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scott lewis
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Use of US design in Australia

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HIA forecasts a healthier home construction industry

Australia's Housing Industry Association (HIA) has forecast that residential construction activity is set to slowly improve over the coming four years.

The HIA marks FY 2012/13 as the turnaround year, with housing starts growing by 11% after two years of significant declines. 

The HIA suggests that the current rather narrow recovery, which it says is located in NSW and WA, will broaden to encompass more of Australia, with the exception of Victoria. The HIA cites the statistic that commencements in NSW grew by 29% in 2012/13 to reach 39,715, the highest level since 2003/04, as evidence of health in the housing market. This is continuing in 2013, with NSW building approvals up by 25.2% in the September quarter.

In terms of the kind of cultural change necessary to overcome these factors and restore the building industry to the health it deserves, it's worth looking at just one change that could have a vast effect on housing: an increase in telecommuting.
If people needed to travel to work only one or two days a week, they would be able to live beyond the current 60km commute zone around capital cities. This opens up whole new areas for residential development.
Telecommuting also radically reduces the burdens on our cities, both in terms of transport and city amenities such as parking.
Radical reduction in inner-city pollution, greenhouse gases and so on.
Business expansion becomes much easier, as less new office space would be required.
This would be a boom for the home improvement industry, as people spending more time at home would want to invest more in their homes. Effectively the money spent on fancy office spaces would be shifted to home renovations.
At the same time more money would be funnelled into semi-rural areas, increasing employment and prosperity beyond the city-centric boundaries Australia currently has.
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