After a lacklustre performance in 2005, new home commencements underwent a noticeable upswing for March quarter 2006, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Commencements of multi-unit dwellings led the charge, surging upwards by 25.7% over the March quarter. Detached house starts increased by 4% in the March quarter to reach a level 5.3% higher than a year earlier.
Following a 12% fall in the second half of 2005, housing industry groups welcomed the March quarter result. "A big recovery in apartments and modest growth in detached houses has seen dwelling commencements get off to a healthy start in 2006.
"This situation for the March quarter was reflected in most states and territories and that is certainly a positive update for the housing industry," said the Housing Industry Association's chief economist, Harley Dale.
Dale was quick to point out, however that the March quarter figures did not encapsulate the May increase in official interest rate data. "A recovery in 2006/07 is still on the cards, although the higher and more uncertain interest rate climate could well restrain that recovery," said Dale.
On a state-by-state basis, the number of housing starts increased everywhere except in Queensland and the Northern Territory. Starts were up by 42% in the ACT and rose by 41% in New South Wales, 29% in South Australia, 8% in Tasmania, 7% in Western Australia and 1% in Victoria.