The number of dwellings approved in Australia has fallen by 0.6 per cent in April, according new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
Approvals fell in Victoria (2.8 per cent), Tasmania (2.2 per cent), the Northern Territory (2.0 per cent) and New South Wales (0.4 per cent), according to the data.
However, the ABS saw increases in the Australian Capital Territory (7.7 per cent), South Australia (1.8 per cent) and Western Australia (1.3 per cent), while Queensland was flat.
“The overall decrease was led by private sector houses, which declined 1.9 per cent in trend terms,” ABS Director of Construction Statistics Justin Lokhorst said.
Approvals for private sector houses fell 1.9 per cent in trend terms, largely driven by falls in the eastern states. The value of total buildings approved also fell 0.2 per cent in April, with residential buildings declining by 0.9 per cent as non-residential buildings rose by one per cent.
- How will the first home buyers scheme impact builders?
- Victorian construction sector grows by $490M
- Value of construction work falls across Australia
Housing Industry Association Chief Economist Tim Reardon said home building has been cooling since late 2017 and the downturn in activity has accelerated.
“With the slowdown in home building accelerating in the first half of 2019, it is likely to weigh on economic growth in next week’s national accounts data,” he said.
“The fall in approvals in April were most likely influenced by low levels of consumer confidence during the Federal Election however, the end of the election alone will not be sufficient to bring stability back into the housing market.
“An easing of the credit squeeze is necessary to alleviate the adverse impact of the housing downturn on the wider economy.”