Residential construction falls

THE Housing Industry Association has called for urgent government action to help the residential building industry after housing starts fell to an 11-year low in the June quarter.

Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday showed new residential construction work done fell 2.5% in the June quarter, with detached houses falling 3.5%.

HIA chief economist Harley Dale said the fall was the fifth in a row and was a wake-up call to governments to take action to encourage building, rather than wait for more, unlikely, interest rate falls.

"Federal and state governments need to get out there and act on investment and reform initiatives to help revive the residential construction industry," he said.

"New residential work done has been falling since the June quarter last year and is now running at an 11-year low, worse than experienced during the global financial crisis.

"That situation is unhealthy and undesirable for Australian businesses and households, while federal and state governments are too slow in taking action."

Work on larger renovations and additions also fell by 2.3% in the June quarter, a sector which usually holds up during falls in new residential building starts.