Material cost blow-outs and a shortage of tradies hasn’t stemmed the demand for new homes, with the latest figures showing construction is still above pre-Covid levels even though building fell by 11% in the first quarter of 2022.

HIA Economist Tom Devitt says the recent slowing in commencements is not due to slowing demand.

“Home building activity in the first quarter of 2022 was held back by staff shortages associated with the Omicron outbreak and the higher than usual uptake of holiday leave,” he says.

Devitt says much of the demand is still as a result of builders working through the HomeBuilder grant pipeline.

“Despite the rise in completions and decline in commencement of new homes, the volume of detached work under construction is almost 80% above its pre-pandemic levels,” he says.

Construction of units is also doing well, up 1.8% in the March Quarter to be 30% higher compared with the previous year.