Federal government needs to convene home building summit: CommSec's Craig James

Thursday 31 May 2012

CommSec chief economist Craig James has called for the federal government to hold a home building summit.

“The Reserve Bank has certainly expressed more concern about the lack of home building in recent months, however it can only do so much in stimulating activity.

“Ultimately federal and state governments need to sit down with developers, industry bodies and finance providers to work out the fundamental constraints on new home building.

“A home building summit would certainly be a positive leadership initiative from the federal government,” James suggests.

His comments came after a slight lift in April new home sales.

But James noted the nearing end of Victoria’s $13,000 first-home bonus helped national new home sales mount a partial recovery in April.

The HIA - JELD-WEN new home sales report, based on a survey of Australia’s 100 largest builders, showed a 6.9% rise in total seasonally adjusted new home sales in April, with new detached house sales increasing the most in Victoria, up by 17.2%, ahead of the removal of the first-home bonus.

The increase in Victorian home sales was the first gain in five months, James notes.

"However it is clear that home building is weak, certainly well below averages over the past five years.

“In part Aussies lack confidence to build,” he adds.

"Others are opting for shared accommodation, whether it be Gen Y renting apartments together or staying home with their parents. Or it may be that senior Australians are opting to live with their children and grandchildren.

"Certainly home occupancy has been rising over the past two years – something that hasn’t happened in over a century," James says.

 

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- Jonathan Chancellor