Following are a series of charts drawn from today’s ABS Building Approvals numbers. First up, is the national chart for dwelling approvals, which doesn’t look too bad, though is obviously in a significant declining trend, giving back after last year’s stimulus dragged forward demand:
When we break down by state, however, we get a very mixed picture. In NSW residential construction remains very depressed, hovering around levels seen in the 1980s:
Next up is Victoria, where the picture is reversed. Approvals for both houses and apartments are running well above historic trend. Apartments in particular have boomed, and bounced in the quarter, though the trend is now down:
Queensland remains in a sorry state, as bad as NSW and threatening to break new lows:
WA is chugging along quite nicely:
SA has had a nice run but is heading backwards:
In sum, then I’d say building approvals are a concern. If we take out the Melbourne apartment boom, the national numbers look pretty anaemic.
Then there’s the non-residential building approvals – shops, factories, offices etc – which look ok, running at about 2005 levels, not a bust exactly but not a boom either: