House construction and renovation peaked in 2004

The Housing Industry Association said the housing sector faced a gentle decline this year but the prospect of a plunge was unlikely. The HIA said total investment in housing fell by nearly 5 per cent in the second half of 2004. The HIA said that after surging by nearly 50 per cent in three years, the number of housing starts was expected to fall by 12 per cent in 2004/05 and by a further 4 per cent in 2005/06, to a level of around 145,600. Renovation activity also looked to have peaked and was forecast to fall by around 6 per cent over 2004/05 and 2006/07. First home buyers rose to 16.4 per cent of total home buyers in January, 2004, up from just 12.6 per cent in the total last year.