The Housing Industry Association (HIA) sees a “brighter outlook” for the Western Australia building industry this year in its latest quarterly economic and industry report.

“After more than five years of declines, the Western Australia home building industry is starting 2020 with a much brighter outlook,” said Cath Hart, executive director at HIA.

The report, which includes forecasts for new home building and renovations activity in Australia and each of the eight states and territories, pointed to several indicators suggesting that the WA’s building industry started the year in the “right direction.”

“Population growth is increasing thanks to overseas migration and continues to improve and we’re seeing an easing in the rate of interstate migrants leaving the state,” said Hart. “Building approvals and private new house sales in Western Australia both finished off 2019 with a bang, jumping in the final quarter. New home lending was also heading in the right direction last year. The rental market has been strengthening, with rental prices improving since late 2018 and vacancy rates declining since mid-2016. [And] first home buyers have also started taking on larger loans which is traditionally a precursor in Western Australia to a broader recovery in dwelling prices.”

Hart said that she’s confident that WA will see a “slow and steady recovery throughout 2020.”

“Western Australia obviously went through a deep and protracted slump following the mining and resources boom but we are now in a situation where home building activity is undershooting demographic demand so the recovery is long overdue,” she said.