27/02/2007 - 22:00

Slowdown skills concern

27/02/2007 - 22:00

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Several Western Australian homebuilders are worried that the industry will lose key tradespeople to lucrative resources sector work if the housing market continues to slow.

Slowdown skills concern

Several Western Australian homebuilders are worried that the industry will lose key tradespeople to lucrative resources sector work if the housing market continues to slow.

Summit Homes Group sales manager Cameron Lade said that, while the property market needed to cool from its white hot run in the past few years, the pendulum had swung too far.

“The demand had to come off but it has come off too much,” Mr Lade said.

Mr Lade, who manages the sales operations of Summit Group’s Summit Homes, New Generation Homes and Lifestyle Homes, said there was a risk that tradespeople would leave the industry mid-year as the work continued to slow.

But he said they would be desperately needed again if mooted stamp duty relief lured homebuyers back into the market.

“[The slow down] hasn’t affected us yet in terms of site starts because we have had the work come through the pipeline and have been able to get jobs to site much quicker, but I think we will see the impact mid-year,” Mr Lade said.

“We have tried hard to secure staff and we don’t want to lose them now. We are already getting our trades people poached by the commercial industry and obviously the resources sector is attractive.”

Dale Alcock, director of Alcock Brown-Neaves, said the first homebuyer market had stalled because Treasurer Eric Ripper had revealed stamp duty changes were on the way in a few months.

Mr Alcock said that may create a mini-boom at the bottom end of the market when the changes were finally revealed but, in the meantime, the industry had to try and find ways to continue to provide work for front-end contractors such as concrete pourers and bricklayers.

“The risk is that we have to lay off tradespeople who may well go to the resources sector and never come back,” Mr Alcock said.

 “We haven’t had to lay off anyone yet but when we run an ad with a vacancy we get phone calls. Three months ago we didn’t get anything.”

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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