The amount of new residential building work fell in the June 2009 quarter, indicating that a possible recovery in the housing shortage problem is still well off.
According to figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), seasonally adjusted work done on new residential dwellings fell by 1.2 per cent in the June 2009 quarter to an annualised worth of $33.2 billion, down 6.5 per cent on last year.
On a state basis, new residential work done fell by 1.8 per cent in South Australia, 0.4 per cent in New South Wales, and 0.2 per cent in Western Australia, but increased by 5.5 per cent in Victoria and 5.6 per cent in Tasmania.
“We are on the cusp of a moderate recovery in new home starts and that should feed through to a positive year for new dwelling investment in 2009/10,” the Housing Industry Association’s (HIA) chief economist Harley Dale said.
However, the sixth consecutive decline in the worth of dwelling commencements in the June 2009 quarter highlights the fact that dwelling investment has not turned the corner yet.
"Even before adding rising interest rates to the mix, there are a number of factors likely to constrain the increase in new housing supply over the next 18 months, including projects bogged down in the approvals process, lack of available finance, and the very real threat that we will see residential land shortages reemerge and skilled labour shortages across the construction sector intensify,” Mr Dale said.
“These factors suggest that the recent gains in affordability will reverse and that the considerable pressure lower income rental households face from tight rental market conditions will remain with us for some time to come.”