Building approvals dropped by a seasonally adjusted 4.7 per cent in April as Australia’s housing woes continued.
Approvals for private sector houses dropped 2.6 per cent while the “other dwellings” category, which includes apartment blocks and townhouses, dipped 6.5 per cent.
Over the 12 months to April, total building approvals for dwellings fell by a seasonally adjusted 24.2 per cent, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday.
The seasonally adjusted declines were worst in Tasmania (19.1 per cent), Victoria (16.1 per cent), WA (6.7 per cent) and South Australia (3.3 per cent).
BIS Oxford Economics economist Maree Kilroy said the building approvals figures were in line with expectations.
“Confirming recent declines in land sales, house approvals continue to trend downwards, with the east coast states all in retreat,” she said.
Victoria had the weakest apartment approvals since 2013, Ms Kilroy said.
BIS Oxford Economics expects dwelling approvals to continue to fall over the remainder of 2019, but development such as APRA easing mortgage serviceability guidance and the RBA signalling rate cuts should put a floor under house price declines, she said.
“However, we do not expect this stimulus to flow through positively to new construction until 2020.”
The value of total buildings approved fell 0.2 per cent.