Newly-released ABS figures show that detached house approvals fell by 2.1 percent during September to record their weakest monthly result since December 2013. 

“The descent to a five-year low for detached house approvals is an unwelcome milestone and reflects a number of unfavourable factors,” says Shane Garrett, chief economist of Master Builders Australia. 

“House prices are continuing to fall in Australia’s two largest markets and this makes it more difficult to deliver new housing supply. The results of last week’s MBA industry survey also demonstrated how the ongoing Royal Commission has led to tougher financing conditions in recent months.

“The unprecedented level of new home building over the past five years has substantially expanded the capacity of the Australian economy by boosting the number of construction jobs and allowing greater numbers of workers in all sectors to put a roof over their heads. 

“With new home building activity starting to flag, it is vital that government policies remain focused on allowing our industry to provide enough new homes to meet our future demands.” 

During September 2018, approvals for new dwellings saw the largest increase in Victoria (+30.5 percent), followed by Tasmania (+15.7 percent) and South Australia (+7.8 percent). The largest reduction in approvals hit Western Australia (-19 percent), followed by Queensland (-10.5 percent) and the ACT (-8.4 percent). There were also less approvals in NSW (-6.8 percent) and the NT (-6.9 percent) during September 2018. 

Approvals for apartments and other dwelling types saw better results however, recording a 10.7 percent increase in the same period.