The total number of dwellings approved rose by 0.4% across the nation in February, in trend terms, thanks to an increase in building approvals for apartments and townhouses.

Data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showed that building approvals for private dwellings excluding houses climbed by 2.6% during the month. Private houses, meanwhile, slid by 0.8%.

Among the states and territories, total dwelling approvals grew in New South Wales (3.1%) and Western Australia (2.0%), in trend terms. Northern Territory (-6.5%), the Australian Capital Territory (6.3%), Queensland (-2%), South Australia (-1.1%), and Victoria (-0.8%) all recorded falls in total dwelling approvals. Result for Tasmania was flat.

ABS also reported that approvals for private houses decreased in New South Wales (-2%), Victoria (-1.1%) and Queensland (-0.8%). On the other hand, increases were recorded in South Australia (2%) and Western Australia (0.5%).

In seasonally adjusted terms, total dwellings improved by 19.1% in February, largely driven by growth in Victoria (37.3%) and New South Wales (25.2%).

“Apartment approvals in New South Wales and Victoria drove the positive figure, but this is an expected blip given the lumpy nature of the high-density sector,” said BIS Oxford Economics Economist Maree Kilroy.

Private dwellings excluding houses rose by 64.6%, while private houses fell by 3.6%.

The value of total building approved rose 1.3% during the month, in trend terms. The value of non-residential building was up 1.9%, while residential building slid by 0.8%.