Australian building permits plunged in October, falling at the fastest pace this year and offering further evidence of a cooling market.
Approvals plunged 12.6% in October after seasonal adjustments, following an 8.7% drop the prior month, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported Wednesday. Economists in a median estimate expected permits to rise 1.5% in October.
Compared to October 2015, building approvals plunged 24.9% following a 6.4% year-over-year drop the previous month.
In seasonally adjusted terms, a total of 16,279 dwelling units were approved in October. Private sector houses accounted for roughly 56% of that total, representing a month-on-month decline of 3.4%. Excluding houses, private sector dwellings fell 24.8% from September and 42.6% compared to a year earlier.
Data on building permits are issued monthly by the federal government, and are considered an important proxy for future construction plans in residential housing.
While monthly permit data tend to be volatile, authorizations have declined six times this year, signalling a slight cooling in activity compared the previous two years.
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