Building industry still in the doldrums: Master Builders

Stephen TaylorJuly 2, 20130 min read

The June quarter Master Builders National Survey of Building and Construction has been described as 'disappointing'.

It has seen builder sentiment reportedly drop back, leaving the industry 'in the doldrums'.

The survey of more than 450 builders and contractors across the country saw business conditions and business confidence take a step backwards after improving in the March quarter.

''There been no tangible recovery in the building and construction industry despite interest rate cuts and early signs of improvement in some Australian Bureau of Statistics indicators,'' Peter Jones, Master Builders Australia's chief economist, said.

"The survey reveals an industry bouncing around the bottom and, at best, indicates that business conditions may have troughed.

"The big question for builders is the timing of a substantive upturn. Promised improvement down the track does not help pay the bills in the here and now and is putting many businesses at risk.

Jones said survey results for display centre traffic and inquiries had fallen back in the June quarter but were still trending upwards after a sharp rise in March.

''There was a slight improvement in the sales index, but it remains below 50, meaning sales are not growing,'' he said.

"As a key forward indicator, a pick-up in display centre and inquiries is a hopeful signal that the market is slowly responding to lower interest rates and that the worst may be behind the industry.''

Jones said the Reserve Bank ''must retain its bias towards lower interest rates to accelerate the move to a sustained upturn in the industry''.
"The next Federal Government must also implement policies that help restore business and investor confidence which seems to be the missing ingredient at the moment."

Stephen Taylor

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