Australia’s home building industry beat expectations in starting construction of 228,480 homes in the 2017-18 financial year, a 3.3% increase on the previous financial year, according to ABS data.

“A significant amount of homes commenced construction in the March Quarter of this year – more than the ABS had initially estimated, particularly in the east coast multi-unit market,” says HIA economist Diwa Hopkins.

“The commencement of well over 200,000 homes in 2017-18 will support overall activity in the residential construction sector into 2019, as the building of these homes progresses through to completion.

“While we are expecting new home building conditions in 2019 to remain healthy, today’s figures also indicate that the home building cycle is cooling,” Hopkins says.

Total housing starts declined 5.9% over the June 2018 Quarter, with house starts down 3.8% and unit starts down 8.2%. This follows several years of record construction of new dwellings, particularly with new units and townhouses.