The value of building work done spiked over the March 2021 quarter, driven by the residential sector, according to new data.
Preliminary figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) have revealed that the seasonally adjusted estimate for total construction work done rose by 2.4 per cent to around $52.0 billion.
The value of building work increased by 2.5 per cent over the March 2021 quarter to $30.1 billion, but this represented a 1.8 per cent decrease since March 2020, ABS figures showed.
The quarterly growth in the value of building work done was driven by the residential sector, where the value of work done increased by 5.1 per cent over the March 2021 quarter and 4.2 per cent since March 2020 to $19.0 billion.
However, the value of work done in the non-residential sector plummeted by 10.4 per cent since March 2020 and 1.6 per cent in the March 2021 quarter to total $11.2 billion, according to the ABS.
Performances varied across the states, with the value of construction work done rising in NSW in the March 2021 quarter by 3.6 per cent to $16.0 billion, while it also increased in South Australia (9.0 per cent to $3.1 billion), Western Australia (9.8 per cent to $7.4 billion), and the ACT (3.6 per cent to $879.3 million).
However, values dropped in the Northern Territory (16.4 per cent to $522.7 million), Victoria (down 3.7 per cent to $13.6 billion), Queensland (down 1.7 per cent to $9.7 billion) and Tasmania (6.2 per cent to $776.3 million).
Meanwhile, engineering work done rose by 2.2 per cent in the March 2021 quarter to $21.8 billion, but this represented a 0.3 per cent decline since March 2020, the data showed.
Work done on detached houses at near record: HIA
The Housing Industry Association's (HIA) analysis of the ABS data showed that work done on detached houses increased by 10.1 per cent in the March quarter to $9.9 billion, while renovations activity increased by 10.8 per cent over this period to $2.8 billion.
Commenting on the ABS figures, HIA economist Angela Lillicrap said the figures have shown that work done on detached houses and renovations “surged” in the March quarter.
“Work done on detached houses reached a near-record level in the March quarter,” Ms Lillicrap said.
“More growth is expected in coming quarters, with a record 146,000 detached housing starts expected in the 12 months to September 2021. Work done on renovations was the highest on record in the March quarter. This is expected to remain elevated in 2021.”
While noting that the HomeBuilder program has been the key driver of the surge in activity, Ms Lillicrap also attributed the growth to other factors such as record-low interest rates and a change in preferences towards detached housing.
Federal Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar also commented on the ABS data, stating that the construction work done data has indicated that the economic recovery has been driven by tradies amid the rise in detached housing and renovation numbers.
He said: “Work undertaken in the construction industry across the states and territories for the March quarter is reaching near-record levels in the detached housing sector.
“Our HomeBuilder program has played a vital role in achieving this outcome. The fact that 146,000 housing starts are expected to be completed up to September 2021 is not only a fantastic result for this part of the housing sector but for jobs in construction as well.”
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