Na­tional sur­vey of builders points to signs of im­prove­ment

Australasian Timber - - BUILDING FOCUS -

AMASTER Builders sur­vey of build­ing and con­struc­tion shows in­dus­try sen­ti­ment hold­ing up, de­spite a re­cent de­te­ri­o­ra­tion in some of the lead­ing in­di­ca­tors.

“In­dus­try sen­ti­ment showed signs of im­prove­ment in the Septem­ber quar­ter is­sue of Mas­ter Builders quar­terly Na­tional Sur­vey of Build­ing and Con­struc­tion. Builder con­fi­dence re­mained on firm ground, gain­ing 0.7 points on the Mas­ter Builders Build­ing and Con­struc­tion Mar­ket Index (BCMI), sup­ported by a bounce in sales con­tracts and a loos­en­ing of skills short­age con­straints,” said Matthew Pol­lock, Na­tional Man­ager Hous­ing.

“By sec­tor, house builders for de­tached hous­ing were the most pos­i­tive, par­tic­u­larly in New South Wales, Vic­to­ria and Queens­land where strong pop­u­la­tion growth con­tin­ues to sup­port a healthy pipeline of work-on-the-books. Th­ese re­sults show that while ac­tiv­ity in in­ner-city apart­ment mar­kets may drop off over the next two years, broader in­dus­try sen­ti­ment re­mains pos­i­tive,” he said.

“Sen­ti­ment here is sup­ported by ABS sta­tis­tics which show res­i­den­tial con­struc­tion work hold­ing up - up by 1.2% in the June quar­ter 2016 to be 6.6% up on over the year,” Mr Pol­lock said.

“But ar­eas of vul­ner­a­bil­ity re­main,” he warned.

“Non-res­i­den­tial builders have low­ered profit ex­pec­ta­tions and non­res­i­den­tial work-on-the-books is soft. Typ­i­cally, th­ese are good lead­ing in­di­ca­tors for in­dus­try prospects, with the cur­rent re­sults point­ing to a slower pe­riod for the na­tion’s non­res­i­den­tial builders,” he said.

“The CBD of­fice mar­kets in Perth and Bris­bane re­main a lin­ger­ing weight on broader sec­toral busi­ness con­di­tions as the re­source boom hang­over con­tin­ues to cast a long shadow. Other pock­ets of vul­ner­a­bil­ity in­clude in­ner-city apart­ment mar­kets, and pretty much the en­tire en­gi­neer­ing con­struc­tion sec­tor.

“In terms of em­ploy­ment, the sur­vey shows labour avail­abil­ity has loos­ened across the board, with all con­struc­tion re­lated oc­cu­pa­tions cov­ered in the Sur­vey show­ing index val­ues of be­low 50.

“The loos­en­ing of labour mar­ket con­di­tions is good news as long as build­ing ac­tiv­ity holds steady, but less pos­i­tive prospects go­ing for­ward may pose a risk to em­ploy­ment. Jobs may be at risk if build­ing ac­tiv­ity was to de­te­ri­o­rate be­yond cur­rent mar­ket ex­pec­ta­tions,” he said.

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