new house structure building construction
Image – Canva.
  • ABS figures said number of new houses on the rise, 18.6% overall (Sep to Dec 2020)
  • Private houses up 35.7% year on year
  • Apartments and other properties down 6.7% year on year

The federal government’s HomeBuilder grant is now distant in the rearview mirror, with constructions seeing continued movement.

Whether it is enough to assuage the mounting concerns from buyers who are relying on the grant to see homes built is another matter.

As it stands

Building activity details were recently released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

So far things look positive, with increases all around for the commencement of buildings, be it houses, or other developments like apartments, townhouses and so on.

The ABS puts the numbers as follows for the September to December 2020 quarter:

  • Seasonally adjusted estimate for total dwellings started up 18.6%,
  • Houses commenced building up 26.6%, and
  • Other residential buildings commenced: 4.1%.

Looking at year on year change the numbers are:

  • Total dwellings started up 19.4%,
  • Houses commenced building up 35.7%, and
  • Other residential buildings, down 6.7%.

Historically, it seems to be a healthy uptick as the graph below shows.

Dwelling units commenced, seasonally adjusted
Source – ABS.

Frustrations abound

The widely reported tradie and materials shortages are keeping many grant holders up at night.

The six-month commencement deadline is fast approaching for the federal grant: 4 June this year, and buyer worry has been widely reported; potential new homeowners are worried they might be slapped with an extra $25,000 bill if their house doesn’t turn first sod in time.

The Western Australian grant deadline on the other hand is further off, WA providing builders 12 months to commence construction.

Executive Director of Property Council WA, Sandra Brewer, told The Property Tribune there is undoubtedly considerable pressure on the building industry to meet the federal grant deadlines, and a number of steps can be taken to accelerate progress.

“The property industry is taking important steps to fast-track commencements where possible. For example, land developers waiting for titles to be issued for blocks are providing access rights to civil contractors to begin site works.”

It’s a team effort, and the near-universal calls for a commencement deadline extension were echoed by Ms Brewer:

“It would be a welcome relief to receive an extension to the June 2021 deadline.”

Sandra Brewer, Executive Director, Property Council WA

Growing the local workforce is another pertinent issue, Ms Brewer told The Property Tribune, needed to be addressed:

“Efforts to attract additional skilled labour to WA is also key to ensuring the industry is able to meet growing residential construction demand.”

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