2 April 2019

In seasonally-adjusted terms, the total volume of new home approvals increased by 19.1% in February, the second consecutive month of increase. The 17,074 approvals recorded during the month was the highest volume since last September.

"February’s expansion was driven by the apartment/unit side of the market – here, a 62.4% increase during the month took approvals for the high-density side of the market to its highest since July of last year," Shane Garrett, Chief Economist of Master Builders Australia said. 

"In contrast, detached house approvals eased by 3.7% during February," he said. 

"Month to month variations in building approvals can be volatile and it is often more useful to take a longer timeframe to try and appreciate the bigger picture. On this score, the trend in building approvals is still a downward one: over the year to June 2018, building approvals had peaked at 232,713 but were down to 204,469 over the year to February 2019 (-12.1%)," Shane Garrett said. 

"The reduction in approvals for apartments/units has been much deeper compared with detached houses, a section of the market where approvals have held up reasonably well," he said. 

"During February, Victoria saw the largest improvement in total dwelling approvals (+37.3%), followed by NSW (+25.2%), SA (+6.8%) and Queensland (+3.4%)," Shane Garrett said. 

"The largest reduction in new dwelling approvals affected Tasmania (-13.6%0, followed by WA (-10.9%), the NT (-6.5%) and the ACT (-6.3%)," Shane Garrett said. 

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