MASTER BUILDERS BLAME HOUSING SLUMP ON NATURAL DISASTERS

Written on the 15 March 2012

MASTER BUILDERS BLAME HOUSING SLUMP ON NATURAL DISASTERS

A DROP in the commencement of new dwellings in Queensland is due to natural disasters and not because the state’s economic recovery is faltering, says Queensland Master Builders Association’s Paul Bidwell (pictured).

The latest Dwelling Unit Commencement figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)  show in the six months to December, 13,276 dwellings were commenced - down from 14,240 in the previous corresponding period.

"These figures reflect decisions made in early 2011, when much of the state was gripped by flooding, cyclones and speculation about interest rate rises. Generally conditions were much more uncertain than they are now,” says Bidwell, the QMBA’s director of housing policy.

"Things began to turn around in September 2011and that should be reflected in increased commencements in the next few months.”

While the latest figures suggest an eventual shortfall in the QMBA’s forecast of 28,000 commencements in 2011-12, Bidwell is confident the final number will better the 26,683 commencements on 2010-11.

The decline in Queensland was the worst of all the states, with housing starts in the quarter declining 17.9 per cent.

“Recent ABS data for finance commitments and building approvals confirm this view,” he says.

Interest rate cuts late last year and the Queensland Government’s Building Boost Grant also are expected to improve future figures, says Bidwell.

“Based on the trends in finance commitments and building approvals, Master Builders expects the emerging recovery to continue, which should translate into a reasonable end of financial year for the housing sector,” he says.



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