A rise in home building approvals suggests the economy may be shifting away from its reliance on mining.
Approvals for the construction of new homes rose 2.5 per cent across Australia in July, official figures show, beating economists’ expectations of a 1.9 per cent rise.
The rise in July follows a dip in approvals in June.
Over the 12 months to July, building approvals were up 9.4 per cent, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Tuesday.
A rise in single dwelling approvals as well as multi-unit approvals was a positive sign, as house building is more important for growth, JP Morgan economist Tom Kennedy said.
The latest figures suggest the economy is shifting toward non-mining sources of growth, he said.
“This one-off result doesn’t really move the needle much but it certainly is a move in the right direction,” Mr Kennedy said.
“It does suggest the rebalancing away from resource-related activity is continuing, like it did in the first half of the year.
“We do need to see more increases in the next few months.”
National Australia Bank senior economist Spiros Papadopoulos said apartment approvals in Western Australia drove the increase in total building approvals in the month.
“If we look at the underlying trend we’re still seeing softer building approvals coming through, but the overall level is still pretty solid at around 16,000 a month,” he said.
“So the level of approvals is still consistent with some pretty solid residential construction in the coming period.”
Mr Papadopoulos said housing construction will be a major contributor to overall economic growth in the coming months.