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11 November 2020
THE LATEST regional building approvals figures confirm HomeBuilder is continuing to feed demand for new homes – but builders and buyers are still being starved of an extension to the grant, vital to bolstering the industry into 2021.
ABS figures for September show the demand for new housing is greatest in Far North Queensland, with the number of dwelling approvals jumping a staggering 72 per cent over the last three months. The North Queensland and the Wide Bay Burnett regions also saw a 48 per cent increase, while Greater Brisbane saw 5,114 houses and multi-unit dwellings get the green light – a 19 per cent change.
The news wasn’t so positive for the Gold Coast, with approvals there plunging 30 per cent, put down to a shortage of available land. Likewise, Downs & Western dropped by 11 per cent.
Master Builders Deputy CEO Paul Bidwell said the mixed results across the regions add further weight to the industry’s calls for HomeBuilder to be extended until the end of 2021.
“It makes sense to make the most of the existing demand and ensure anyone who is in a position to take advantage of the grant can do so,” Mr Bidwell said.
“What we don’t want to see is that demand fall away once the grant is off the table, leaving builders and our economy high and dry once the current crop of homes is complete.
“Extending the grant, and the construction commencement timeframe from three to six months, would help guarantee our industry more work in months to come.
“Extending HomeBuilder would allow more larger-scale apartment projects to access the scheme, giving a boost to regional economies that have not benefited to date.
Mr Bidwell said the September figures also highlight the ongoing shortage for the commercial sector. Over the last three months these continued to languish, down 1.3 per cent state-wide, with the Sunshine Coast (-76 per cent), Central Coast (-52 per cent) and Gold Coast (-42 per cent) the heaviest hit.
“We already know commercial and residential construction are ranked as one of the top three sectors to lead Australia’s post-COVID economic recovery – but we need to future-proof our industry to ensure that recovery is sustainable in the longer term.
“Our message to the federal and state governments remains clear – give us the tools we need so we can get on with the job.”
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