Suppliers of building materials are set to benefit as detached houses take over from high-rise apartments as a driver of residential construction activity, a conference has heard.

Speaking at his firm’s Business Forecasting Conference in Melbourne, BIS Shrapnel managing director Robert Mellor predicted ground would break on a record 203,000 houses and apartments in 2014/15. He expects the surge in multi-residential dwellings to continue, with continued undersupply in New South Wales driving activity in that state, activity…