LATEST FIGURES indicate that the number of new detached houses receiving approval fell by 6.8 percent during October to record its lowest result since January of 2013, according to Master Builders chief economist Shane Garrett.
“Unfortunately, the weak figures were not limited to the detached side of the market. New approvals for apartments/units dropped by 10 percent over the course of October,” Mr Garrett said.
“Results from previous months had suggested that the housing market was in the early stages of recovery, with approvals, prices and lending starting to move in the right direction.
“Today’s figures are a warning as to how delicate that recovery actually is," he said. "Home building activity is reliant on new greenfield localities being opened up through investment in road and rail infrastructure, as well as the necessary utilities.
“For the most part, we are still waiting for actual work to begin on the wave of major transport infrastructure projects that have previously been committed,” Mr Garrett said.
“The unnecessary delays here are placing the upturn in residential building at risk."
During October 2019, there was better news for commercial building approvals which grew by 4.2 percent in dollar terms compared with September. Overall, the value of commercial building approved has grown by some 17.7 percent over the past year.
New South Wales led the decline in new home building approvals with a fall of 16.4 percent during the month. It was followed by the Northern Territory (-11.1%) and Queensland (-10.2%).
Despite the weak national figures, new home building approvals increased in the majority of states. The largest gain was in South Australia (+14.7%), followed by Western Australia (+11.5%) and Tasmania (+6.2%). The number of approvals also rose in Victoria (+5.7%) and the ACT (+3.1%).