Housing construction boomed in the March Quarter, as commencements of new units rose to ever-higher levels.


New starts of apartments and semi-detached houses rose 11% in the first three months of the year to a record 31,261, according to ABS figures. The strong multi-unit numbers drove total dwelling starts to a new high of 59,684.


The commencement figures, detailing projects actually begun, show the strong pipeline of housing that is still under way.


“It does look as if housing starts are playing catch-up to the strong pipeline of approvals that’s come through over the last 12 months,” ANZ economist Daniel Gradwell says. “But further growth in starts might be hard from there, unless we get further growth in approvals coming through.”


The figures also revealed the growth in apartments in Brisbane that is raising concerns about an oversupply. In the December Quarter of 2012, Queensland chalked up 9,897 commencements of units and townhouses. In the March Quarter this year, it stood at 31,176.


Gradwell says: “It’s three times higher than in December 2012. That’s fuelling concern about oversupply. We’re not necessarily there yet, but it’s definitely feeding into that discussion.”