After last months very strong Building Approvals data (see our post here) the market had been expecting a fall of 4.8-5.0% for the Dec data. In actual fact the monthly seasonally adjusted decline was just 3.3% for a 8.8% increase over the year. In addition the previous month’s data was revised slightly higher. House approvals actually grew by 1.1% for the month but the more volatile units data dragged the total figure down. The fall less volatile (and therefore preferred) Trend series shows approvals were up 1.3% m/m for a 2.1% increase over the year (previous month’s were also revised higher).
Queensland, which was weak last month, has seen some improvement. Seasonally adjusted approvals were up 1.7% m/m and down 4.2% y/y; although house approvals rose just 0.6% on the month. The Trend series shows a 0.8% increase on the month with the annual decline now at 5.7%. There were some positive revisions to previous months here too. The graph below makes clear the strength being seen in approvals nationally and the tentative signs of recovery in Queensland.
Regional approvals data will be released by the ABS next Tues at which point we will update our Conus Trend series for Cairns, Cassowary Coast and Townsville LGAs.