Building approvals fall in February

Building approvals fell sharply in February.

Building approvals fell sharply in February, coming in well below expectations, as weakened demand for apartments weighed on the data.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics data showed the number of buildings approved fell a seasonally adjusted 5% to 16,669 in the month.

That compares to an initially reported 17,514 approvals in January, seasonally adjusted.

Bloomberg economists had expected the figures to show a 2% slide in approvals during the month.

Building approvals are now 23.2% higher, seasonally adjusted, than in the same month last year.

In trend terms, building approvals actually gained 0.7% in February, highlighting the volatile nature of the read.

Approvals for private sector houses fell 2.1% in the month, and the 'other dwellings' category, which includes apartment blocks and townhouses, posted a fall of 8.7%.

Falls of this nature are not uncommon, with a similar sized decline observed in November last year.

The decline in February only partially offsets a large 6.9% rise in January.

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