Stage four lockdown cuts Victoria’s new home sales by 14.4 per cent

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Tumbling new home sales are expected to drive Melbourne tradies interstate.


Melbourne’s stage four lockdown has cut the state’s new house sales by more than 14 per cent in the past month.

The Housing Industry Association has warned the figures will prompt a construction slowdown and that interstate builders are already advertising to poach tradies, with many expected to leave by the end of the year.

HIA’s New Home Sales report released on Wednesday shows a 14.4 per cent decline in Victorian new home sales last month.

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HIA chief economist Tim Reardon warned they expected worse figures in September, with their report surveying key building groups responsible for one in four of the state’s new homes.

Of the five states covered, Victoria was the only one to record a decline in August.

Sales in Queensland surged 19.1 per cent, New South Wales was up 11.7 per cent, Western Australia added 11.4 per cent to its July tally and South Australian sales rose 7.4 per cent.

Victoria’s new home builds will fall substantially as a result of stage four restrictions.


Mr Reardon said the nationwide figures showed the impact the federal government’s $25,000 HomeBuilder grants would have on the building economy and employment.

Builders in other states would begin poaching Victorian tradies before the end of 2020, and he said he had seen jobs advertised in other states offering six months guaranteed work and accommodation including pay during quarantine periods.

“But Victoria has missed that surge in August and we are expecting that they will miss further sales in September, which means there is a very small window for Victorians to access HomeBuilder,” Mr Reardon said.

“Victorian home building has been a driver of national economic growth over much of the past decade, and it’s certainly a concern that its outlook in the short term is poor.”

A sharp rebound in October and November could get things back on track, but this would depend on many variables, he added.

HIA Victorian executive director Fiona Nield said the first step to rebuilding the lost sales and Victoria’s building economy was to allow safe access to display homes.

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Under the government’s current road map to recovery, this could not happen until at least October 26.

“We would hope the government could see their way clear to safely reopening display homes before October 26,” Ms Nield said.

Volume builder Porter Davis is still notching sales online, but believes more stimulus is needed for the industry in Victoria.


Volume home builder Porter Davis’ general manager of sales and marketing Shaun Patterson said while hundreds of buyers had proceeded to contracts without physical contact with the firm, an extension to HomeBuilder may need to be a part of the state’s recovery.

“We are having lots of people buying the house all through the digital world,” Mr Patterson said.

“But Porter Davis would agree with an extension (to HomeBuilder).”

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