Trades availability is at the lowest point since measuring began, according to a report released by the Housing Industry Association.
The HIA Trades Availability Index released last Friday reports a decline from -0.9 to -0.92 in the June 2022 quarter, revealing a persistent skilled trade shortage across all regions in Australian according to HIA economist Tom Devitt.
“Any number below zero indicates a skills shortage and this result reflects the most significant shortage since the inception of the report in 2003,” said Mr Devitt.
He said as of March this year, there were more than 100,000 houses under construction across Australia, almost 80 per cent higher than pre-COVID levels, with limited access to skilled trades from overseas putting further strain on resources.
“In recent months, we have seen improvements in several international and domestic supply chain indicators, including an easing in shipping container, oil and timber prices,” Mr Devitt said. “Central banks around the world are also increasing interest rates to reduce demand and combat inflation, and households are shifting their spending back towards services like travel, entertainment and dining out.”
However, he said access to skilled labour was continuing to be problematic.
“Job vacancies are at record highs in every industry and shortages of skilled trades are likely to persist into 2023, if COVID-related staff absences continue, and overseas workers only slowly return,” Mr Devitt said.
The trades in shortest supply were bricklayers (-1.51), carpentry (-1.34) and roofing (-1.26) with regional Western Australia (-1.13) and Adelaide (-1.11) the hardest hit areas.
Following the devastation of recent flooding, experts are urging government intervention to drive the cessation of building in areas at risk.
Properties are taking longer to sell and vendor discounting has increased, according to data from CoreLogic. In the three months to July, the median days on market was 32, up from a low of 20 days over the three months to November.
Clearance rates also slowed across the country through July, down to an average of 53.3 per cent by the end of the month.The clearance rate for the equivalent period in 2021 was 74.4 per cent.
However, clearance rates have already seen an improvement in the first week of August, with CoreLogic economist Kaytlin Ezzy reporting that Sydney’s preliminary clearance rate was more than 60 per cent for the first time since late May. That was on the back of the quietest auction week since mid July, with 1,471 homes auctioned across Australia’s combined capital cities.
Sydney offered just 476 homes for auction, down from 624 properties a week earlier.
In other states, Brisbane held 153 auctions, Adelaide had 146 and Canberra 67.