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New apartments fuelling growth in Australian construction sector

A significant increase in new apartment buildings saw the Australian construction industry grow at its fastest pace for two-and-a-half years during May 2017, according to new data.
The latest edition of the monthly Performance of Construction Index (PCI) from the AI Group and the Housing Industry Association (HIA) awarded the country's construction sector a score of 56.7 for May, up from the previous month's rating of 51.9. This is the biggest monthly increase since November 2015.
Any PCI score above 50.0 indicates growth for the month, with May's score attributed to a marked rise in approvals for the construction of new apartment buildings, which will provide a significant boost to the nation's residential sector.
In addition, many apartment buildings were granted approval last year, with building work on these now underway. By the time they come to market later this year, these developments are likely to attract property investors who will prevent the housing boom from ending too suddenly, as some experts have suggested could be the case.
Indeed, Shane Garrett, a senior economist with the HIA, commented: "There are already signs that the large volume of newly-built apartments becoming available for occupation in Sydney and Melbourne is taking some of the edge out of dwelling price inflation in Australia's two largest cities - good news from an affordability perspective."
Julie Toth, chief economist at AI Group, added that the latest PCI data suggests that "this boom in apartment activity still has some way to run".
With this in mind, now could be a good time for first-time buyers and property investors from overseas to take advantage of the Australian property market.
This month's PCI showed that engineering construction was the strongest-performing section of the industry overall, with its rate of growth throughout May coming in at its highest level for nine-and-a-half years. This rapid increase is being attributed to a rise in non-mining infrastructure work across Australia.

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