BUILDING APPROVALS DOWN - ABS

BUILDING APPROVALS DOWN - ABS

GOVERNMENT stimulus packages have led builders to postpone work in Queensland until they take effect, according to Master Builders Queensland.

Seasonally adjusted July figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show dwelling approvals for private sector houses fell 14.5 per cent in Queensland, while Victoria and New South Wales experienced rises of 8.7 and 4.6 per cent respectively.

ABS says widespread floods and natural disasters have affected the number of approved dwellings and value of approved work.

However, Master Builders housing director Paul Bidwell says the decline is more to do with builders waiting for the State Government’s new $10,000 Building Boost Grant to take effect on August 1.

“Builders were putting off signing their contracts until the grant came in. Things ground to a halt during July, contributing to the decline,” says Bidwell.

The property market has dwindled to 10-year lows due to concerns about rising interest rates, low consumer confidence and weak employment prospects, according to Bidwell.

“Projects for duplexes, units and houses have seen bank valuations come in at less than the contract price. A house might cost $430,000 to buy but bank valuations price it at $390,000 or even less, making the banks reluctant to lend,” he says.

Nationally, the seasonally adjusted value of total building approved dropped 4.4 per cent, total residential building dwindled by 1.2 per cent and non-residential building declined by 9.7 per cent.

Gold Coast City Council last month rejected a proposal to give an $8000 homebuyer grant in addition to the State Government’s grant.

The Gold Coast Logan Urban Development Institute of Australia’s policy and research director, Duncan Maclaine, says the move was undesirable.

“The Gold Coast Council grant would have had an effect. It was disappointing to see it rejected, but everyone on the Coast will still be eligible for the state government grant,” says Maclaine.

“During the past three months, Queensland building approvals were up 4.4 per cent. This will be the trend for remainder of the year.”

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