Australia needs a housing sector that's booming, but at the moment it's halfway between boom and bust - and even worse for the rest of the building industry.

The value of residential building approvals, including alterations and additions, dropped by 16 per cent in September, according to seasonally adjusted figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. In the process, home building approvals hit their lowest point since July 2013. Approvals for other buildings – shops, offices, hotels and…