Building Approvals fall as unit approvals tumble

Last month we noted that the Building Approvals data was being held firm by approvals for units (see here); this month that effect has reversed out as we see the May data fall on the back of weak unit approvals.

In May total approvals fell by 5.2% m/m with house approvals up 0.2% m/m and units falling by 10.3%. On a annual basis this means approvals fell 9.1% y/y (seasonally adjusted) and are down 2.2% y/y on the less volatile Trend basis. This is the 6th consecutive month of annual Trend declines. However, as the chart below makes clear, the overall Trend remains on a gradual recovery after earlier declines; this month sees the Trend up just 0.9% m/m.

The story in Queensland is a similar one with weaker unit approvals dragging down the overall data. On a seasonally adjusted basis approvals fell by 17.6% in May. Although house approvals were up 4.4% m/m units fell a massive 32.7% on the month (bear in mind last month saw unit approvals up 18.3%). Over the course of the year seasonally adjusted approvals are down by 7.3% (after they were up 17.2% last month) while the Trend series shows more consistent 4.7% y/y increase (April was +5.7%). The monthly Trend data showed a 1.8% m/m decline. Again, the chart below makes clear the fact that, although the Trend has been in decline for a few months, approvals in Queensland remain at historically high levels.

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