Housing supply trails below decade average

by Mackenzie McCarty19 Oct 2012

New housing supply data from the ABS shows that housing supply continues to fall away as demand for new dwellings ramps up, according to RP Data.

The ABS recently released housing supply figures which detailed an 11.4% fall in the total number of dwelling commencements over the year to June 2012.

RP Data's national research director Tim Lawless said this put the number of housing starts at 13.4% lower than the ten-year average.

“The results highlight just how weak the housing construction sector has been since building activity started to fall in early 2010,” Lawless said.

Detached houses were the weakest performers, with the ABS data showing construction began on a seasonally adjusted count of 20,786 houses over the June quarter of 2012.

Lawless said this was 21% lower than the decade average of 26,189 starts.

However, the trend could be about to turn around. The HIA's latest residential land update signals that new housing starts should begin to recover modestly by early 2013.

The HIA-RP Data Residential Land Report shows a significant improvement in residential land sales in the June 2012 quarter.

“The June 2012 quarter saw residential land sales rise by 23.3%  to be up by 29.7% when compared to the same period in 2011,” the HIA's chief economist Harley Dale said.

“Growth is from a low base and the result is exaggerated by a policy-induced pull-forward in land sales in New South Wales and Victoria. Nevertheless, land sales did rise in all six state capitals and in a majority of regional areas and that is an encouraging result.”

Dale said residential land sales signal the prospect of a turnaround in new housing starts from the December 2012/March 2013 quarters.