Figures released yesterday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) have revealed a record number of new homes were built in the 12 months to the end of June.

According to the ABS, the number of new homes built rose by 16.9% over the year to sit at 211,976.

Housing Industry Association chief economist Harley Dale said the figures showed Australia’s residential construction industry has been enjoying one of its strongest periods in more than half a century.

"That is a phenomenal result which caps three consecutive years of growth for new home building – only the fifth time in the last 60 years that this feat has been achieved,” Dr Dale said.

“Through its broad reach the new home building sector has delivered a strong economic dividend to Australia during a period when many other sectors of the economy have struggled,” he said.

The record breaking figure came despite a drop during the June quarter, which could be a sign of things to come as the number of new homes to be built is expected to enter a downward trend over the next year, Dale suggested.

The predicted drop-off is expected to be a mild softening, but Dr Dale said there is a chance it could be exacerbated by the current lending environment.

“The key to the short term prospects for new home building is how much work in the pipeline is converted into actual activity – it’s not coming through as quickly now.

“An orderly decline in commencements in 2015/16 remains the most likely outcome. However, the credit rationing aimed at curbing investor activity is having a broad impact and risks generating a sharper fall.”

The ABS figures show there were 53,314 dwellings commenced during the June 2015 quarter, a decline of 3.2% from the March quarter.

Detached house commencements fell by 2.9% in the quarter to 28,046, while apartment and other dwelling commencements declined by 4.9% to 24,482.

Source: HIA/ABS