02/05/2013 - 12:14

Building approvals steady in west, declining elsewhere

02/05/2013 - 12:14

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Western Australian home building approvals rose slightly in March, but it wasn’t enough to stem the largest monthly decline in national approvals since July last year.

Building approvals steady in west, declining elsewhere

Western Australian home building approvals rose slightly in March, but it wasn’t enough to stem the largest monthly decline in national approvals since July last year.

The total number of homes approved in March rose by 0.7 per cent in WA, the 14th consecutive month of increases.

But across Australia, approvals fell by 5.5 per cent over month, according to official figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics today.

Housing Industry Association senior economist Shane Garrett said unit approvals across Australia fell by 7.7 per cent, while approvals for houses were down 4.1 per cent during March.

“When we take a longer view on today’s data, the picture is a little more encouraging,” he said.

“Approvals in March were 3.9 per cent higher than 12 months previously, and for the first quarter of 2013, total approvals rose by 8.8 per cent compared with the same period of 2012.”

Mr Garrett said the sharp decline in March reflected the delicate state of Australia’s housing market.

“A tentative recovery does appear to be underway but it remains delicate,” he said. “Every positive indicator on housing seems to be quickly followed by negative data in relation to other aspects of the market.

“The government must bear this in mind when prescribing policy measures.”

Across the nation, building approvals rose by 13.3 per cent over March in Queensland, declined by 25.3 per cent in South Australia, fell by 10.9 per cent in New South Wales and slipped by 9.1 per cent in Victoria.

The approvals data comes after most Australian capital cities recorded a fall in median home prices and new home sales yesterday. 

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