Trade contractors more available

THE slowdown in Western Australia’s housing sector led to a slight increase in trades availability during the June quarter, in line with the national trend, according to figures from the Housing Industry Association. However, prices for contractors continued to rise during the quarter, up by 5.8 per cent since March. This brought the annual increase to 11.4 per cent for Perth and 11.8 per cent for regional WA – the highest levels in the nation. Trade contractors became more available in every state capital and region during the quarter, except for Melbourne, where supply remained flat. HIA regional director John Dastlik said the slight increase in the availability of trades was to be expected. “The fact [is] we have seen a significant fall in residential building activity. We have not increased the number of tradespeople, it is simply that we are not building as many houses,” he said. Perth leads nation in rent rises RENTS in Perth grew faster than in any other capital city during the past year, in both the house and unit sectors, according to figures released last week by national agency Australian Property Monitors. Rents for houses rose 6 per cent in the June quarter, to an average of $350 per week, bringing the annual increase to 17 per cent. This was equal to Melbourne and the highest rate of growth nationally. In the unit market, rents increased further, up 9 per cent to $350 per week. “It is obvious rising rents are being driven by high mortgage rates,” APM general manager Michael McNamara said. “On one hand landlords are trying to offset increased costs and on the other hand high interest rates deter renters from making the shift into home ownership. “Unsurprisingly, those capitals worst affected by deteriorating housing affordability are also the capitals where tenants are experiencing rapidly rising rents. Perth and Sydney are the most expensive capitals for home buyers and they are also the capitals where tenants are under the most pressure.”

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