CJ Homes' Steven O'Hanlon.
CJ Homes' Steven O'Hanlon.

CQ sees surprising trend in building market

CJ HOMES sale consultant Steven O’Hanlon says the building market is in a much better place than it was a year ago – with 12 sites currently in the works for the business, seven of which are at Yeppoon.

The building company is also sitting on an exciting new development – expected to be the “most expensive in Rockhampton for the past five years”, but all in good time, says Mr O’Hanlon, there are plenty of other things to celebrate right now.

“The number of building approvals has definitely increased,” he said.

“People are a lot more serious about building homes compared to last year. People are starting to see an established market starting to absorb itself and there is not the variety of homes available as there once were.

“It’s forcing people to build more, particularly at Yeppoon, which is more active than Rockhampton.”

Central Queensland building approvals are standing out among the rest of the state for 2020, with a 34 per cent increase of new house and multi-unit dwellings approved in the past 12 months – the only increase in the state.

This time last year, CJ Homes was only building four homes.

People had lost trust in builders, said Mr O’Hanlon, and after the collapse of a number of businesses ­including JM Kelly, the number of building applications dropped.

However, late last year, a renewed confidence in local builders began to grow again.

“We’ve been more successful in the past 12 months than we had been in the past couple of years,” Mr O’Hanlon said.

The number of dwellings approved over the last 12 months.
The number of dwellings approved over the last 12 months.

On top of CJ Homes’ 12 sites which are currently being built, there are also another nine homes in the planning process.

“Seven of the jobs are at Yeppoon and the rest are at Rockhampton, Bouldercombe and Westwood,” Mr O’Hanlon said.

“We’ve never been stronger in Yeppoon and as more land comes online in Rockhampton, the majority of the blocks that have been around for a number of years are starting to see new developments online.

“There is new land getting developed and as new stock comes forward, the rate of building will increase.

“I expect it will get stronger.”

Master Builders deputy CEO, Paul Bidwell, said while the drop of numbers across the state set the scene for a tough year ahead, Central Queensland’s jump in approvals indicated the success of a local construction grant.

“Our calls to bring back the $5000 boost to the First Home Owners’ Grant in regional Queensland have fallen on deaf ears, despite significant data coming out of Rockhampton pointing to their local housing ­construction grant,” he said.

“We’re told Rockhampton Regional Council has received approximately 100 applications for their $5000 housing construction grant over the past six months – a period where they would normally only have 50-60 approvals.

“Central Queensland is also the only centre to record positive growth in the past 12 months and many builders in the area have reported a solid pipeline of work.”

According to Australian Bureau of Statistics and Master Builders data, the number of dwellings approved in Central Queensland for December 2019 was 36.

Last month, the number was 39.

Despite this 7.7 per cent drop from November to December, the 12 months leading up to December 2019 recorded a 33.9 per cent jump in home and multi-unit dwellings – 363 up to 486.

There was a 21 per cent increase in house approvals, up to 409 from 338, and a 184 per cent increase in multi-units, up to 71 from 25.

Master Builders Central Queensland regional manager Dennis Bryant said despite the 34 per cent increase including 71 units (up from 25 for the previous year), the jump from 348 to 409 houses was still impressive for Rockhampton.

“That’s a great increase and the best I’ve seen in the last three years. It’s good for us,” he said.

“It had dropped to a low level with a lack of investor confidence and people putting money into rental properties, but this indicates that the confidence is coming back into the sector.”

APPROVALS IN THE PAST TWO YEARS

  • Central Queensland: 363 up to 486 (+33.9 per cent)
  • Mackay & Whitsundays: 581 down to 472 (-18.8 per cent)
  • North Queensland: 537 down to 514 (-4.3 per cent)
  • Far North Queensland: 1423 down to 861 (-39.5 per cent)
  • Wide Bay Burnett: 1578 down to 1353 (-14.3 per cent)