Today’s release of ABS Building Approvals data for June showed a surprise decline of 5% (seasonally adjusted) for a 16% increase over the year. Both houses and unit approvals fell. The less volatile Trend series showed a monthly fall of 1.1% for a year on year gain of 7.9%. Despite the monthly figures being weaker than had been expected there were positive revisions to the previous month’s data which helped support the annual changes.
In QLD a similar picture unfolded with the seasonally adjusted data showing a 10.6% decline for the month and a 11.6% increase over the year. Both houses and units contributed to the decline although in QLD the decline in units was far more significant a factor than at the national level. The Trend series showed a 0.4% decline for the month and a 8.4% increase over the year. There were also positive revisions to previous months here.
In the Far North things held up pretty well. In Cairns a total of 75 approvals (up from 53 in May) were recorded, unadjusted data, while Townsville saw 164 (up from 116) and the Cassowary Coast 11 (unchanged). When considering the Conus Trend series for these 3 regions we see Cairns at 53 (+15.2% y/y and up from 46 in May), Townsville at 120 (down 2.4% y/y but up from 114 in May) and Cassowary Coast at 8 (+33% y/y and unchanged from May).
It is early days to be drawing many conclusions but it would appear that the slow recovery in Cairns continues to build, while the slowdown in Townsville earlier in the year may be stabilising. In the Cassowary Coast there does appear to be genuine improvement with 38 approvals in the last 4 months compared to 29 in the same period a year earlier. Over the course of the 2013-14 financial year the area saw 85 approvals against 77 for 2012-13; an increase of 10.4%. Over the course of the year the areas that saw the best improvement were Johnstone (21 approvals, up 4 on the previous year) and Tully (46, up 2).
NOTE: Further analysis of the Cairns building approvals can be found at Loose Change.