The housing and residential construction industry has called a significant meeting to discuss ways out of the immediate crisis which has seen new housing starts fall to levels not seen since the global financial crisis (GFC).
On Tuesday, The Housing Industry Association (HIA) will convene a State of the Industry Roundtable at Parliament House in Canberra to discuss appropriate initiatives and policy responses to address challenges currently facing the industry.
The meeting comes amid a backdrop of the worst conditions the residential construction industry has faced in decades.
In the winter edition of its National Outlook released last week, HIA says it expects the overall number of dwelling unit starts throughout Australia in 2012 to come in at just 133,420 – lower than any other level experienced in many years.
“Residential construction is experiencing its second recession in four years” HIA Managing Director, Mr Shane Goodwin says.
“There are 20,000 fewer homes being built per annum than what has been the average for the last 20 years, which represents thousands of employees and contractors that won’t have work and millions of dollars in materials and related services that won’t be purchased”.
“Without the right policy responses from federal, state and territory, and local government to address the on-going contraction in the industry, we will continue to see real consequences for jobs, businesses, the supply of new housing and rental costs”.
The roundtable will be attended by a number of chief executives of companies involved in residential construction, from manufacturers to home builders, collectively representing billions of dollars of residential investment and employment.
Goodwin says the attendance of so many key players underscores both the magnitude of current changes facing the industry and the importance of policy settings which are conducive to lifting housing activity levels.
One feature of the roundtable will be the release of independent research from the Centre for International Economics (CIE), which will demonstrate the substantial multiplier effect which housing construction has on the rest of the Australian economy.
Goodwin says the research demonstrates that for every dollar spent on residential construction, there is a significant flow on to the rest of the economy.
“Significantly, it also highlights that access to housing allows people to participate to their full economic and social potential, which has a value to the economy in its own right” Goodwin says.