Australian housing sector 'is in recession'

Bosses at the Housing Industry Association (HIA) have suggested that Australia's property sector is undoubtedly in recession.

The organisation highlighted the latest house building figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which confirmed that construction activity contracted again in the first quarter of 2012.

According to the data, the number of new developments that got off the ground during the three-month period was down by 1.9 per cent and this was the fourth consecutive quarterly decline.

Earlier this month, HIA representatives insisted that the country's existing housing system is unsustainable in the long term and these new figures will have done nothing to change their mind.

Mortgage uptake is still subdued and HIA senior economist Andrew Harvey believes the weak housing sector is a major problem.

"As the residential building industry continues to contract, we are seeing real consequences for jobs, small businesses, the supply of new housing and rental costs," he remarked.

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