Why foreign traditions need to be brought to Australia to build houses?

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The traditional six-figure jobs that Australia can’t fill as the country struggles to keep up with the demand for new home building

  • Approvals for new Australian homes last year at highest level since 1989
  • Homeowners Rushed to Qualify for the $15,000 HomeBuilder Grants in April
  • CommSec said foreign merchants may need to fill skills shortages

Foreign tradesmen may have to be let into Australia to control construction costs, with construction salaries typically in the six-figure range.

Since the federal government introduced the HomeBuilder grant scheme in June last year, the number of new homes receiving council approval has increased by 84 percent.

In the year to April, 140,222 new homes were given the green light, the highest number since early 1989, the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed.

Many homeowners rushed to meet the April 14 deadline for the $15,000 HomeBuilder grant.

Foreign trade may have to be let into Australia to keep construction costs in check, with construction salaries typically in the six-figure range. CommSec chief economist Craig James said this was the way to fill building skills shortages. Pictured are construction workers in Sydney

Australia appears to remain closed to non-residents until at least mid-2022, shutting out international students and many skilled migrants.

But Craig James, chief economist at CommSec, said the Australian government may need to make an exception for foreign builders.

‘Will all houses be built? Anecdotes show that cost pressures continue to mount and workers and skilled craftsmen are becoming increasingly difficult to find,” he said.

“If construction workers in the ‘hot’ areas can’t find workers, they may have to raise wages significantly or request special permission from the federal government to attract workers from abroad.

“And that can mean paying for airline tickets, quarantine costs and housing for foreign workers.”

Hays’ salary guide for 2021-22 found that six-figure salaries are common in the housing industry, with wages well above the average full-time salary of $89,000 in Australia.

Since the federal government introduced the HomeBuilder grant scheme in June last year, the number of new homes receiving council approval has increased by 84 percent.  In the year to April, 140,222 new homes were given the green light, the highest year since early 1989, the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed.  Pictured is an Adelaide house under construction

Since the federal government introduced the HomeBuilder grant scheme in June last year, the number of new homes receiving council approval has increased by 84 percent. In the year to April, 140,222 new homes were given the green light, the highest number since early 1989, the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed. Pictured is an Adelaide house under construction

Construction managers in Sydney earn up to $220,000 while a foreman on a home construction site can get up to $120,000.

Salaries are good even in regional New South Wales, where construction managers earn up to $170,000 and foremen up to $110,000.

“As the country’s third largest industry, and a sector supported by government investment, the Australian construction job market remains very active,” the Hays report said.

‘Of course, the demand for skilled construction professionals is increasing, with housing and infrastructure leading the way.’

A year after the March 2020 Covid lockdowns, the number of advertised construction jobs has nearly tripled or increased by 181 percent, data from the federal government's Nationals Skills Commission shows.  Pictured is a woman on a construction site in Sydney

A year after the March 2020 Covid lockdowns, the number of advertised construction jobs has nearly tripled or increased by 181 percent, data from the federal government’s Nationals Skills Commission shows. Pictured is a woman on a construction site in Sydney

A year after the March 2020 Covid lockdowns, the number of advertised construction jobs has nearly tripled or increased by 181 percent, data from the federal government’s Nationals Skills Commission shows.

That was significantly higher than the 96.4 percent increase in the year to March across the economy.

A closer look at ABS building approval data showed an annual increase of 66 percent for new homes, compared to just 0.4 percent for apartments.

New work-from-home arrangements favor housing, but not new unit developments, which previously relied on international student tenants.

Hays' salary guide for 2021-22 showed that six-figure salaries are common in the housing industry.  Pictured is a construction worker in Sydney

Hays’ salary guide for 2021-22 showed that six-figure salaries are common in the housing industry. Pictured is a construction worker in Sydney

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