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Building approvals up

WA BUILDING approvals were up 33 per cent or by $100 million in November compared to November 1998 despite an increase in house prices, according to new Australian Bureau of Statistics figures.

The north metropolitan area, incorporating Stirling, Wanneroo and Joondalup, experienced a jump of more than 230 per cent in approvals granted compared with October.

The value of approvals in the northern region increased from $39 to $91 million during the month of November and the value of WA approvals increased 1.4 per cent on October 1999 figures.

This was despite project house prices growing at a 5 per cent annual pace – the strongest rate in nearly ten years.

Westpac economist Warren Hogan said the increase in house prices reflected strong demand and rising labour costs.

“The softness seen in building materials prices in mid-1999 has been reversed and, consequently, so has the constraining influence building materials prices were exerting on the increase in project house prices,” Mr Hogan said.

“The (0.8 per cent) rise in building materials prices in the December quarter will provide further upward pressure on house prices.

“With commodity prices on an overall upward trend and housing demand very strong, we expect to see further upward pressure on building materials prices in the March quarter 2000.”

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