted terms, 9,743 private sector houses were approved in July, which was generally the same as the previous month. A total of 8,080 private sector dwellings excluding houses were approved in July, which was a 6.7 per cent decrease when compared to June's result of 8,657.
The seasonally adjusted estimate of the value of total building approved fell 0.4 per cent in July after rising for three months. The value of residential building fell 2.2 per cent following a rise of 5.1 per cent in the previous month. The value of non-residential building rose 2.4 per cent and has risen for four months.
HIA's Principal Economist, Tim Reardon, said the ABS figures confirm that the detached house building sector has plateaued at a high level while the building of multi-unit projects is sliding.
"Multi-unit sector approvals fell by 3.3 per cent to be 27.5 per cent lower than twelve months ago while detached house building approvals remained constant over the year," Mr Reardon said.
"Compared with a year ago multi-unit approvals in July were down by 20 per cent or more in all the eastern states while movements in detached home approvals included a 9.6 per cent increase in South Australia to a fall of 8.7 per cent in Western Australia.
"The significant variation in industry conditions between the multi-unit sector and detached homes and around the states is likely to continue for some time consistent with HIA's latest forecasts", Mr Reardon concluded.