New home building rebounded in the March quarter, according to the latest official figures.
Data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that construction of detached homes held relatively steady, increasing by 0.7% over the March quarter to 28,761, while ‘other dwelling’ commencements, predominantly multi-unit constructions, jumped by 19.2% to 25,140.
An economist for the Housing Industry Association, Geordan Murray says the quarter almost set a record for new home building.
“The strong result for the March 2015 quarter was the second highest level for any quarter on record,” he said.
“A surge in multi-unit dwelling commencements in Victoria was the primary driver of the increase during the quarter. The state recorded over 9,000 multi-unit commencements, which is a record high.”
In the twelve months to March, almost 205,000 new dwellings were commenced, which is the first time the 200,000 mark has been breached.
Further to this, Murray says the association’s assessment of leading indicators suggests that the number of commencements in the June quarter was even higher.
“When we get the final result for the 2014/15 fiscal year it is likely to show more than 210,000 new dwellings were commenced during the year,” he said.
During the March 2015 quarter, new home starts increased in New South Wales (1.9%), Victoria (18.8%), Queensland (20.9%) and the Northern Territory (12%).
Elsewhere however, there were sizable declines, most notably in South Australia where the strong result in the December quarter was reversed by a 18% decline in the March quarter. The number of commencements also fell in Western Australia (- 4.8%), Tasmania (-14.7%) and the ACT (-14.4%).