09/05/2016 - 05:12

Fall in tradies’ costs adds to build boost

09/05/2016 - 05:12

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The cost of hiring tradies in Western Australia has fallen over the past year but continues to be substantially more expensive than other states, an industry survey has found.

The cost of hiring tradies in Western Australia has fallen over the past year but continues to be substantially more expensive than other states, an industry survey has found.

The cost of hiring the average tradesperson for building and renovation work in WA fell by 4.5 per cent to $65.25 per hour in the March quarter, according to a report by ServiceSeeking.com.au.

That was 7.1 per cent higher than the national average.

The report was based on 52,000 quotes submitted by tradies for building and renovation work on the ServiceSeeking.com.au website.

“It highlights that Western Australia has bucked the national trend in renovation prices,” chief executive Jeremy Levitt said.

“Demand for renovation services has taken a hit so tradesman lowered their prices to make their services more appealing.”

The report showed that Victoria was the cheapest place to get building and renovation work done.

The average rate quoted by tradies in that state was just $56.58 per hour.

It also showed wide variations among various trades.

Plumbers continued to be the best-paid tradies in WA, even though the average hourly rate they quoted fell by nearly 10 per cent, to $87.67.

That put plumbers almost on a par with electricians.

At the other end of the spectrum were painters, who quoted an average hourly rate of $43.36.

The fall in average tradie costs in WA came after four successive years of increases, and broadly corresponds to trends in residential construction activity.

Housing Industry Association executive director WA John Gelavis said there was no doubt the residential construction market was declining, but from record levels.

The number of dwelling starts in WA, including houses and apartments, peaked at a record 32,100 in 2014.

Since then it has dropped, to 27,700 in 2015, and is set to fall even further.

Mr Gelavis said the HIA expected dwelling starts to be just 22,120 this year and even lower at 20,660 next year.

“With the decline comes an increase in competition among builders and trade contractors,” he said.

“For consumers it’s a great time to be building a home.”

Mr Gelavis said other positives included the recent cut in interest rates, and the continuation of the first homeowners grant and stamp duty concessions.

A report on housing affordability had more good news for people trying to break into the market in WA.

Ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service found that housing affordability improved in WA in the year to March 2016, in contrast to every other state where affordability got worse.

The fall in house prices in WA meant households with two incomes spent 21.5 per cent of their monthly income on mortgage repayments.

That compared with a national average of 27.6 per cent and a Sydney figure of 35.6 per cent.

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