The future looks very bright for the Moreton Bay building industry, according to a recent think tank of industry and government experts.
Hosted by Master Builders, the annual ‘Outlook and Opportunities’ event, held at Club Pine Rivers, was a platform to identify key trends.
The panel debated local issues, such as planning approval processes and reducing infrastructure charges, as well as providing advice on how to tap into key projects and opportunities.
The evening was compéred by John Crittall from Master Builders and guests included Deputy Mayor Mike Charlton, Teela Jurgenson, Property Writer for Quest and QM Properties Sales Manager Damien Ross.
QM has extensive experience in Moreton Bay, having developed Central Lakes, Pacific Harbour, Sanctuary Grove, Ocean View, Westwood, Delanys Creek, Springbrook, Central Park, and Norfolk Lakes. The developer has a number of upcoming projects in the area, including The Village at Burpengary and Central Springs, which will be launched in 2014.
“The fact that at the Deputy Mayor turned up to represent the Council at the roadshow says it all about Moreton Bay,” said Damien.
QM Properties enjoy an excellent relationship with the Moreton Bay Council, spanning over 30 years.
The Deputy Mayor presented very positive figures on new developments, which were echoed in the latest figures released state wide by Master Builders.
A forecast of 32,000 new housing projects, along with solid renovation activity is expected in 2013-2014, according to Master Builders annual Building industry outlook.
“However, despite 2012-2013 levels remaining below the decade average, there is growing optimism that the residential sector has bottomed and a recovery is now underway. This view is supported by recent building approvals data, which has gradually trended upwards since the decade lows of late 2011,” said Paul Bidwell, Deputy Executive Director of Master Builders.
The primary issue in QM’s developments in the region is trying to keep the costs down so an affordable product can be made available to buyers.
“The public’s expectations of a housing development have risen dramatically,” said Damien.
“We now create public spaces like parks, landscaping and bikeways but someone has to pay for them, and the buyers don’t want it to be them.’’
“Council has lower staff levels than the past for maintenance and infrastructure, so the developers foot the bill,” said Damien.
“We also had some problems when the councils amalgamated, there were two layers of bureaucracy to deal with at Central Lakes,” said Damien. ’’We had our approvals for a display village with the old Caboolture Shire Council, but then under amalgamation with Redcliffe there was a different set of rules.’’
“That kind of situation can end up costing months of inaction, however we were able to work with Council and sorted it out quickly.”
“In Moreton Bay, the council has cut the red tape that tangles up the residential industry,” said Damien.
The panel also saw that a lot of growth was being driven in the Moreton Bay Region by first home buyers, making up 15 per cent to 20 per cent new residential builds.
“Our ratio is even higher in Moreton Bay Region, some of our areas are 40 per cent first home buyers.”
“This group of buyers, definitely want all the lifestyle features of a planned development, but at the right price.”
Damien also pointed out that in many QM Developments, the first home buyer’s ratio was high due to immigration, such as in The Village at Durack estate in Brisbane.
“Councils like Moreton Bay are honouring their local government election promises and rewriting town plans, which frees up the building economy.”
“Investment interest has certainly risen, up 45 per cent since last year, although at QM we really don’t have any investor pitched developments in Moreton Bay.” said Damien.
QM’s developments, like Central Lakes and Pacific Harbour appeal to families and owner occupiers seeking a rural or waterfront lifestyle.
One of the invited guests commented on the trend to renovation, with many consumers choosing this as a low risk way to add value to their home. They said that renovation was also driving the recovery, particularly in the older areas of the region.
Master Builders anticipated the renovation market will remain solid in 2013-2014, with high transaction costs, like stamp duty, and the uncertain economic environment and fears about job security like to encourage some home owners to renovate rather than upgrade to a new home.
The positive outlook was given another confidence boost event with more Master Builders figures released in early December.
“Queensland housing finance commitments rose again this month from 9,606 to 9,635 (seasonally adjusted),” said Paul Bidwell.
‘’The forum was an opportunity for local building industry participants to hear what’s in store for the industry over the coming years.’’ Said Damien.