THE cost of building a house on the Sunshine Coast appears set to rise, with industry experts warning the looming carbon tax will hit hard.
The state’s premier construction body, Master Builders Queensland, has voiced concerns about the
implications of the tax on the housing and construction industries.
Master Builders Queensland director of housing policy, Paul Bidwell, said the organisation had struggled to inform its members of the difficulties confronting the
industry, warning it could be caught in a difficult place come July 1 as it was neither emissions intensive nor trade exposed.
“Despite direct emissions from the industry being quite low in comparison to other sectors, the price on carbon will have a significant impact because the sector uses many emissions-intensive inputs, such as cement, bricks, aluminium, steel and glass,” Mr Bidwell said.
“The rising cost of construction will impact supply and demand. The cost of building will rise, having a knock-on effect on demand.
“Of course, the cost impact will vary depending on the materials used, the size of the building, location and ultimately the customer.”
The warning comes as the Housing Industry Association’s latest dwelling approval figures show the Sunshine Coast was the worst-performing region in Queensland in the three months to April 2012, with a 20% drop on the same period last year.
However the figure was an improvement on the 35% drop recorded for the March period.
Mr Bidwell conceded the government’s offset would soften the blow somewhat, but said the Centre for International Economics estimated industry production could decline by 1-2.6% because of the carbon tax.
He said the impending tax was
already causing problems as builders tried to factor it into the cost of jobs that run past July 1, while trying to avoid any legal implications incurred by over-quoting.
Despite the Coast’s poor showing in the dwelling approval figures, HIA Queensland executive director Warwick Temby said the state was starting to feel the full impact of the nation’s two-speed economy.
“Cities in Queensland anywhere near the resource development centres are beginning to show the benefits that the resources boom can have for other areas of the economy,” he said.
“While home building approvals are up a pleasing 8% on the very
depressed levels of last year for the state as a whole, central Queensland is having much stronger
increases in activity.”