New building approvals hit six-month high: HIA

The Australian Housing Industry Association has welcomed new figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, showing that new home approvals have reached a six-month record.

The data indicated that in seasonally-adjusted terms, overall new dwelling approvals had grown 8.3 per cent during February.

Over the past 12 months, new dwelling approvals totalled 229,091 across Australia, which HIA senior economist Shane Garrett said “will ensure that a substantial pipeline of work will keep the housing industry busy for much of 2017.”

More specifically, the period saw a 5.7 per cent rise in detached house approvals, while multi-unit approvals increased by about 11 per cent during the reporting period.

However, Mr Garrett noted that while new dwelling approvals bounced sharply during February, he forecast that new home construction would revert to lower levels over the next few years.

Indeed, he expected the multi-unit portion of the market to see the greater share of the reduction in new home building activity. “Already, approvals are down by over 20 per cent in quarterly terms since August of last year,” Mr Garrett added.

Other key findings included that during February, total seasonally-adjusted new home building approvals grew in Queensland and NSW only; 33.7 per cent and 19.6 per cent respectively.

Tasmania saw the largest drop with 14.7 per cent, followed by Victoria, which posted an 8.8 per cent reduction. Approvals also declined in South Australia (-2.5 per cent) and Western Australia (-5.5 per cent).

In trend terms, HIA said approvals had contracted by 13 per cent in the Northern Territory, while the ACT posted a 15.7 per cent decline.

[Related: Dwelling approvals exceed market expectations]

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Annie Kane

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