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Large fall in number of Australian home approvals

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The number of monthly housing approvals Australia has dropped by a quarter compared to this time last year, official data has revealed.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, a seasonally adjusted figure of 10,330 dwelling units were approved in April this year.

That is a whopping 24 per cent lower than the figure for the same month a year earlier as the built environment sector continues to suffer Down Under.

Apartment building was particularly hard hit, with private sector non-housing dwelling approvals down by a third year-on-year.

The total value of building work in Australia fell by 1.7 per cent in April, its 16th successive month of decline.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said in February that weak labour force data and consumer confidence was keeping demand for housing low.

But RICS economist Matthew Edmonds said last month’s decision by the Reserve Bank to cut the cash rate by 50 basis points to 3.75 per cent could provide some respite.

‘Housing demand is still rising,’ he said.

‘Housing finance commitments rose for the first time this year in March. They remain 10 per cent off their decade average, but they have been largely flat for the past year and could start to rise now as borrowing costs fall.

‘If demand continues to rise, this should impact positively on prices, which are currently 4.5 per cent below year ago levels.’

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