August sees building approval numbers fall

A LACK of "breadth" in the home building recovery of recent months was exposed in a 4.7% national fall in building approvals in August, a housing economist said today.

The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics building approvals data showed approvals fell across most states, while New South Wales bucked the trend with 10.6% growth in August.

But Housing Industry Association chief economist Harley Dale said the results were still disappointing and "fell short of general expectations".

He said while there was some volatility in the month-to-month data, a positive trend was still under way, but the pace of the recovery was still too slow, and too narrow.

"Lower interest rates and redirected first home buyer policies are driving a modest new housing recovery," he said.

Mr Dale hit out at "incessant ranting" about a fictitious housing price bubble had hit the growth, saying that without government action, the recovery would fall short of "what the economy requires".

Approvals in August fell 0.2% in Queensland, 6.2% in Victoria, 0.4% in South Australia, 8.7% in Western Australia and 6.6% in Tasmania.

Other than in NSW, growth only occurred in the Australian Capital Territory, 2.3% up, and the Northern Territory, up 1.4% during the month.