Data released this morning shows Building Approvals nationwide rose by a seasonally adjusted 3% in August (against expectations of a 1% rise). This takes the annual growth rate to 14.5% (up from 9.6% in July). However, the increase was all due to volatile unit approvals while house approvals actually fell 1.4%. The less volatile Trend series shows month on month growth at 1.2% for an annual rate of 6.8% (this is down from +8.4% in July).
In Queensland the recovery previously noted (see our commentary last month) has continued. Seasonally adjusted approvals rose by 1.4% for the month and were up 10.1% for the year. In Queensland all of the increase (and more) was due to a sharp uptick in house approvals (+11.1% m/m) while units fell. The Trend series shows total approvals up 2.7% m/m and +13% for the year (which is down from +16.8% last month).
NOTE. The ABS appear to have reverted to their old policy of releasing the approvals data for the local areas a week after this main release. This policy was in place a few years ago but more recently they had been providing both data sets on the same day. Interestingly the local area data for July, which they released on Sept 2nd with the national and state data, is now listed on their website as having been released a week later! I have written to the ABS requesting clarification. Assuming this change, we shall update the Conus Trend Building Approvals data for Cairns, the Cassowary Coast and Townsville next week.
UPDATE. I have just received confirmation from the ABS that the small area building approvals data will now be released 5 working days after the main nation and state data release.