Positive view of housing market

1 November 2012

THE hunter is eyeing a new cycle of growth in the new-homes market, with leading builder McDonald Jones Homes saying it has almost doubled its business in the past 12 months.

Phil Haigh, director of sales and marketing at McDonald Jones, said a report released yesterday by construction industry watchdog Cordell Information showed the Hunter firm had lifted its new home projects from 50 in October, 2011, to 92 last month.

"I've been in the business since 1973 and I'm at the front door of this industry," Mr Haigh said.

"I've probably seen three cycles and I think we're about to get another one. They are positive cycles that come with pain in [price] increases and inflation. But I think we are about to see the next wave of good solid business in the residential housing industry."

Mr Haigh's comments come after an investigation by the Herald earlier this week showed dozens of Hunter building companies had closed and others were facing financial ruin. NSW Fair Trading figures show 40 Hunter companies have collapsed in the past four years. And last year they were being wound up at more than one a month.

Mr Haigh would not comment on the commercial sector, but he said residential had been lifted by state and federal government housing stimulus grants.

"There is no way the industry is floundering at the moment," he said.

"Whether we are doing things better or whether the market has turned, I think we are on the edge of a good market for the next 12 months. And the only thing holding back the market is shortage of land and planning issues."