A record year of housing construction in Australia is set to be even bigger than first expected. The Housing Industry Association is forecasting 143,700 new builds this year, plus record levels of renovation activity.

In February, it predicted there would be 130,000 detached homes built in 2021. The new figure is 20% higher than the 120,000 detached home construction record set in 2018.

HIA economist Angela Lillicrap says the surge in activity will keep tradies and builders busy until 2022 and may not be repeated for years or even decades.

“The key challenge for the industry has shifted from a slump in demand, this time last year, to having sufficient supply of materials, labour and land to satisfy this demand,” Lillicrap says.

She says that with the Federal Government’s $25,000 and $15,000 HomeBuilder grants schemes driving many of the builds, a recent extension to the time buyers have to get their build under way will alleviate some of the trade and supply shortage issues.

The HomeBuilder scheme has attracted 121,000 applications around the nation, 99,253 of them for new homes. Applications closed in March, but the timeline to start building has been extended from 6 to 18 months.