Bloomberg News

Australian Home-Building Permits Fall More Than Forecast

December 03, 2012

Australian home-building approvals declined more than economists forecast in October, led by a slump in apartment projects. The nation’s currency weakened.

The number of permits granted to build or renovate houses and apartments declined 7.6 percent from September, when they rose a revised 9.5 percent, the Bureau of Statistics said in Sydney today. The result compares with the median forecast for a 1.6 percent drop in a Bloomberg survey of 22 economists.

The Reserve Bank of Australia lowered borrowing costs five times from November to October to buttress the economy as a resource investment boom is predicted to peak at a lower level next year. Governor Glenn Stevens is trying to revive industries including construction to rebalance economic growth and extend 21 recession-free years.

“Typically, it takes a few quarters for interest rate cuts to spur building approvals,” Chris Tennent-Brown, an economist in Sydney at Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), said in a research report before the release.

Building approvals in October advanced 14.5 percent from a year earlier, the report showed. That compares with economists’ forecast for a 20.2 percent rise year-over-year.

Approvals to build private houses fell 1.5 percent to 7,451 in October from the previous month, the report showed. Approvals for apartments and renovations declined 18 percent to 4,817.

The local dollar weakened, buying at $1.0419 at 11:37 a.m. in Sydney from $1.0430 before the release.

The RBA board is meeting today to decide whether to change monetary policy, with a decision scheduled to be announced at 2:30 p.m.

Home-loan growth held in October at the slowest annual pace since at least 1977, a central bank report showed last week. Wage growth also slowed to the weakest pace in a year in the third quarter, government data showed last month.

Australian help-wanted notices fell for an eighth straight month in November, sliding 2.9 percent, an Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. (ANZ) report showed this week. Australian retail sales also stagnated in October, ending two months of advances, as consumers spent less on household goods, government data showed yesterday.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Heath in Sydney at mheath1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephanie Phang at sphang@bloomberg.net


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