Yearly increase in residential construction work, despite decrease over June quarter

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The value of new residential construction work completed fell nationally by 3% in seasonal terms for the June 2015 quarter according to figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

However, the latest ABS Construction Work Done report shows for the 12 months to June 30 the value of new residential construction work done across the country had improved by 10.6%.

That increase has been driven by significant annual improvements in the value of residential work completed in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania.

The Property Council of Australia’s residential executive director Nick Proud said the figures showed the importance the construction industry to Australia’s economy and while the quarterly drop was not a cause for panic, it should not be ignored.

“The activity underway is still very strong, however the drop over the quarter posted by most states could be signs of a slowing in commencements,” Proud said.

“This is something to watch as we can’t afford to see new construction levels weaken. Maintaining high activity is crucial to keep pace with housing demand, population growth and job creation,” he said.

Proud said in particular, attention should be paid to construction activity in Queensland and South Australia.

“States such as Queensland and South Australia posted declines in the value of work done in the June quarter of 10.2% and 16.2 respectively which needs to be monitored over the forward updates,” he said.

“The value of residential construction work done in Queensland is the best it’s been since 2010, however the 2015 result still sits below the ten year annual average.”

Proud also called on policy makers ensure sufficient land release occurs in the future to support the demand for housing.

“The ABS data shows good annualised levels of activity are flowing through the residential industry and the industry is in the midst of a strong patch but supply side efficiencies will be needed to support this activity long term.

“Governments need to focus on supply side efficiencies in land release, improvements to development assessment and reform of inefficient taxes such as stamp duty to create prosperity, jobs and strong communities.”

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