How $5k grant could kickstart Mackay construction
WHEN it comes to saving for a home deposit, every dollar counts.
The same can be said about Mackay's construction industry, which is declining so rapidly industry experts say if the downward spiral continues, the region will run out of available properties.
To combat the growing issue, a key Mackay Regional Council policy intended to stimulate economic growth and development in the Mackay region is under review.
A key change would give first and new home builders a leg-up, with a $5000 grant potentially on offer for everyone who builds a new house in the region, including first home buyers and investors.
A similar plan was recently rolled out in Rockhampton, with significant success.
Primary players in Mackay's housing market have endorsed an amendment submission for Mackay Regional Council's Facilitating Development policy, which includes an introduction of $5000 grants for the first 200 homes built each year, paid to the homeowner by council.
Rockhampton Regional Council recently adopted similar grants and a spokeswoman said they had been encouraged by the result.
"There's been an increase in building applications in the first quarter compared to the first quarter of the previous financial year," she said.
Master Builders Rockhampton regional manger Dennis Bryant said the initiative had made a positive difference on the housing and construction industry.
"There has been a significant increase on new home build applications," Mr Bryant said.
"Before these grants were initiated the residential housing industry was pretty much at rock bottom and these grants have stimulated activity."
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The introduction of $5000 grants are part of a larger amendment submission by the Urban Development Institute of Australia, endorsed by Master Builders Mackay, Chamber of Commerce Mackay, REIQ and Building Designers Association of Queensland.
UDIA Mackay Whitsunday branch president Mark McGrath said the submission was written to provide a framework to incentivise residential development and housing construction in the Mackay region.
"Housing construction data shows we are well below trend when it comes to new home builds," Mr McGrath said.
"With vacancy rates below 2 per cent and new home builds decreasing, Mackay needs an immediate stimulus to keep up with population growth."
Mr McGrath said the council's own modest target of a 1.5 per cent population growth per annum allowed UDIA to calculate population growth would require approximately 700 new houses built per annum in the region.
However, in 2018 the average residential building approvals amounted to 314 dwellings built - a number, according to Mr McGrath, that needs to be stimulated.
REIQ Mackay zone chair Peter McFarlane said REIQ supported any local initiative encouraging the sale of homes.
"We want to make it easier for young families to own their own homes," Mr McFarlane said.
"From the reports I have received, the grants have been quite successful in Rockhampton, so we're more than happy to endorse it here in Mackay."
Master Builders Mackay regional manager Malcolm Hull said the association had also decided to support the UDIA's submission.
"Anything that stimulates the building industry is something we support. For every one person on the building site in Mackay there are four people directly benefiting from that building site," Mr Hull said.
Mackay Regional Council said the policy's annual review process was under way and the report was due to be discussed at its ordinary meeting next week.