Today’s building approvals data for March have come in well below market expectations, although the Trends at both state and national level were positive for the month; the first time they’ve both been positive since early 2016..
March’s approvals across the nation fell by 13.4% for the month (expected down 3.9%) after an 8.9% pickup in Feb. This takes the seasonally adjusted yearly figure to a 19.9% decline. The weak numbers are on the back of weak (volatile) units data. When we consider the Trend series (which smooths out much of the volatility caused by the lumpiness of the units data) we see an increase of 0.8% for the month, year on year levels remain down 13.1%.
In Queensland seasonally adjusted approvals fell 21.3% (again on the back of weak units data) for a 37.2% decline over the year. The Trend series, however, was up 0.5% for the month but remains down 31.4% for the year. As the chart below makes clear, the sharp declines seen over recent months look as if they may be reaching a bottom; we might see some improvements in coming months.
Regional approvals will be released by the ABS next Monday at which time we will update our Conus Trend series for the SA4 regions in QLD, as well as those for our regional Local Government Areas.