Approvals for new detached houses across Australia have dropped to their lowest in six years, says Master Builders chief economist Shane Garrett. 

While building approvals across all categories of new dwellings show a 4.7 percent fall in April 2019, new detached house approvals dropped by 2.9 percent while apartments/units saw a 7.2 percent fall. Total approvals are now down by 24.2 percent over the past year, he says. 

“Since the beginning of the new home building downturn in late 2017, the bulk of the pain has been concentrated in the high density segment of the market. 

“With today’s figures now showing detached house approvals at a 6-year low, it is ominous that the weakness in new home building is spreading to those parts of the market, which are traditionally more resilient during downturns,” he said. 

Since the figures are for the month preceding the federal election, Garrett believes that the political uncertainty prevailing at the time contributed to the weaker results for April. However, given the conclusive results of the election, there is real opportunity to push home building activity back in the right direction. 

Commencing many of the significant infrastructure projects announced by the government over the past year would provide a major boost to the building industry, the wider economy and confidence more generally, he said. 

During April 2019, the number of approvals for new homes rose in Queensland (+11.3 percent), followed by the ACT (+7.7 percent) and New South Wales (4.8 percent ). 

The largest drop in new dwelling approvals affected Tasmania (-19.1 percent) followed by Victoria (-16.1 percent). There were also falls in new home approvals in Western Australia (-6.7 percent), South Australia (-3.3 percent) and the Northern Territory (-2.0percent ).  

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