FOLLOWING a revised decrease of 1.2 per cent in July, the total number of new dwellings approved in August increased by 0.4 per cent, in seasonally adjusted terms, according to the latest figures released last week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
A total of 18,514 dwellings were approved in August, compared to seasonally adjusted totals of 18,435 in July and 18,651 in June. When compared to the same month in 2016, the number of dwellings approved in August 2017 was down by 15.5 per cent, in seasonally adjusted terms.
In seasonally adjusted terms, dwelling approvals for the month of August increased in Tasmania (up 27.3 per cent to 226 dwellings), Queensland (13.2 per cent to 3,889) and South Australia (3.8 per cent to 1,052).
Dwelling approvals decreased in Victoria (down 0.5 per cent to 5,386 dwellings), Western Australia (down 7.4 per cent to 1,455) and New South Wales (down 9.6 per cent to 5,731).
In seasonally adjusted terms, 9,797 private sector houses were approved in August, which was a 0.6 per cent decrease compared to July's result of 9,852. A total of 8,496 private sector dwellings excluding houses were approved in August, which was a 4.8 per cent increase when compared to July's result of 8,107.
The seasonally adjusted estimate of the value of total building approved fell 5.0 per cent in August and has fallen for two months. The value of residential building rose 2.2 per cent following a fall of 1.5 per cent in the previous month. The value of non-residential building fell 15.7 per cent following a rise of 1.1 per cent in the previous month.
Matthew Pollock, National Manager Housing at Master Builders Australia, said apartment approvals bolstered a more positive result for August, up by 4.8 per cent in the month, while detached housing approvals fell by 0.6 per cent.
"Approvals are still well down on a year ago and provide an early sign that residential construction may also be about to enter a more moderate period. The value of residential building work fell in the March quarter and we expect a similar result when the June quarter statistics are released next week," Mr Pollock said.
"But with the latest cyclical trough in residential approvals passing us back in May, this latest data also supports an outlook for a more moderate correction to the value of residential construction work over the next year or two. We still expect activity to remain high by historical standards and provide plenty as a source of employment and growth for the economy."