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House building approvals up as SA defies national slowdown


South Australia bucked a downward national trend to record a 7.1 per cent increase in building approvals for private homes in May.

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According to Australian Bureau of Statistics data released this morning, there were 715 building approvals for private homes in SA in May, up from 670 in April and the highest monthly figure for SA since October.

However, overall dwelling approvals in SA fell by 9.3 per cent for the month, broadly in line with other states except New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania, which all experienced double-digit falls.

The South Australian figures were dragged down by a sharp drop in private apartment approvals from 350 in April to 212 in May.

Nationally, the number of dwellings approved fell 16.4 per cent in May, in seasonally adjusted terms, according to the ABS data.

“The decline was driven by private sector dwellings excluding houses, which fell 34.9 per cent, in seasonally adjusted terms,” ABS Director of Construction Statistics Daniel Rossi said.

“The number of dwellings approved in apartment buildings fell sharply, to an 11-year low. Meanwhile, private sector houses fell modestly in May, by 4.4 per cent.”

“While minor effects of COVID-19 are apparent in the headline Building Approvals results, the fall in apartment approvals was broadly expected prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Dwelling approvals fell across all states, in seasonally adjusted terms. Double-digit falls were recorded in Tasmania (23.3 per cent), Victoria (14.3 per cent) and New South Wales (11.3 per cent), while South Australia (9.3 per cent), Western Australia (8.9 per cent) and Queensland (7.4 per cent), also declined.

Approvals for private sector houses fell in Queensland (9.9 per cent), Western Australia (7.9 per cent) and Victoria (3.9 per cent), in seasonally adjusted terms. while New South Wales rose slightly (1.0 per cent).

The value of total building approvals fell 13.5 per cent in May, in seasonally adjusted terms. The value of residential building fell 17.3 per cent, while non-residential building declined 7.1 per cent.

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