The housing market reported solid growth in building approvals in February, according to figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
On a trend basis, the number of dwellings approved grew by 1% over the month, driven by the construction of apartments.
"A significant rise in the number of apartments approved in February has offset the weakness recorded in January," said Daniel Rossi, director of construction statistics at ABS.
On a seasonally-adjusted basis, the total number of approved residential buildings rose by 19.9%, boosted by the 61.7% gains in apartments.
Angela Lillicrap, economist at the Housing Industry Association, said the growth in approvals provides "further evidence that the housing market was accelerating into 2020."
"These results, along with other leading indicators such as new home sales and housing finance data, continue to confirm that the housing market reached a turning point mid-way through 2019. The market had contracted by 28.8% from the December quarter 2017 to the June quarter 2019," she said.
Victoria led the states, posting a 22.6% quarterly growth in building approvals in the month.
"At least up until the end of February, we were looking at solid home building activity across most regions for 2020," Lillicrap said.
Still, there is uncertainty about how the COVID-19 will impact the housing market.
"Although Australia's housing markets have begun to enter a period of disruption, they are coming from strong foundations," said Tim Lawless, head of research at CoreLogic.
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