Housing starts drop to 15-year low: Midday roundup

The number of housing starts fell to a 15 year low in 2012, according to the latest Housing Industry Association-Colorbond steel housing report.

The report shows the number of housing starts among the nation’s 100 largest builders fell by 7.3% to 48,130, the lowest level since 1996-1997.

“This result is consistent with the overall experience of the industry in 2011/12 where new home building conditions weakened considerably across Australia,” HIA chief economist Harley Dale said.

“The HOUSING 100 and the entire industry can deliver, and indeed Australia’s residents have the requirement for, a considerably higher level of housing starts than has been evident over the last couple of years.”

“Within an environment of subdued demand conditions, both unilateral and co-operative policy reform could generate a much healthier year for new home building in 2012/13.”

Alesco shares enter trading halt

Alseco has placed its shares in a trading halt as it continues to hold takeover talks with DuluxGroup about its $210 million takeover bid.

In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange, Alesco said it wants Dulux to consider a proposal regarding the takeover discussions.

“This proposal, if accepted by DuluxGroup, includes the possibility of an additional fully-franked dividend of up to 27 cents per share for all shareholders as part of the offer,” Alesco said in a statement.

“There is no certainty that any agreement can be reached in relation to the proposal.”

Shares down on weak offshore leads

The Australian sharemarket has opened lower this morning following a weak offshore lead after American markets ignored positive economic data.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 19 points or 0.4% to 4,353.9 at 12.10 AEST, while the Australian dollar remained steady at $US1.04.

In the United States, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 101 points or 0.8% to 13,457.



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