Logan Lights Up

Date Released - November 20, 2013.

The future is looking very bright for the building sector in Moreton Bay according to a recent think tank of industry and government experts.

Hosted by Master Builders the annual ‘Outlook and Opportunities’ event, held at Fitzy’s, 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 including Mayor Pam Parker, veteran builder and Master Builders life member Lawrie Dore, Paula Shearer, Home Editor for The Courier-Mail and Damien Ross, QM Property Sales Manager.

QM has extensive experience in the region, with a number of developed estates including, The Avenues at Marsden, The Sanctuary at Ormeau, Gaylehaven Estate at Logan Village, Jimboomba Woods, Mahony’s Pocket, Veresdale Pastures, and Cedar Forest. The developer also has a number of planned developments in the region, including River Oaks, which will be released shortly.

“The fact that the Mayor, Pam Parker, turned up to represent the council at the roadshow says it all about Logan,” said Damien. “The panel agreed that the very proactive attitude of the Logan Council was making a difference, and Pam leads the front.”

The Mayor presented very positive figures on new developments, which were echoed in the latest figures released state wide by Master Builders a few days later.

A forecast of 32,000 new housing starts along with solid renovation activity is expected in 2013-2014, according to Master Builders annual Building Industry Outlook report.

“Activity levels in both the residential and commercial sectors remained below par as a lack of confidence, job security fears, the ongoing economic uncertainty and tight lending conditions continued to take their toll and dampen demands,” said Paul Bidwell, Master Builders Director of Housing Policy.

“However, despite 2012-2013 levels remaining below the decade average, there is growing optimism that the residential sector has bottomed and 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,” he said.

In Logan, the council has cut the red tape that tangles up the residential industry,” said Damien. “Councils like Logan are honouring their local government election promises and rewriting town plans, which frees up the building economy.”

“At one point in the evening, one of the tradies in the audience raised a red tape issue and the Mayor’s reply was, ‘If you have a problem, email me and I will fix it.’, how about that?” he said.

“Investment interest has certainly risen, up from 45 per cent since last year, although at QM we don’t have any investor pitched developments in Logan,” said Damien.

QM’s development, like Jimboomba Woods appeals to families and owner occupiers seeking a rural lifestyle.

Lawrie Dore also commented on the building work in the pipeline with some new mining projects coming online. He felt that Logan should ‘get ready’ to start employing more tradies in the next year.

Paula commented on renovation trends, noting that many consumers chose this as a way to add value to their homes.

Master Builders anticipate 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 likely to encourage some home owners to renovate rather than upgrade to a new home.

“Kitchens and bathrooms are likely to remain popular renovation options as they can add value to a property while also making them more comfortable to live in,” said Paula.

All parties agreed that the biggest obstacle to growth now is the very tight lending situation.

“We believe much of the rebound in activity will initially be detached and low-rise attached dwellings, rather than high-rise attached dwellings, mainly due to the ongoing tight credit environment, which is making high-rise apartment projects difficult,” said Damien. “Unfortunately the lenders are still undervaluing properties.”

“The poor valuations are coming in what they call ‘high risk’ areas, but it is improving with this year showing 15 per cent less in finance declines,” he said.

Lawrie agreed, but also said that the banks were starting to relax on new approvals.

The positive outlook was given another confidence boost event with more MBAQ figures released in early December.

“Queensland housing finance commitments rose again this month from 9,606 to 9,635 (seasonally adjusted),” said Mr Bidwell.

“The forum was an opportunity for local building industry participant to hear what’s in store for the industry over the coming years,” said Damien.