By James Glynn

SYDNEY--The number of Australian home building permits fell 8.7% in September from August.

Approvals to build or renovate houses and apartments declined by 6.4% from a year earlier, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said Wednesday.

In August, approvals fell by 1.8%, the ABS said.

Permits to build houses rose 2.3% from a month earlier, while approvals for apartments and other dwellings fell 16.3%.

Australia's central bank left its benchmark interest rate steady at a record low 1.5% at a policy meeting on Tuesday.

The decision to hold the line comes despite news of still benign inflation in the third quarter. The Reserve Bank of Australia has indicated concerns about risks in the propertysector, saying house prices are rising "briskly" in some cities.

Household debt is at record highs in Australia and it continues to grow as property prices climb and wages growth is at its weakest since the early 1990s when the economy was last in recession.

RBA Gov. Philip Lowe told parliament recently that he won't be an "inflation nutter," signaling he won't relentlessly chase the goal of higher inflation at the risk of financial instability and the public interest.

Financial markets have priced in a low probability of further interest rate cuts in 2017.

-Write to James Glynn at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 01, 2016 20:47 ET (00:47 GMT)

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