The continued strength in unit approvals has, once again, seen the total building approvals data for April surprise on the upside.
Seasonally adjusted data shows a 3.0% m/m increase for a 0.7% growth on the year (the first yr/yr increase in 6 months). However, the increase came exclusively from unit (non-house) approvals which were up 8.1% m/m while house approvals actually fell 1.9% m/m. The more stable Trend series saw total approvals up just 1.2% on the month and down 2.9% over the year (while March was revised stronger); this is the fifth consecutive month of Trend annual declines.
In Queensland the story of unit strength is similar but the Trend data shows good strength with some solid positive revisions. On a seasonally adjusted basis total approvals were up 6.7% m/m and +16.8% yr/yr. As was the case nationally it was the unit sector that was responsible for all the growth; unit approvals rose 20.1% m/m while house approvals fell by 8.8% m/m. The Trend series rose 2.9% m/m (with March also revised higher) and the annual rate increased by 10.6% (after March was strongly revised from a 2.7% decline to a 6.7% increase!) and has hit a record high in April.
Nest week will see the release of the regional building approvals numbers. We will be releasing our Conus Trend series for all the Queensland regions at that time and, given the strength of unit approvals in these State numbers, we can only expect to to see the divergence between SEQ and the regions continue to play out.