Housing construction improves slightly

The government’s first home owner boost, together with very low variable mortgage rates, has helped to drive an increase in the percentage of detached housing starts.

According to figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), detached housing starts in the September quarter grew by 8.4 per cent.

But positive data aside, the Housing Industry Association’s senior economist Ben Phillips said housing starts were still only running at an annualised level of 136,328.

“That is substantially below the level required to meet the demands of a rapidly growing population. Of particular concern is that Australia’s fastest growing states – Queensland and Western Australia – are yet to see a housing recovery,” Mr Phillips said.

“HIA forecasts that commencements will continue to improve over this financial year with growth of at least 9 per cent expected in 2009/10.

Further recovery will be threatened by any lack of progress in reducing the considerable supply side obstacles to residential construction, including re-emerging land and labour shortages,” he said.

The number of housing starts in the September 2009 quarter grew by 6.9 per cent in New South Wales, 9.9 per cent in Tasmania, 53.8 per cent in the Northern Territory, and 23.6 per cent in the Australian Capital Territory.

Housing starts dropped by 2.7 per cent in Victoria, 9.4 per cent in Queensland, 13.1 per cent in South Australia, and 4 per cent in Western Australia.

 

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