Harry Triguboff Calls for More Government Support for the Building Industry
As the building industry continues to face surging construction costs, and the property market struggles with a severe housing supply shortage, Meriton Founder and Managing Director Harry Triguboff says the industry needs the government’s support to manage the rising costs and build more.
“At present, the building industry is in a difficult situation. Building costs have gone up by about 12%, and purchasers’ mortgage payments have also gone up because of rising interest rates. So, we have problems both ways.
“In the past, developers could afford to wait years for approval and manage holding costs and expensive government fees like land tax. But now they can’t because of the high building costs, so the government fees need to be reduced and the planning system needs to be fixed. Politics is important for politicians, but a strong building industry is essential for the economy to remain strong.
“Many builders now can’t deliver at fixed building costs promised before, purchasers lose deposits from cancelling contracts or are forced to see construction delayed for years. We have seen many builders and their subcontractors going broke from it, and this cannot last. A weak building industry is terrible news because now we need housing more than ever for returning migrants and international students.
“During this difficult time, the building industry needs government leadership and support. We are all ready to contribute to the growth of our country as we always have. Look at the improvement of living standards and you can tell we have come a long way, and we must continue to improve as always.
Another key factor, Mr. Triguboff points out, is solving the labour shortage by bringing more overseas migrants and workers.
“Foreign workers and migrants have always been a crucial part of our growth. When the pandemic happened, many of them went away and as a result, we are facing a labour shortage. All the businesses are complaining that there are not enough workers. This must change.
“With all the problems in the world, Australia is becoming more attractive than ever as a destination to live and work, and we should take advantage of this and make it easier for people to come and stay here. We can bring the best people, who will become great citizens and contribute to our country.
Although currently faced with a cooling property market, Mr. Triguboff is confident it will warm up again.
“The result of our current situation is that prices will fall at first, but with high rents which are still rising because of strong demand, and lack of housing supply, prices will rise again and the market will strengthen. For example, prices in the Gold Coast are very strong where there are very low supply and no vacancies, and prices in other cities will follow this example.
“It is also important to note that interest rate hikes in America have not brought inflation down, so I don’t think they will continue to raise interest rates too many times. That means Australia will follow and it won’t cause the prices to drop too much. There is no need to panic as we believe the market will strengthen.”