ABS figures confirm that new home building approvals record their strongest ever year during 2015, said the Housing Industry Association.
"During 2015, a total of 232,078 new homes received approval for construction. This is 13.7 per cent higher than 2014's remarkable result and is head and shoulders above every calendar year on record," HIA Senior Economist Shane Garrett said.
"However, the expansion during 2015 was not balanced across the market segments. While multi-unit approvals saw growth of 30.2 per cent, detached house approvals inched up by just 1.0 per cent over the year," said Mr Garrett.
"Today's data are proof of an exceptional 2015. More importantly, they add to the body of evidence pointing to the start of a downturn in activity. During the December 2015 quarter, total approvals fell by 4.0 per cent compared with the previous three month period and multi-units accounted for a disproportionate share of the decline.""New home building has been a crucial support to economic growth over the past two years, particularly in light of the mining investment downturn. The challenge during 2016 will be managing the transition to lower volumes of new home building in an orderly fashion," said Mr Garrett.
During December 2015, total seasonally adjusted new home building approvals saw the largest increase in Victoria, followed by Western Australia and New South Wales. The largest decline affected South Australia, with approvals also falling in Tasmania and Queensland. In trend terms, approvals saw a 1.0 per cent increase in the Northern Territory but fell by 22.0 per cent in the Australian Capital Territory.