The number of building approvals exceeded 230,000 last year, allowing for a strong finish to 2015.

There were 18,868 building approvals issued in the final month of 2015, according to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

That was 9.2 per cent higher than the November 2015 result, but 2.5 per cent lower than December 2014.

Approvals for private sector houses reached 9,868 – up 5.4 per cent on the month and 4.5 per cent on the year.

There were also 8,839 approvals for private sector dwellings excluding houses, which represented a monthly increase of 12.8 per cent but an annual decrease of 6.5 per cent.

In total, 232,078 building approvals were issued in 2015, with nearly 80 per cent coming from New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.

Master Builders Australia chief executive Wilhelm Harnisch predicts 2016 is also likely to be a good year for residential construction.

“The December building approval data confirms that confidence among new home buyers and investors remains strong, underpinned by the continuation of low official interest rates,” Mr Harnisch said.

“The industry expects new house building activity to remain buoyant for the rest of 2016, particularly if interest rates stay at the current low settings.”

[Related: Capital city price growth soars]

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