Building approvals for February have taken a dive following a slight January upturn.
ABS figures show that the number of dwellings approved fell 7.8 per cent in February 2012 following a rise of 1.1 per cent in January.
Despite New South Wales being the only state to record a loss, the -41.2 per cent dragged the national average down with it.
Approvals rose in Queensland by 13.0 per cent, South Australia 10.1 per cent, Tasmania 10 per cent, 5.7 per cent in Western Australia and 1.1 per cent in Victoria.
The Housing Institute of Australia has called for urgent action in response to the new data.
“Today’s building approvals outcome is, quite frankly, woeful, even allowing for New South Wales virtually driving the entire fall. It is difficult to be positive about the short term prospects for new housing when a 7.8 per cent decline in building approvals in February 2012 takes them to their lowest level since March 2009,” said HIA chief economist Harley Dale.
“The trend in building approvals is flat to down in every state and territory with the exception of Queensland, which is recovering from an extremely low base,” Mr Dale continued.
Approvals for private sector houses fell 3.4 per cent in February with falls in South Australia -11.9 per cent, Western Australia -8.4 per cent, New South Wales -2.1 per cent, Queensland -1.6 per cent and Victoria -0.6 per cent.
The value of total building approved decreased 32.1 per cent in February in seasonally adjusted terms, following an increase of 51.6 per cent in January. The value of residential building was flat while non-residential building fell 53.7 per cent.