FOLLOWING a revised gain of 10.7 per cent in August, the number of dwellings approved fell 13.6 per cent in September 2011, according to new figures released by the Australia Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
Dwelling approvals decreased for the month of September in New South Wales (-32.2 per cent), Victoria (-13.6 per cent), Queensland (-12.7 per cent), Tasmania (-4.8 per cent) and Western Australia (-1.5 per cent), in seasonally adjusted terms.
South Australia bucked the trend, recording a rise of 11.3 per cent in September, following a fall of 8.8 per cent in August in seasonally adjusted terms.
In seasonally adjusted terms, approvals for private sector houses rose 1.1 per cent in September with rises in New South Wales (3.9 per cent) and Victoria (2.1 per cent), while there were falls in Queensland (-1.3 per cent), South Australia (-1.2 per cent) and Western Australia (-0.7 per cent).
The value of total building approved decreased 13.3 per cent in September in seasonally adjusted terms, following an increase of 14.6 per cent in August. The value of residential building fell 9.4 per cent while non-residential building fell 19.9 per cent.
The Master Builders Association of Australia said the sharp fall in building approvals confirms that "the building industry is clearly in the slow lane of the economy."
"The latest building approval figures are in line with the findings of Master Builders' September quarter national survey that revealed just how tough the business environment had become for an industry that has lost the cushioning effect of government stimulus programs," said Peter Jones, the Association's Chief Economist.
He called on the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) to further cut interest rates to reignite activity in the building industry. On Tuesday, the RBA dropped interest rates by 25 basis-points.
The Housing Industry Association (HIA) said the September decline in building approvals was "entirely due to the volatile 'other dwellings' segment of the market."
The HIA said the core detached housing segment of the market saw approvals rise by 0.7 per cent in the month of September, but noted that they are down by 1.8 per cent over the September quarter.