The Housing Industry Association (HIA), the voice of Australia’s residential building industry has noted the strong performance of new dwelling approvals in February 2015. Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show new dwelling approvals remained at a high level during the month following a record performance in January.

HIA Senior Economist Shane Garrett observed that it was yet another very strong result for Australia’s national new home building sector with new dwelling approvals in January having reached their highest level on record. February results show that the activity continues to be at exceptionally high levels, with a solid pipeline of activity set to remain in play over the coming months.

During February 2015, new dwelling approvals totalled 18,768 in seasonally-adjusted terms, 3.2 per cent lower than in January. Detached house approvals inched up by 0.2 per cent, while there was a 6.6 per cent reduction in multi-unit approvals compared to January figures. Despite the reduction, new dwelling approvals in February recorded their second highest result in the 32-year history of the data series. In the year to February 2015, new dwelling approvals totalled 205,796.

According to Shane Garrett, new residential construction is supporting the industry at a time of weak overall domestic demand. Observing that a steady pipeline of new homes represented the most effective solution to alleviating housing affordability pressures, he added that Governments at all levels must work to ensure supply constraints do not impede the continuation of elevated levels of new home construction.

During February 2015, seasonally-adjusted new dwelling approvals increased most strongly in Victoria (+20.5 per cent), followed by NSW (+13.5 per cent) and Tasmania (+4.0 per cent). Three states saw reduced new dwelling approvals during February, including Western Australia (-8.0 per cent) and Queensland (-30.6 per cent). South Australia was particularly down (-41.4 per cent) and urgently required action to turn around new home building conditions in the state. New dwelling approvals declined in trend terms in both the Northern Territory (-2.7 per cent) and the Australian Capital Territory (-16.2 per cent).