The overall decrease in dwelling approvals across the country was led by private house approvals, which dropped by 1.9% in April, in trend terms.

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data showed that the number of dwellings approved in Australia fell by 0.6% during the month.

Among the states and territories, total dwelling approvals fell in Victoria (2.8%), Tasmania (2.2%), the Northern Territory (2%) and New South Wales (0.4%). On the other hand, the number of dwellings approved in the Australian Capital Territory (7.7%), South Australia (1.8%) and Western Australia (1.3%) rose. Figures in Queensland was flat.

Approvals for private sector houses were largely driven by falls in the eastern states. Declines were recorded in New South Wales (3.8%), Victoria (2.7%), Queensland (0.8%) and South Australia (0.1%), while Western Australia posted a 0.5% increase. Meanwhile, private dwellings excluding houses rose by 1.2%.

In seasonally adjusted terms, total dwellings declined by 4.7% in April. This was a result of declines in Tasmania (19.1%), Victoria (16.1%), Western Australia (6.7%) and South Australia (3.3%). Private dwellings excluding houses fell by 6.5%, while private house approvals slid by 2.6%.

Total attached dwellings also dropped by 7% month-over-month on the back of weak Victoria results, marking the lowest apartment approvals since 2013.

“Following weak leads for land and new apartment sales, BIS Oxford Economics expects dwelling approvals to continue to fall over the remainder of 2019. Recent developments such as APRA proposing  to ease their mortgage serviceability guidance, the RBA signalling rate cuts, the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme and the surprise federal election result, should lift confidence and open up credit availability, helping to put a floor under house price declines,” said Maree Kilroy, economist at BIS Oxford Economics.