Author: Siska Concannon, Marketing Manager, Unitex Granular Marble Pty Ltd

Whether it is where Australians work, shop, play or live the Building and Construction Industry performs an integral role in Australia’s economic development and is highly responsive to trends in the business cycle and household spending. With manufacturing constituting 8.75% of the Australian workforce, third in line directly behind the Construction industry (9%), this industry is not only economically integral but also highly volatile.

So it was with some sigh of relief that I read yesterdays article by ‘The Australian’ journalist, Sarah Danckert (‘Building approvals on the rise’) confirming that residential building approvals increased by 7.8 per cent in the last month (an increase of over 12% from September 2011). The relief was not purely from a business perspective (which, let’s face it, is always important) but also from an economic one – this means Aussie’s are spending, and spending in the right areas, which is fundamental to keeping Australia profitable and out of the grips of GFC nightmares.

I of course am interested in what is happening in the building and construction arena, and not wanting to be a ‘Negative Nancy’ or ‘Cynical Cindy’ but did pose the question as to why. Why has this change occurred? Is it purely down to Reserve Bank interest rate changes (and so not really a long term solution)? Or are Australians feeling more confident and secure economically? So I did a bit of probing….

It seems Melbourne housing industry isn’t actually doing that great, which is problematic…if you are looking to sell that is. RP Data research director Tim Lawless has been quoted as stating that ‘Melbourne’s apartment market had shown the greatest weakness over the month and could worsen as thousands of apartments under construction were completed’ (The Australian, ‘Property prices slump in most capital cities’, Nov 02 2012). With apartment prices dropping 6% and housing decreasing by just over 4% it would seem it is not a great time to sell. Although I remain optimistic that this is merely a down cycle, and prices will rise again, I cannot help but believe this is a result of an over-inflated market bubble….as Newton’s law of gravity states – what goes up, must (eventually) come down.

What is interesting is that home renovations are on the increase. It was recently reported that more than half of Australia’s homeowners plan to renovate in the next four years. Makes sense considering the market – if you can’t sell it, you might as well create what you want with what you’ve got.

I recently placed a Tweet out to our followers attempting to start a discussion on this very topic – asking if they are, or are considering, renovating over the next 12 months…and if so, what their biggest renovating challenges are. Admittedly I didn’t get much of a response, which either means my tweet got lost in the list of tweets that would pop up on followers timelines (it is estimated the average Australian Tweeter follows 100 people and brands) or none of the @UnitexAUS followers are renovating. But I am determined to find out what the Aussie market is doing, and in doing so creating more relevant information for our Blog readers, which is my ultimate goal.

So let me know in the comments section below – whether you are a specialist, in the trade or a home owner, your input is greatly appreciated and will assist me in providing you with the most relevant information and discussions for your building and renovating requirements.