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Market conditions are tough as we finish the surge of home-building work that occurred because of changing consumer demands and government stimulus packages.
As we all know, material and labour cost increases and shortages have significantly impacted our businesses. Interest rate increases and consumer uncertainty about the residential building industry have not helped either.
There is currently little sign of an increase in new work, and 2024 is shaping up to be a year with a depressingly low number of homes being built.
This is occurring at a time when there is an urgent need for more homes to house a growing population and resolve the housing affordability crisis.
The recently released Victorian Government Housing Statement takes some steps towards addressing these challenges. It kick-starts the process of what HIA hopes will be an ongoing series of reforms to meet Victoria’s housing challenge, now and into the future.
Several important planning reforms are contained in the Housing Statement, including immediate action to respond to the backlog of planning applications, streamline the planning process for medium to high density residential developments, and changes to minimise the need for planning permits for houses that meet specified standards.
These changes will help some delayed projects proceed, reduce the backlog of existing planning permit applications, and help get more residential building work to market sooner. However, as important as planning reforms are, they are only a step towards increasing the supply of housing and addressing the housing affordability crisis. Homes need to not only be planned but also need to be built.
During her keynote address at the recent HIA Construction Outlook breakfast, Victorian Minister for Planning, the Hon. Sonya Kilkenny, acknowledged the government needs to do more work to improve the regulatory framework for home building.
This includes continuing the Building System Review with its emphasis on building quality and reforming domestic building contracts to give more certainty to builders and consumers.
HIA will continue to be actively engaged with the Victorian government and participate in the Affordability Partnership to inform and shape the work to increase housing supply and improve housing affordability.