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This year has been a testament to our strength, marked by notable achievements and an unyielding spirit in the face of challenges, particularly the NCC changes, shortages in skilled labour along housing costs associated with material and labour.
A loss of consumer confidence following another round of recent interest rate rises and the consistent media talk of housing availability and affordability continues to challenge our members resilience daily, in the pursuit of building someone’s dream.
Our industry has demonstrated remarkable fortitude throughout 2023, achieving milestones that reflect the dedication and professionalism of our members. The quality and quantity of entries in this year’s HIA Housing Awards was exceptional, displaying the high level of talent, commitment, and determination of our members, particularly given the challenges in the industry over the past few years. Congratulations to all the finalists and our winners and good luck as you go onto to represent our region on the national stage.
It was fantastic to see member entries from across the north Qld region, with many new faces making their mark on the industry. The awards nights were a great night to celebrate success whilst networking with friends and acquaintances.
The population growth across most of North Queensland centres has intensified the demand for housing, raising concerns about availability. Whilst many members still have work in the pipeline to be completed through into 2024, the lack of client confidence and the regular interest rate rises has seen a slowdown in enquiries and sales.
The latest data is forecasting that approvals for detached dwellings for 2023 across our region will be lower than pre-pandemic levels, at a time when housing is so needed across our regions.
To increase the supply of homes in the north will require policymakers to help lower the cost of building and minimise the risk for clients to secure access to finance. The importance of a diverse housing market that caters to the various needs of the community is paramount and HIA have been working tirelessly with local and state government and stakeholders to explore innovative approaches to meet the rising demand and ensure housing remains accessible for all.
What does the future look like ahead? As we reflect on the challenges and triumphs of 2023, the indicators show a positive future for the region. Low rental vacancies, strong migration, and an influx of commercial and infrastructure investment will see the housing demand remain over the next few years.
While the challenges mentioned earlier will remain, the future looks bright. Now is the opportunity to collaborate, working together, looking at alternative processes, and the use of technology. Working smarter not harder is nothing new to our members, it is what we have always done, adapting to evolving circumstances, as we continue to shape the future of North Queensland's housing sector.
Finally on behalf of fellow committee members, I take this opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy & Safe New Year. Christmas is a time to spend with your loved ones, but it is also a time to take break, to rest up and look after ourselves, mentally and physically, you are important.
I look forward to talking with you all in the new year, refreshed and ready to take on the challenges and successes of 2024.