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Building data reveals housing/mining divide

By webmaster
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Building and construction figures recorded a modest rise in the March quarter but also highlighted a growing divide between mining related engineering construction and other building activity, according to Master Builders.

Figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed the total value of construction activity rose 4.9 per cent in the March quarter, seasonally adjusted.

The value of residential building activity climbed a modest 5.4 per cent while engineering recorded a substantial 15.5 per cent rise.

“The latest figures show parts of the industry struggling, confirming evidence from Master Builders’ surveys showing that builders’ face difficulties in commercial and residential areas as stimulus spending programs wind down,” Master Builders chief economist Peter Jones said.

Residential building runs the risk of remaining weak as Reserve Bank rate rises and finance constraints act as a handbrake on the upturn, Mr Jones said.

“For the building and construction industry overall, a sectoral divide is opening up, with strong engineering construction fed by the mining boom contrasting with a weak building sector caught in the slow lane of a post GFC economy struggling to transition to a private sector led recovery.”

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