Master Builders Australia, the peak building and construction industry association, has today released its analysis into the state of new home building times.
“During 2022-23, the average build time for detached houses increased from 10.3 months to 11.7 months,” Master Builders Australia CEO Denita Wawn said.
“For new townhouses, it now takes a total of 14.9 months from approval to completion. This compares with 13.5 months in 2021-22.
“There was slightly better news for apartments, with build times shortening to 28.8 months from a record 30.6 months in 2021-22.
“However, apartment building times are still far slower than was normal before the pandemic. When our output of new apartments was at record levels back in 2015-16, it took just 21 months to complete a build.
“Over recent years, the delivery of the new homes we desperately need has been obstructed by the combination of labour shortages, broken supply chains and other Covid restrictions.
“This is on top of the already formidable set of impediments in the form of planning delays, insufficient land release and red tape.
“These unnecessary delays to construction ultimately drive up the cost of building which has already faced inflationary challenges with building product prices and a tight labour market.
“Since the pandemic, building product prices have increased 33 per cent and 4.4 per cent in the last 12 months.
“While we are seeing a stabilisation of some building product prices primarily around steel, some products such as cement continue to escalate,” Ms Wawn said.
Master Builders’ forecasts 2023-24 will see home starts decline by 2.1 per cent to around 170,100, well below the 200,000 needed per year to meet population growth.
“With a housing target of 1.2 million homes in five years, to realistically achieve this goal, we need to reduce the time it takes to build,” Ms Wawn said.
To meet growth projections and replace workers that leave the industry Master Builders estimates that 486,000 workers need to enter the building and construction industry between February 2023 and November 2026 - nearly half will need to be in technician and trade roles.
Master Builders warns the destructive industrial relations Bill currently before the Parliament will see building costs and delays continue to worsen with increased risk of workplace disputation, reduced productivity and increased labour costs.
“There are fundamental questions governments should be answering before passing legislation: will this address the cost of living or housing crisis, will this keep people businesses open and people employed, will this improve productivity and economic growth? We can’t see a ‘yes’ for any of these questions.
"Getting a home built on time and on budget should be a priority for everyone,” Ms Wawn said.