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Home Building Drives Construction Growth In Australia

The construction industry continued to expand close to the record pace set in March, with activity in April remained buoyed.

CANBERRA, Australia — Australia’s construction industry continues to grow at close to record highs as a successful government initiative leaves its mark on home building activity.

While the Australian Industry Group/Housing Industry Association performance of construction index eased 2.7 points in April, at 59.1 it indicates the sector remains comfortably in expansion territory.

The index reached a record high in March.

“Australia’s construction sector continued to power ahead in April led by house building and engineering construction,” Australian Industry Group head of policy Peter Burn said.

“Across the industry, employment and new orders were both higher in April.”

Housing Industry Association economist Tom Devitt said the uptake of the Morrison government’s HomeBuilder scheme had beaten all expectations.

The HomeBuilder program ended in March, but the government has since extended the deadline to begin construction by an additional 12 months.

“The extension of HomeBuilder’s commencement deadlines means builders will be able to meet much more of this record demand over the coming year and fewer homebuyers will have to suffer the disappointment of cancellation due to capacity constraints,” Devitt said.

The number of private sector houses approved edged up 0.1 percent to 14,117 to a new record high and buoyed by the federal government’s HomeBuilder program that finished in March. (Steven Saphore/AAP Image)

HomeBuilder provides eligible owner-occupiers (including first home buyers) with a grant to build a new home, substantially renovate an existing home or buy an off-the-plan home/new home.

HomeBuilder forms part of a range of Australian Government initiatives intended to support confidence in the residential construction sector and encourage consumers to proceed with purchases or renovations that may have been delayed due to uncertainty around the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The HomeBuilder is administered by the States and Territories. The Commonwealth does not process HomeBuilder applications.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics will release building approval figures for March later on May 4. The Australian Bureau of Statistics is the independent statutory agency of the Australian Government responsible for statistical collection and analysis, and for giving evidence-based advice to federal, state, and territory governments.

Economists’ forecasts center on a three percent rise in the month, although National Australia Bank expects it could be as high as 10 percent given the rush to apply for the HomeBuilder grant before the end of March.

Approvals for private houses surged 15.1 percent in February, exceeding the previous record high set in December last year.

National Australia Bank is one of the four largest financial institutions in Australia in terms of market capitalization, earnings, and customers. The bank was ranked 21st largest bank in the world measured by market capitalization and 52nd largest bank in the world as measured by total assets in 2019.

(Edited by Vaibhav Vishwanath Pawar and Ritaban Misra)

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