Building approvals figures have bounced back from June’s disappointing fall and are expected to stay strong for the remainder of the year.
Approvals for the construction of new homes rose 4.2 per cent in July, after falling 5.2 per cent in June, driven by a 13.3 per cent drop in the volatile multi-unit dwellings.
Private sector house approvals fell 3.0 per cent, while the ‘other dwellings’ category, which includes apartment blocks and townhouses, was up 6.1 per cent.
ANZ senior economist Felicity Emmett said apartment block construction is expected to stay strong despite suffering a bit of a blip in June.
“I think what’s surprising is the weakness in houses,” she said.
“It’s a little bit hard to get a feel for what’s driving that but, overall, the main driver of approvals recently has been that multi section, in particular the high rise, and that does look to be levelling off.”
Over the 12 months to July, building approvals were up 13.4 per cent, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said .
JP Morgan economist Tom Kennedy said it was important to look past the housing figures’ month-to-month volatility and to take a longer-term view to get a sense of what was happening.
“In our view, building approvals is tracking at pretty good levels. Activity this year has continued the upbeat trend from 2014,” he said.
Mr Kennedy expects building approvals to ease off a little in the coming months but believes the housing sector will be a key driver for economic growth in 2015.
“They will lose a bit of momentum. We saw a really strong run earlier this year – that’s unlikely to be sustained,” he said.
“It’s not going to collapse. We think it’s going to dissipate gradually.”