01/05/2020 - 14:45

COVID-19 to extend WA housing downturn

01/05/2020 - 14:45

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The COVID-19 crisis has pushed any recovery in Western Australia’s residential building sector out to 2021-22 at the earliest, with new modelling released by the Master Builders Association showing the record downturn is set to continue.

WA's long-running housing downturn is set to continue.

The COVID-19 crisis has pushed any recovery in Western Australia’s residential building sector out to 2021-22 at the earliest, with new modelling released by the Master Builders Association showing the record downturn is set to continue.

Previous Master Builders forecasts had called 2019-20 the bottom of the five-year contraction in WA housing, predictions which have been superseded due to the novel coronavirus-related lockdowns.

Instead of 14,513 houses and apartments to be completed this year, Master Builders is expecting dwelling commencements to come in at 12,474.

The new bottom of the market is expected in 2020-21, with forecast dwelling starts revised down from 14,710 to 10,898.

Master Builders expects the market to rebound to 12,907 starts in 2021-22, rising to 14,367 in 2022-23.

The revised forecasts are another blow for WA’s residential building sector, which has been steadily declining since hitting a historical peak of 31,732 starts in 2014-15.

Master Builders Association WA executive director John Gelavis today launched a campaign aimed at rebooting the industry, following the relaxation of restrictions that closed display villages across the state.

Mr Gelavis said the sector had ample capacity to take on new builds or renovations.

“It’s important for home and property owners to know with absolute confidence that they will not be breaking any rules or endangering anyone’s health by visiting display homes or going ahead with their residential building projects – there’s no need to wait,” Mr Gelavis said.

“Now is a great time to start talking to a builder to plan a new build or renovation. It takes more time than people think to plan, have plans approved and schedule building work. 

“Given this, we encourage people to make the time with their builder to begin their new project, inspect a display home and continue with their building project or renovation. 

“People can feel confident that a builder can be on their premises for work purposes and do the right thing in complying with the rules.”

Nationally, COVID-19 will result in up to 43,000 homes not being built in the next 12 months, with Australia-wide forecasts being revised from 159,000 to 116,000.

“While we obviously did not expect good news, the scope and depth of the potential damage to our industry and the economy is devastating,” Master Builders chief executive Denita Wawn said. 

Ms Wawn said the forecasts showed stimulus measures were needed urgently to ensure the residential building sector could continue to create jobs and contribute to the economy.

“Our industry is the nation’s third largest, it’s the largest provider of full-time jobs in Australia and they are employed by 400,000 businesses, over 90 per cent of which are SMEs,” Ms Wawn said.

“If governments do not act to support us now then the battle against the COVID-19 economic emergency could be lost just as the battle against the health emergency is starting to be won.

“We want the building and construction industry to be in shape to rebuild Australia, we want to protect the viability of hundreds of thousands of small businesses and the jobs of a million Australians. 

“For that we need governments to act now.”

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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