Australia has more new homes and apartments under construction than ever before, the latest data shows.

Releasing its latest Building Activity report (for the March quarter), the Australian Bureau of Statistics said that the overall number of dwelling units under construction throughout Australia rose by 2.9 percent from the previous record of 233,274 dwellings in the December quarter to a new record of 240,065 dwellings in the March quarter.

Leading the way is the private detached home sector, whereby the number of dwellings under construction has risen from 57,007 as at March 31 in 2020 to 101,240 as at March 31 this year.

Amid growing investment in social housing, there has also been an almost tripling of public sector homes under construction – albeit with this sector comprising only 1.7 percent of overall homes under construction.

Meanwhile, whilst there was a 6.7 percent drop in new home commencements in the March quarter, this is attributable to a worker shortage during the early part of the Omicron outbreak.

Indeed, recent building approval data suggests that demand for new home construction remains at healthy levels despite having eased from recent peaks.

Finally, with completions for single detached homes recording their second highest quarterly reading on record (30,813 – seasonally adjusted), there is evidence that the industry is making gradual but continued progress in working its way through the HomeBuilder pipeline.

HIA Economist Tom Devitt says the latest data is a further sign that home builders will remain busy throughout the remainder of 2022 and in 2023.

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

“This was driven by the combination of the HomeBuilder grant and record low interest rates. Even after the end of the grant, all the extra time Australians were spending at home either working or locked down, resulted in a pandemic trend towards space and amenity. This kept demand for new housing and renovations elevated. Other indicators, such as building approvals, finance approvals and new home sales, continue to show a strong volume of work entering the pipeline.

“In addition to this, the multi-units market is also continuing to strengthen. Multi-unit commencements increased by 1.8 per cent in the March 2022 quarter to be 29.7 per cent up in the last 12 months compared to the previous year. This improvement has been seen in both high-rise and medium density units.

“With interest rates and the cost of building increasing rapidly, affordability constraints will increasingly push home buyers back towards more affordable, higher density living and with the return of migration, demand for units should continue to strengthen.

“The combination of all these demand and supply factors – an enormous pipeline of detached and renovations work, rising interest rates, the return of overseas migrants, and ongoing supply constraints – will keep Australian builders busy in 2023.”