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Rate hold not certain as weak data emerges

Rate hold not certain as weak data emerges

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Staff Reporter

Building approvals barely rose in January 2012, adding further weight to the need for another rate cut, the Housing Industry Association has claimed.

According to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, building approvals rose by just 0.9 per cent in January 2012, driven by a large spike in New South Wales.

In New South Wales, building approvals were up 37.6 per cent, while outside of the state, approvals were down by nine per cent.

“Abstracting from what was a big result for New South Wales, building approvals fell heavily in January this year,” Housing Industry Association chief economist Harley Dale said.

“The profile for building approvals in late 2011/early 2012 continues to imply a level of housing starts comparable to the very weak levels endured around the GFC. It’s hard to call that a bright update for the domestic economy.

“Australia’s interest rate settings are too high and there needs to be immediate government focus on policy reform to boost flagging levels of new housing supply.”

Total seasonally adjusted building approvals increased by 7.0 per cent in South Australia in January 2012 and in trend terms approvals rose by 2.6 per cent in the Northern Territory. In January this year total seasonally adjusted building approvals fell by 2.7 per cent in Victoria, 22.1 per cent in Queensland, 0.3 per cent in Western Australia, and 2.9 per cent in Tasmania.

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Rate hold not certain as weak data emerges
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