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Apartment building hits five-month low

Christian Edwards  |  07 Sep 2017Text size  Decrease  Increase  |  
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SYDNEY - [AAP] A drop in apartment building tempered overall construction activity in August, though the sector continues to grow due to large engineering projects and house building.

The Ai Group and Housing Industry Association Performance of Construction Index (PCI) fell 5.2 points from its record high in July, to 55.3 points, remaining above the 50-point level indicating expansion.

House building and engineering construction were the major drivers of construction growth in August, with the rollout of large infrastructure projects offsetting a decline in apartment building and softening commercial construction.

Ai Group head of policy, Peter Burn, said construction activity, employment, and new orders all lifted again in August despite the pull-back in the pace of construction industry growth.

"Housing and engineering construction were the major sectoral contributors with activity in apartment building falling and commercial construction treading water after the dizzy heights reached in July," Mr Burn said.

Apartment building activity contracted in August, with an index reading of 44.7 points the lowest for the sector in five months.

Apartment builders pointed to a slowdown in activity for August across all significant measurements--new orders, enquiries, and investor activity.

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Ai Group senior economist Shane Garrett said this downturn in new residential building will continue to unfold over the coming years.

However, a continuation of fresh orders outside apartments energised industry growth.

"The very solid pipeline of infrastructure work is providing a major boost to the overall economy and is picking up at least some of the slack left by the retreat of mining-related investment," Dr Burn said.


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