Oz building approvals rise second month in a row


Building approvals in Australia rose for the second month in a row, according to the latest figures. The increase in September 2012 was heralded by the Housing Industry Association as an "encouraging start" for the Australian property market. Approvals were up by 7.8 per cent in seasonally adjusted term, taking the total number to 13,388 – the third highest monthly figure in over a year.

In September 2012 total seasonally adjusted building approvals increased by 22.8 per cent in New South Wales, 5.2 per cent in Victoria, and 2.6 per cent in Queensland.

Building approvals fell by 1.4 per cent in South Australia, 2.4 per cent in Western Australia, and 9.6 per cent in Tasmania. In trend terms building approvals in September fell in both the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory by 5.7 per cent and 21.1 per cent, respectively.

HIA Economist Geordan Murray commented: "It is pleasing to see approvals moving in the right direction, but the improvements are occurring from a historically low starting point. The volume of approvals in the last three months implies a rate of around 140,000 new home completions per annum, which is a low level relative to the housing requirements of Australia's population.

"We have to start somewhere and if an upward trend in building approvals can be sustained through the remainder of 2012 then we have made that start. We do, however, need to see greater traction in the detached house market and a broader geographical recovery."

Murray concluded: "Geographically, the improvements in September were narrowly based – only the east coast states posted improved approval numbers," said Geordan Murray. "New South Wales was the stand out performer where it seems the state government's combination of stamp duty concessions and grants may be having an effect. From a relatively low base in August, total approvals in NSW were up by 22.8 per cent in September. Underpinning this result was a 48.0 per cent increase in the multi-unit segment, meanwhile approvals for detached dwellings improved by a modest 1.4 per cent."