More construction needed: RBA

The Reserve Bank of Australia has put out the call for greater construction activity, warning that a housing bubble could result if nothing is done.

RBA assistant governor Phillip Lowe said if the nation's population growth remained strong, more of the economy would need to be devoted towards housing, presenting challenges both to labour markets and governments.

"If this does not happen, further adjustment in housing prices and rents is likely to occur to balance supply and demand," Mr Lowe said.

Australian home prices surged 13.6 per cent last year, as a strong economy and robust population growth spurred buyers to push prices higher on limited availability. At the same time bottlenecks in the new home construction have curtailed supply, adding to price pressures.

Delays on planning approvals and a shortage of skilled tradesmen - a problem likely to worsen as the mining boom looks set to return – have also been contributing to rising costs in the sector.

Recent statistics from RP Data found that Australia’s most expensive homes are likely to rise in price by 10 to 15 per cent this year.

Earlier this week, a 1950s beachhouse, described as ‘liveable’, was sold to a local buyer for $7.35 million.

RP Data found NSW and WA luxury sales were the strongest in the last quarter of last year in comparison to the corresponding period in 2008.

In NSW, 45 homes sold for more than $5 million each, compared with 40 the year before.

Similarly, in WA, 13 properties were sold for more than $5 million, compared with one in 2008.

The Reserve Bank of Australia has put out the call for greater construction activity, warning that a housing bubble could result if nothing is done.

RBA assistant governor Phillip Lowe said if the nation's population growth remained strong, more of the economy would need to be devoted towards housing, presenting challenges both to labour markets and governments.

"If this does not happen, further adjustment in housing prices and rents is likely to occur to balance supply and demand," Mr Lowe said.

Australian home prices surged 13.6 per cent last year, as a strong economy and robust population growth spurred buyers to push prices higher on limited availability. At the same time bottlenecks in the new home construction have curtailed supply, adding to price pressures.

Delays on planning approvals and a shortage of skilled tradesmen - a problem likely to worsen as the mining boom looks set to return – have also been contributing to rising costs in the sector.

Recent statistics from RP Data found that Australia’s most expensive homes are likely to rise in price by 10 to 15 per cent this year.

Earlier this week, a 1950s beachhouse, described as ‘liveable’, was sold to a local buyer for $7.35 million.

RP Data found NSW and WA luxury sales were the strongest in the last quarter of last year in comparison to the corresponding period in 2008.

In NSW, 45 homes sold for more than $5 million each, compared with 40 the year before.

Similarly, in WA, 13 properties were sold for more than $5 million, compared with one in 2008.

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