The number of building approvals unexpectedly rose 7.6 per cent in September, slowing the rate of annual decline.
Approvals for private sector houses rose 2.8 per cent on a seasonally adjusted basis, while the “other dwellings” category that includes apartment blocks and townhouses surged 16.6 per cent on the previous month.
Market consensus had been for approvals to remain flat.
Over the 12 months to September, the fall in total building approvals moderated to 19.0 per cent from 21.5 per cent a month earlier, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday.
The estimated value of total approvals fell 16.6 per cent in September, driven by a 36.6 per cent fall in the value of non-residential approvals.
The Australian dollar, already rising against the US dollar, ticked higher after the data’s release, going from 69.03 to 69.11 US cents by 1145 AEDT.