The construction industry saw impressive expansion in August, the first in ten months, as the continuously improving residential building sector pushed activity as a whole ever higher, it has been reported.
The Performance of Construction Index by the Australian Industry Group (AIG) and the Housing Industry Association (HIA) climbed by some 6.7 points in August to hit a level of 53.8. This marks a positive, with any reading higher than 50 in the index indicating a growth in the industry's activity.
Apartment building was the strongest performer in August, continuing along its strong path, even as it saw a slight fall in activity from July, when it managed to reach an 11-month high.
House building also expanded, with a 4.4 point rise to 54.4, following performance in July that saw it stabilise after falling earlier in the year. A continued demand for homes, particularly in the summer months ahead will mean that construction could still see more positives by the end of the year.
Commercial construction saw the start of what could be an impressive return to form, and although it still remains slower than its residential counterpart, it is now seeing real recovery from poor conditions earlier in 2015.
According to the report, construction rose by a solid 9.4 points to 54.6 in August after having experienced nine straight months of declines.
HIA chief economist Harley Dale said there was cause for cautious optimism thanks to the performance of the residential building market, which he described as "remaining strong".
However, he said that other building sectors will need to pick up in terms of activity moving forward if they are to help the industry as a whole continue to see positives. Commercial building's small uptick in August will raise hopes that it sees more such positives in the months ahead.