New multi-unit dwelling commencements are growing rapidly while detached houses are being built at a more modest pace, according to data released by the Housing Industry Association (HIA).
In the final quarter of 2013, overall dwelling commencements increased by 8.2 per cent.
Multi-unit commencements, including units, townhouses and apartments, saw a 21.3 per cent jump over the quarter.
On the other hand, detached home building grew by only 0.7 per cent in the same period.
HIA economist Geordan Murray said the data indicated the housing construction industry was outperforming peaks achieved during the GFC.
“Today's data provides confirmation of what leading indicators had been implying – the new home building industry rounded out 2013 on a strong note,” he said.
“Original figures show there were 47,326 dwellings commenced in the December quarter, which was the strongest quarterly result since 2002, even surpassing the highs during the period impacted by the GFC stimulus.”
He said while growth had so far been concentrated in New South Wales and Western Australia, these markets may be reaching their ceilings.
Indeed, both states saw dwelling commencements slow in the last quarter, with New South Wales rising by 2.8 per cent and Western Australian dropping by 1.3 per cent.
Victoria was the standout performer, particularly in multi-unit commencements.
“The most notable contributor to the strong growth in dwelling commencements in the December quarter was Victoria, where commencement numbers jumped 11.3 per cent in the quarter, owing to a 33 per cent jump in multi-unit commencements,” Mr Murray said.