Australia built more houses than ever before in the September quarter of last year.
According to figures released by the Australian Bureau of statistics today, new residential dwelling starts rose by 0.5% to 55,532 during the quarter in seasonally adjusted terms, leaving the annual increase at 2.0%.
Over the past 12 months, detached housing starts, at 114,000, marginally outpaced a 99,000 increase in multi-dwelling complexes such as town houses and units.
As home to the hottest housing markets in 2015, along with sheer population size, the largest number of starts occurred in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.
The chart below from CBA shows the sharp divergence in housing construction across the country.
Michael Workman, senior economist at the CBA, forecasts that dwelling commencements are likely to number around 220,000 for 2015, the highest level on record should it eventuate.
“We expect dwelling commencements to reach a record 220,000 in 2015,” wrote Workman following the release of today’s report.
“The forward-looking building approvals data are running at 230,000 in annual terms, so there is a considerable pipeline of construction coming.”
The chart below, also from CBA, reveals the close relationship between the forward-looking building approvals survey from the ABS and dwelling starts.
Based on the approvals pipeline, Workman suggests that residential construction is likely to hit its cyclical peak in the first half of 2016 before moving lower, leaving the annual total at around 211,000.
He also suggests the record building boom has both its pros and cons, depending on who you speak to.
“The record level of residential construction is a much needed offset to the decline in mining-related construction activity,” he wrote.
“Higher construction will gradually restore a more balanced outcome in capital city housing markets” with “higher supply to downward pressures on dwelling prices through 2016”.