The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has just released the Building Approvals data for the month of April. At the national level, the number of dwelling approvals fell by a seasonally adjusted -8.7%% to 10,330, driven predominantly by a -11.1% decrease in approvals for private sector houses. The result significantly undershot consensus epectations, which had forecast 0.3% rise.
In the year to April 2012, dwelling approvals fell by 24.1%. The key figures are provided in the below table:
A chart showing the time series of seasonally-adjusted dwelling approvals at the national level is provided below, split-out by detached houses and units & apartments:
As you can see, dwelling approvals nationally for both houses and units & apartments have been trending down since early 2010 and are nearing the lows of early 2009, when the building industry was in a global financial crisis induced funk and the first home buyers’ bonus had yet to take effect.
At the state level, Western Australia (-47%) and New South Wales drove the decline in dwelling approvals (-15%), with South Australia (-28%) and Queensland (-3%) also recording falls. By contrast, Victoria (+2%) recorded a small rise over the month.
The below chart shows the time-series of approvals at the state level. Due to the high volatility of the series, this is presented on a 3-month moving average (3MMA) basis:
As you can see, the trend in dwelling approvals is down everywhere, notwithstanding this month’s small rise in Victoria, where approvals remain elevated.