Australian housing approvals still falling: Daniel Gradwell

Australian housing approvals still falling: Daniel Gradwell
Australian housing approvals still falling: Daniel Gradwell

GUEST OBSERVER

Housing approvals recorded a strong June, but in trend terms are flattening out at levels well below last year’s peak.

We expect further declines will come through in the remainder of the year, although it is likely the most sizeable falls have already occurred.

Meanwhile, despite a small fall in June non-residential approvals remain elevated, led by strength in Victoria’s office segment.

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Australian housing approvals still falling: Daniel Gradwell

Housing approvals rose sharply in June, with 10.9% m/m growth more than offsetting the previous month’s decline. The monthly rise was driven primarily by the unit/apartment segment in New South Wales, which rose 43% m/m. Victoria also recorded a solid rise in June, up 6% overall, adding to May’s increase.

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Australian housing approvals still falling: Daniel Gradwell

The upshot of this strong result is that total building approvals (in trend terms) have started to stabilise some 15% below the peak of last year. We still expect further declines will come through over the second half of 2017, driven by tighter credit conditions and higher interest rates for investors, although the size of these falls will likely be tempered by the fact that the RBA is not yet embarking on a tightening cycle. At any rate, it appears that the sharpest falls in approvals are behind us.

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Australian housing approvals still falling: Daniel Gradwell

While NSW housing approvals are proving resilient, Victoria is the shining light for the non- residential sector. In trend terms, non-residential approvals in Victoria are 60% higher than at the end of 2016. The office segment has been the key driver of this strength, with monthly approvals now sitting at record levels. This is likely to provide some offset to the eventual decline in housing construction as the current backlog of work is eroded. 

Daniel Gradwell is the senior economist for ANZ.

 

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Housing Approvals Dwelling Prices

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