For the US and Canada, both countries suggested they experience a shortfall of homes every year (around 1 million and 30,000 respectively). This is compounded by an emerging concern that the homes being built are not what, or where, people want them. The IHA flagged this concern with the International Monetary Fund, which has indicated it intends to continue working with the IHA to gather ongoing intelligence on housing issues.
There are currently seven working groups of which two are chaired by Australia (Building Codes, and Counterfeit and Non-Conforming Building Products). It’s in these groups that much of the activity of the IHA is actioned and progressed. The Housing Affordability Working Group is developing a housing manifesto based on the European experience that will identify why we’re seeing this trend, the types of government actions and policies that negatively impact affordability, and recommendations for reform. Further updates on this are expected to be shared at the next meeting.
Another main agenda point discussed among the member countries was skilled trades – an issue that’s clearly not unique to Australia. What was interesting to hear was an insight from the US experience. Many young Americans are not resonating with the idea that they can ‘be their own boss’ and that instead this is frightening them off from moving into the industry. HIA shared insights from our recent skills summit, and the marketing presentation from Banjo Advertising that suggested potential campaigns could focus on selling the advantages of earning more with a trade and earning a wage sooner than compared to following the path of a university qualification.
Further to this the Skills Trades Working Group presented a package of information that can be used by all member countries to promote the industry as a career choice, which HIA has already begun to adopt.
IHA’s annual meeting will be held in March in the US.