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A record-hot summer for Australia looks to have kept the national property market warm as well.

Data today showed building approvals rebounded 1.8 per cent month-on-month in January, up from a revised drop of 2.5 per cent (previously -1.2 per cent). Economists surveyed by Bloomberg forecast a 0.5 per cent drop.

Year-on-year, though, approvals were down 12 per cent, worse than the revised 11.7 per cent (previously -11.6 per cent) drop in December and expectations for approvals to fall 11.6 per cent. This continues a general trend of moderation over the past 20 months.

Yesterday, data from Corelogic showed prices in Australian capital cities rose 1.4 per cent in February. But economy watchers (and prospective first-home buyers, no doubt) were perhaps more taken aback by the year-on-year rates of growth, which showed prices up 11.7 per cent in the national capitals over the past 12 months, led by an 18.4 per cent jump in Sydney prices – the fastest annual pace since December 2002.

A survey earlier this week from Australia’s Housing Industry Association showed new homes sales fell 2.2 per cent month-on-month in January, from a 0.2 per cent gain in December.

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