Elec­tion re­sult boosts build­ing sec­tor

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

BUSI­NESS con­fi­dence in the out­look for the econ­omy and build­ing and con­struc­tion in­dus­try has surged to its high­est level in three and a half years, ac­cord­ing to Mas­ter Builders lat­est Sur­vey of In­dus­try Con­di­tions for the Septem­ber 2013 quar­ter.

Deputy ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Paul Bid­well said the swell in con­fi­dence can be at­trib­uted to the strong fed­eral elec­tion re­sult in Septem­ber and favourable eco­nomic con­di­tions.

‘‘Mas­ter Builders is con­fi­dent that th­ese con­di­tions will trans­late into in­creased hous­ing ac­tiv­ity in the com­ing months, on the back of pos­i­tive fac­tors such as low in­ter­est rates, solid pop­u­la­tion growth and sta­ble em­ploy­ment fig­ures,’’ Mr Bid­well said.

‘‘ The build­ing and con­struc­tion in­dus­try has def­i­nitely em­braced the end of mi­nor­ity gov­ern­ment, which will go a long way to­wards im­prov­ing the un­cer­tain po­lit­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment and pro­vid­ing more sta­bil­ity for the econ­omy.

‘‘The Septem­ber 2013 quar­ter Sur­vey of In­dus­try Con­di­tions found that con­di­tions in the res­i­den­tial sec­tor im­proved for the fourth quar­ter in a row, al­though com­mer­cial sec­tor con­di­tions did re­main chal­leng­ing and con­di­tions over­all re­main at less than sat­is­fac­tory lev­els.

‘‘For­tu­nately, both sec­tors are fore­cast to im­prove fur­ther over the next three months, which is wel­come news for the in­dus­try.

‘‘Another pos­i­tive was the up­ward trend of dis­play cen­tre traf­fic, which is a sign that the re­cent string of in­ter­est rate cuts may fi­nally be get­ting some trac­tion in the res­i­den­tial mar­ket.’’

The sur­vey showed the most crit­i­cal con­straint on busi­ness was the lack­lus­tre level of de­mand for the tenth quar­ter in a row.

Mas­ter Builders Sur­vey of In­dus­try Con­di­tions re­port pro­vides in­for­ma­tion and anal­y­sis on in­dus­try ex­pec­ta­tions and busi­ness per­for­mance, based on a sur­vey of Mas­ter Builders mem­bers across Queens­land.

Mean­while, the de­mand for skilled labour in Aus­tralia’s res­i­den­tial con­struc­tion in­dus­try in­creased in the Septem­ber 2013 quar­ter, ac­cord­ing to the Hous­ing In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion, the voice of Aus­tralia’s res­i­den­tial build­ing in­dus­try.

The HIA Trades Re­port, a quar­terly sur­vey of builders and sub­con­trac­tors, shows that the avail­abil­ity of skilled trades fell mod­er­ately dur­ing the Septem­ber 2013 quar­ter, in­di­cat­ing an im­prove­ment in labour de­mand. Trade price de­vel­op­ments were again be­nign with growth still slower than the rate of gen­eral in­fla­tion.

HIA chief econ­o­mist Dr Har­ley Dale said ‘‘The avail­abil­ity of res­i­den­tial skilled labour has now been in sur­plus for 10 con­sec­u­tive quar­ters, but ap­pears to have passed its peak.’’

‘‘More re­cently we have seen a first round new home build­ing re­cov­ery tak­ing hold and con­di­tions have im­proved for a re­vival in ren­o­va­tions ac­tiv­ity from a 10- year low,’’ re­marked Har­ley Dale. ‘‘The key will be to en­sure ad­e­quate pol­icy fo­cus and in­vest­ment in skills and train­ing.

Oth­er­wise a struc­tural short­age of skilled labour will hin­der res­i­den­tial build­ing ac­tiv­ity, as was the case prior to the GFC,’’ con­cluded Har­ley Dale.

The HIA Trade Avail­abil­ity In­dex fell to +0.18 in the Septem­ber 2013 quar­ter from a record +0.24 in the June quar­ter. Any pres­sures ev­i­dent in the Trade Prices In­dex were muted. The Trade Prices In­dex rose 1.7 per cent over the year to the Septem­ber 2013 quar­ter, lower than the in­fla­tion rate. ‘‘If what we are see­ing now is the ten­ta­tive be­gin­nings of a res­i­den­tial build­ing re­cov­ery, then we can ex­pect fur­ther mod­est de­clines in the avail­abil­ity of trades,’’ said HIA di­rec­tor Liz Green­wood.

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