The changing face of the Australian economy has been illustrated by the release of a bi-annual report from the Housing Industry Association (HIA).

Compiled every six months, the HIA’s Housing Scorecard ranks the eight states and territories in terms of who has the strongest residential construction market.

Released yesterday, the most recent score card has seen NSW take top spot.

“The strength of the new home building recovery in New South Wales has elevated the state to the number one ranking for residential building,” HIA economist Geordan Murray said.

“The league table shows Western Australia has dropped to second place after a long reign at the top, and is now only narrowly ahead of Victoria sitting in third,” Murray said.

Murray said NSW’s rise to the top of the score card had been buoyed by the construction sector taking on a bigger role in the economy.

“In the post mining boom era, the focus has been on shifting the drivers of economic growth, which would see eastern states gain prominence,” he said.

“The latest Housing Scorecard highlights that it has been residential building that has picked up the first baton and led the charge.”

The scorecard is put together by the analysis of 14 different indicators and while NSW came out on top overall it wasn’t all plain sailing.

The buoyant housing market has played a significant role in elevating NSW up the rankings, but the rapid price growth has intensified affordability pressures,” Murray said.

“Lending figures reaffirm the challenges facing first home buyers. First home buyer lending highlights this as the weak spot in the housing market, and ranked NSW as the third weakest jurisdiction on this indicator.”

The HIA’s scorecard came a day after a report from BIS Shrapnel that predicted NSW would be the only state where construction levels of new dwellings would continue to grow through 2015/16.