Building approvals have fallen for the second consecutive month, new research has found.
According to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, total residential building approvals fell by 7.4 per cent in February 2011 to be down by 3.2 per cent over the February quarter.
Total approvals in the three months to February 2011 are 13.7 per cent lower than in the corresponding period of a year earlier.
“February’s approval figures are disappointing and confirm that the recent weakness seen in building approvals has much more to do with the overall economic and policy environment than it does to the weather-related events of late 2010 and early 2011,” HIA senior economist Andrew Harvey said.
"Today’s numbers are driven by a significant drop in private sector other dwellings which are down by 20 per cent in the month, while private sector detached dwellings were basically flat in February.”
Mr Harvey said the November 2010 interest rate hikes by the Reserve Bank and the trading banks have acted like a wrecking ball on residential building across Australia, with the impact being compounded by tighter credit conditions and the winding down of the social housing initiative which has now all but concluded.
“In terms of the jurisdictions much of the February result is due to a mammoth fall of 1,205 approvals in Victoria, whilst Queensland has not fared much better with a monthly decrease of 256 approvals. Unfortunately the gold rush of building in Victoria appears to be coming to an end and the very weak building conditions in Queensland continue to deteriorate,” Mr Harvey said.