Renovations outdoing home building

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Renovations are the only source of growth for the housing industry this year, it has been claimed.

Final figures released yesterday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show residential building fell 4.1% in the June quarter. Meanwhile, major alterations and additions increased 2.6% in volume for the quarter. Housing Industry Association chief economist Harley Dale said the figures show "a tale of two halves" in home building activity.

"Renovations activity, both in terms of major jobs which we received an update on ... and smaller jobs valued at less than $10,000, is the source of growth in the housing industry post in 2011," Dale said.

Dale commented that the results indicate reticence on the part of households to move or upgrade, with many homeowners choosing to stay put and make improvements to their existing home.

"This situation reflects an inherently more cautious household sector post the GFC, together with the excessive taxation of new housing and very high stamp duty incurred when moving home," Dale remarked.

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