The number of dwellings approved for construction has fallen to its lowest annual level since 2012, stoking fears the building industry will continue to slow through 2024 as the pipeline for new residential housing remains weak.
Fresh data, released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Thursday, showed total building approvals dived 9.5 per cent in December following a 0.3 per cent increase in November.
The result was well below economists’ expectations of a 0.5 per cent increase.
December’s result capped off an extremely subdued year for new approvals. A total of 162,194 dwellings were ticked off for approval across the country in 2023 – the lowest annual level in 12 years when 157,126 homes were approved.
The monthly decline was overwhelmingly driven by a fall in approvals for apartments, units and townhouses that which sank 25.3 per cent to 4354, according to the seasonally adjusted figures.
Approvals for the less volatile private sector housing eased by just 0.5 per cent to 8416.
The results of total dwellings were mixed by state, with declines posted in Victoria, down 18.4 per cent, South Australia, down 11.8 per cent, and Tasmania, down 2.7 per cent.
However, Queensland climbed 8.2 per cent, Western Australia rose 7.9 per cent, and NSW firmed 2 per cent.
More to come.