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Building activity slumps

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Australia’s level of building activity has recorded its biggest decline in 10 years, according to new figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Building activity fell 5.1 per cent in the December quarter, seasonally adjusted, the worst single quarter drop since December 2000, according to Urban Taskforce.

Urban Taskforce chief executive Aaron Gadiel said that non-residential development had plummeted by 9.2 per cent.

“Commercial, retail and industrial building hasn’t fallen this sharply since September 2009,” Mr Gadiel said.

New residential building activity fell by a more modest 1.7 per cent, following a 5.2 per cent fall in the September quarter.

“Residential development activity is clearly is not robust enough,” said Mr Gadiel.

“When we’re facing a national housing undersupply of 200,000 homes, any dip in new residential building activity is unwelcome.”

New residential building activity declined in by 6.7 per cent in Queensland, 5.1 per cent in Tasmania and 3.5 per cent in New South Wales.

On the other hand, new residential building increased in Victoria by 3.3 per cent, while South Australia and Western Australia saw minor increases - 0.9 per cent and 0.2 per cent respectively.

“The drop in New South Wales’ residential development was driven by an 8.4 per cent plunge in new houses, while medium and high density residential construction jumped by 2.5 per cent, buttressed by the state government’s new stamp duty exemption for off-the-plan sales,” Mr Gadiel said.

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