New housing approvals fell 27.9% across Australia in January after a steep decline in unit approvals, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. 

There were 12,916 total dwellings approved in January, made up of 8,712 houses and 4,007 units.  

The sharp drop in new housing approvals follows a 9.8% rise in December.

“The fall in the total number of dwellings approved in January was driven by a large fall for private sector dwellings excluding houses, which fell 43.6%,” ABS Director of Construction Statistics Daniel Rossi said.  

“Approvals for private sector houses also declined sharply, falling 17.5% in January, following a 0.3% decline in December.  

“The series has now returned closer to historic levels, with the January result 0.8% higher than the pre-pandemic level in January 2020.” 

In January, dwelling approvals fell 35.5% in Victoria and 29.2% in South Australia, while declining 25.9% in New South Wales and 19.9% in Western Australia.

New housing approvals also decreased 13.9% in Tasmania, while they rose 0.5% in Queensland.  

The value of total building approved fell 27.7% in January, driven by a 36.8% decline in the value of non-residential building approved. 

The value of total residential building decreased 22.8%, comprised of a 24.9% decline in the value of new residential building, and a 10.3% fall in the value of alterations and additions. 

In November last year, new housing approvals rose 3.6% across Australia, fuelled by a surge in new units across the country.