Renovations Boom

Figures published in the Building and Construction Industry Forecasts from the Master Builders Australia forecasts the boom in home renovations to continue with households an average $8.8 billion/year reaching $44 billion over the next five years. The forecast follows on from last year’s decade record high spend of $8.3 billion. The renovations boom is good news for the economy as it has a strong flow-on to small building businesses including many regional towns. According to the MBA the trend is strongest in South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland.

Affordability Improves Slowly

According to the AHI Affordability Index, in a welcome sign for first time buyers, housing affordability improved in most capital cities during the first quarter of 2018. The index considers dwelling prices, mortgage interest rates and wage developments. The result for Sydney improved by 1.9% as some dwelling prices eased over the past six months. However, for Melbourne the outcome was largely unchanged. In the March quarter across the eight capital cities’ affordability improved by a very modest 0.2%. Although current low interest rates boosted affordability, strong price growth in Melbourne and Hobart held back a more robust improvement.

Apartments Offer Efficient Housing Option

Reports of empty bedrooms have prompted some groups to recommend a vacant bedroom tax. That’s been a suggestion both locally and in the UK, however according to the BAS apartments are generally well utilized with far fewer vacant bedrooms. The housing suitability index compares the number of bedrooms in a dwelling with a range of household demographics, like the number of residents, their age and sex.  The index, which uses a Canadian based model identifies underutilised apartments are those with spare bedrooms or overutilised needing extra bedrooms.  From the last census, households living in apartments were more likely not to require an extra bedroom, or had no spare room, than those living in separate houses 42% compared with 13%.

Sydney’s Main Population Growth Areas

Over the 2016-2017 period Sydney’s population growth looks remarkably evenly spread. In the south-west with Cobbitty and Leppington up 21.9%, Marsden Park in the north-west up 21.1% and Waterloo in the centre up 7.4%. Against this growth it’s interesting to note that Australia’s population has more than quadrupled in the past century, with the number of people (currently 24,915,647) tipped to reach 25 million sometime this year. Reaching that figure is sure to fuel more debate about the growth of our cities.

Home Robots on Their Way

Amazon has been quietly working on a new project that could have big implications—domestic robots. The project is code-named “Vesta,” after the Roman goddess of the hearth, home and family. The Amazon project could see domestic robots ready by the end of this year, with Vesta on sale as soon as 2019. Home robots have long been the dream of a busy working household; the question is would you buy one?

London’s Apartment Boom

Move over Sydney and inner-city Melbourne, London’s high-rise apartment boom is on its way and the numbers are huge. London’s skyline is set to be transformed over the next decade with a record 510 tall towers currently in the pipeline. Work has started on 115 of them, counting new projects with at least 20 floors. The tallest will be the Landmark Pinnacle in Canary Wharf which, at 75-floors, will be the tallest residential building in Europe upon its completion planned for 2019.