Residential construction reaches nineteen-year high

by Julia Corderoy16 Oct 2014
New home building has reached a nineteen-year high, according to the latest building activity figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

New housing starts decreased by 6.9% over the June quarter, with 45,527 new dwellings commenced. This followed a rise of 8.9% in the March quarter. However, Shane Garrett, senior economist at the Housing Industry Australia says that despite the decline this quarter, today’s figures mean that total starts during 2013/14 was 180,833 – the highest twelve month total since March 1995.

“Back in early 2012 when activity was so low, the prospect of breaking through 180,000 starts within a couple of years was beyond almost everybody’s most optimistic expectations,” he said.

Over the year to June, there was a total increase in new housing construction of 9.2%. This was made up of a 15% increase in detached houses and a 0.9% increase in multi-unit dwellings.  

Although, Garett says there is no avoiding the decrease in new residential housing construction this quarter. 

“The multi-unit dwelling segment saw a sharp fall during the second quarter of this year [-15.1%], with detached house building also nudging down a little [-1.6%]. On the renovations side, the volume of work done also fell, with a 3% reduction in activity during the June 2014 quarter,” he said.

“A number of factors continue to plague the capacity of the new home building sector. These include high taxation, stamp duties, planning restrictions, and delays in making residential land available.

“Failure to tackle these constraints will mean that the ability of the industry to provide for Australia’s long-term housing requirements will continue to be seriously undermined,” he concluded.