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Australia Building Permits Rose More Than Forecast on Apartments

Oct. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Australian home-building approvals advanced for the third time in four months in August on apartment projects, a sign housing demand may rebound after cuts in the nation’s benchmark interest rate.

The number of permits granted to build or renovate houses and apartments gained 6.4 percent from July, when they fell a revised 21.2 percent, the Bureau of Statistics said in Sydney today. The result compares with the median forecast for a 4.7 percent gain in a Bloomberg News survey of 20 economists.

The Reserve Bank of Australia lowered borrowing four times from November to June to buttress the economy as Europe’s crisis weighed on global growth and Chinese demand. Governor Glenn Stevens cut rates by a further quarter percentage point this week to revive industries like housing as the nation’s resources boom that is expected to peak at a lower level next year.

“The cumulative impact of recent RBA rate cuts and tentative signs that house prices are stabilizing will provide some moderate support to residential building plans and approvals data in coming months,” David Cannington, an economist at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., wrote in a research report before today’s release.

Building approvals in August declined 15.4 percent from a year earlier, the report showed. That compares with economists’ forecast for a 14.3 percent decrease year-over-year.

Approvals to build private houses fell 0.5 percent to 7,314 in August from the previous month, the report showed. Approvals for apartments and renovations advanced 23 percent to 4,596.

Australian home prices climbed by the most in 30 months in September, according to RP Data.

House and apartment prices across Australia’s eight state and territory capitals rose 1.4 percent in September from the previous month, the most since March 2010, the RP Data-Rismark Home Value Index showed Oct. 2. They also rose 2 percent in the three months ended Sept. 30 from the prior quarter, the Brisbane-based researcher said.

Australia’s unemployment rate has remained in a range of 5 percent to 5.3 percent for the past 17 months. It unexpectedly fell to 5.1 percent in August.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Heath in Sydney at mheath1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephanie Phang at sphang@bloomberg.net

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