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Work started on 197,972 new homes last year, according to new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, marking a 17.9 per cent jump on the previous year.
The data also show that 48,125 new home starts occurred in the December 2014 quarter, which was up 6.8 per cent.
Starts for new private sector houses jumped 15.4 per cent to 27,826, while starts for other private sector dwellings dropped 2.6 per cent to 19,307.
Housing Industry Association economist Geordan Murray said the composition of construction activity changed during 2014 because of a push towards apartment building in the major capital cities.
“While the detached house building market has certainly participated in the cyclical upswing over the past few years, activity in this part of the market has not reached the peak levels recorded in previous cycles,” Mr Murray said.
“In contrast, the number of ‘other-dwelling’ commencements is well into record territory.”
Meanwhile, the value of building activity in the December 2014 quarter rose 5.3 per cent to $22.3 billion, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
New residential building represented slightly more than half of that activity, after jumping 14.8 per cent to $12.1 billion.
Residential alterations and additions fell 4.9 per cent to $1.7 billion, while non-residential building fell 4.0 per cent to $8.5 billion.