The number of dwellings approved in Australia dropped by 2.3% in November, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

"The trend for total dwellings has been steadily declining over the past 12 months," said Justin Lokhorst, director of construction statistics at the ABS. Year over year, dwelling approvals fell by 18.3%.

The decrease in November was driven by the 5% drop in private-sector dwellings, excluding dwellings such as townhouses and apartments.

Australian Capital Territory (-9.5%), South Australia (-6.2%), Western Australia (-4.5%), Queensland (-3.4%) and New South Wales (-3.1%) all recorded falls in dwelling approvals during the month.

Tasmania and Victoria were the only states to buck the trend, up 3.5% and. 0.6%, respectively.  The Northern Territory, meanwhile, was flat.

The ABS report showed that approvals for private-sector houses also slid by 0.3% in November. Going by the states and territories, Victoria’s private-sector house approvals rose 0.7% and New South Wales’ climbed 0.1%. Decreases were recorded in Queensland (1.8%), South Australia (1.0%) and Western Australia (0.7%).

ABS revealed that the value of total building approved fell 0.8% in November and has decreased for 12 months. The value of residential building dropped 1.6%, while non-residential building was up by 0.6%.

In seasonally adjusted terms, total dwellings fell by 9.1% in November, brought about by a 17.9% decrease in private dwellings excluding houses. Private houses declined 2.6% in seasonally adjusted terms.