Housing Industry Association (HIA), the voice of Australia’s residential building industry, reveals that the latest building activity data from ABS for the March 2014 quarter confirms a strong recovery for new home building.

According to HIA Chief Economist, Harley Dale, new dwelling commencements rose by a strong 8.7 per cent in the March 2014 quarter, including a 12.8 per cent surge in detached houses. With the sole exception of South Australia, all states and territories experienced growth in the quarter.

Harley Dale observes that the annual level of new dwelling commencements at 176,891 is at its highest since late 2010 and is approaching historical peaks. He notes that the new home building segment seems to be performing better than the economy currently; importantly, the impact of new housing into parts of the retail, manufacturing, and supply sectors is providing a crucial economic dividend for the nation.

According to Harley Dale, the Government need to harness this momentum and use it as the platform for enacting real housing policy reform. Observing that it is important to have a structural increase in the number of homes to be built in the years ahead to support the needs of the growing and ageing population, he said these goals cannot be achieved with low interest rates and limited housing supply reforms.

Total dwelling commencements increased the most in the Australian Capital Territory (31.6 per cent), followed by Victoria (15.4 per cent), Western Australia (12.1 per cent), the Northern Territory (5.9 per cent), Tasmania (5.3 per cent), New South Wales (2.5 per cent) and Queensland (1.3 per cent). South Australia saw dwelling commencements fall by 7.8 per cent.

There was a rise of 0.8 per cent in the value of larger alterations and additions in the March 2014 quarter. However, expenditure in this segment remains modest.