Building approvals demolished by units

As was the case last month (see our commentary here), nationwide and state building approvals have come in much weaker than expected; this month FNQ has also weakened.
Seasonally adjusted approvals nationwide fell 5.6% in April (against expectations of a rise around 2%) and were up just 1.1% from a year ago. However, as is often the case, the numbers have been heavily skewed by the highly volatile “units” data. Considering just house approvals showed a 0.1% decline on the month and a 16.1% increase on the year. The Trend series showed a m/m decline of 1.6% for a yr/yr increase of 15.1%.
At a state level, QLD saw the seasonally adjusted data much weaker with approvals down 20.3% m/m for a 9.3% decline on the year. Again these were heavily impacted by unit approvals. House approvals were unchanged for the month and up 7.9% for the year. The Trend series showed a decline of 8% m/m and +2.7% yr/yr; this Trend annual rate of increase has now fallen from +40.7% just 6 months ago (see chart below).
In our own region we have also seen a weaker set of numbers. Cairns saw approvals at 40 for April, Cassowary Coast 2 and Townsville 93. These are unadjusted data so we need to consider the Conus Trend to make any sense of them. Here we see Cairns Trend approvals at 53 (up from a sharply downwardly revised 49 in March), Cassowary Coast at 7 (unchanged from a downwardly revised 7 in March) andTownsville at 107 (down from a sharply downwardly revised 110 in March). 
The CCRC detail shows just 2 house approvals in the Johnstone area in the month.

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