Infrastructure building at 10-year high

Christian Edwards
(Australian Associated Press)

The pace of growth in engineering construction has hit a 10 year high due to big ticket infrastructure projects, offsetting falling levels of apartment building.

The construction industry posted its ninth straight month of growth in October, according to the Australian Industry Group and Housing Industry Association’s Performance of Construction Index, which remained above the 50-point level that indicates growth, despite a slight fall from September.

Engineering construction, led by non-mining work, was at its strongest level in a decade in October.

Home building activity also expanded, though at a slower rate of growth than in the previous month.

CommSec senior economist Ryan Felsman said spending on road, rail and public transport projects was delivering more jobs and higher.

“Infrastructure-related construction work is booming across the nation,” Mr Felsman said.

Ai Group head of policy Peter Burn said commercial construction activity was steady in October, while apartment building continued to decline, though at a slower rate than in the previous two months.

“The outlook for the apartment sub-sector is for a continuation of the orderly retreat from historically high levels that has been evident over the course of 2017,” Dr Burn said.

“There may still be plenty of cranes visible on new apartment sites but there are now many less than was the case a year ago,” Dr Burn said.

Mr Felsman said apartment-related activity continued to contract as new orders and investor demand wanes following the prudential regulator’s tightening of lending standards.


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