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eTradesman.com.au - Australia's Online Tradesman Directory

Gold Coast Taxes Threaten Housing Strength

Last year’s three interest rate rises, combined with recent speculation of a further rate rise, have not detracted from what was a strong month for building approvals in the Gold Coast region. Dwelling approval figures released for the month of March show that, while total dwelling approvals did fall by less than 1 per cent, total approvals over the March quarter were up by 20 per cent on the December 2006 quarter. Over the March quarter, detached house approvals fell by 14 in original terms, while multi-unit approvals were up by a significant 348, thanks mainly to a strong month of January. There are also strong indications that home building activity throughout the region is more robust than it was 12 months ago. Australia ’s peak building industry body, HIA, said that this was another positive month on the Gold Coast new housing market. HIA’s Gold Coast Regional Executive Director, Mr Colin Buttenshaw, said that 2007 should prove to be another strong year for builders on the Gold Coast, with most order books full. “This is a positive update for the Gold Coast home building industry because it shows that the demand for new housing in the region continues to be strong enough to move beyond interest rate concerns,” he said. However, Mr Buttenshaw warned that local governments must remain cognisant of the rising costs of housing which is being predominantly driven by rising infrastructure charges and land supply shortages driving up the cost of a house and land package beyond what the average family can afford. “Despite the current unemployment rate being at a 32 year low, housing is now less affordable than it was in the early nineties when interest rates were around 17 per cent. HIA has calculated that a family now needs a household income of at least $80,000 to be able to afford an average home in South East Queensland,” Mr Buttenshaw said. “The proposed hikes in local government headwork charges have the potential to add almost $75,000 to the price of a new home, and this issue must be immediately addressed if housing affordability and the underlying strength in the domestic construction industry is to be retained.” Source - HIA<-i>
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