SLUMP: Housing Industry Association data shows there were just 380 building approvals in 2015-2016.
SLUMP: Housing Industry Association data shows there were just 380 building approvals in 2015-2016.

Housing approvals to rise from the rubble

BUNDABERG will record the lowest number of dwelling approvals in 15 years in the financial year just ended but industry experts say there are still plenty of reasons to be optimistic.

Housing Industry Association data shows there were 380 building approvals in 2015-2016.

The figure is less than the 482 approvals last year and the 404 in 2012-2013.

HIA regional manager Stuart Collins cites a post-GFC hangover, two natural disasters and a high unemployment rate as contributing factors.

He said all levels of government needed to find ways to stimulate the local economy.

"Housing has been doing the heavy lifting across the country and it's absolutely critical they get housing going in Bundaberg because then there will be a flow on effect for a number of other industries," he said.

But, Mr Collins said Bundaberg was on the brink of a positive swing by the end of the year thanks to recent developments such as the Bundaberg Gas Pipeline and Knauf Plasterboard at the Port combined with an increase to the First Home Buyers Grant to $20,000 and lower interest rates.

"In terms of outlook, however, we have seen improvement in building activity make its way north over the last 12 months and HIA remains optimistic that there will be a discernible increase in building approvals in Bundy in the imminent future.

"Bundy remains an attractive centre for new home activity and investment given its lifestyle opportunities and affordability with the boost to the first homeowners grant adding extra incentive to construct new homes."

Bundy Homes owner Michael Randall said historically when the major east coast cities performed well it trickled up the coast like a housing migration.

With Hervey Bay recording a 25% increase in dwelling approvals in the year to May, Mr Randall believes we're next.

"It's like a spring. Because it hasn't been bad or great, there is a lot of pent-up demand," he said.

"So when that spring springs it will be quite hard. This is the best time to get into the market."



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