Once again, building approvals are heading in the wrong direction at a time when communities are crying out for more housing, says Master Builders Australia CEO Denita Wawn.
“We can see the impact of rising interest rates in the homebuilding market, and without appropriate fiscal measures at a federal and state level, we will continue to see further softening in the housing pipeline.
“Home building over the first three months of 2023 show approvals at their lowest level in a decade,” said Ms Wawn.
Master Builders Australia chief economist Shane Garrett said the total volume of new home building approvals was relatively flat (-0.1 per cent) in March compared with February but continues to follow a downward trend since September last year.
“Concerningly, the inflow of new work remains significantly lower compared with a year ago, having retreated by 17.3 per cent.
“New detached house building approvals weakened again by -2.9 per cent, a 15.0 per cent reduction on a year ago.
“While there was a small uptick in higher-density home building in March, it’s far too early to say whether this is the beginning of a much-needed recovery given multi-unit approvals are still at their lowest levels since 2012,” said Mr Garrett.
Ms Wawn added: “The government has an opportunity in tomorrow’s budget to be fiscally responsible and target measures to alleviate the housing crisis.
“The budget needs to ensure that carefully targeted spending boosts productivity for business and allows for more favourable outcomes when it comes to the cost, quality and quantity of building and construction output.
“We hope the Senate reviews today’s data as they debate the Housing Australia Future Fund this week. Parliament has an opportunity to send the right signal and kick-start a vital piece of housing reform.
“We know some members of the crossbench are looking for more funding, and while that would be welcome, it cannot come at the expense of doing nothing at all as each month of building data heads in reverse.
“There is no silver bullet to solving the housing crisis in Australia. There are a multitude of levers that the federal, state and local governments can pull,” said Ms Wawn.
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