BUSY TIMES: Tilers Jon Payne and Mark Maker with CJ Homes' sales manager, Steven O'Hanlon are hard at work after being entrusted by many people over the past few months to build their dream homes.
BUSY TIMES: Tilers Jon Payne and Mark Maker with CJ Homes' sales manager, Steven O'Hanlon are hard at work after being entrusted by many people over the past few months to build their dream homes. Jann Houley

CONSTRUCTION: Confidence is rebounding

CONFIDENCE and construction activity is on the rise in CQ's local home building industry following a grim start to the year.

In January, local builders like CJ Homes were reeling from the bad publicity and loss of trust generated by the misdeeds of fly-by-night shonky operators and builder collapses, with their customers fearful of taking the plunge to build their dream home.

Given that it takes over a hundred businesses (directly or indirectly) to help construct each property, many in the community were counting on local builders staying busy.

According to CJ Homes sales manager Steven O'Hanlon, the company has seen a massive turn around in the past few months.

"Our sales have increased to the stage where we have already committed to build more homes than we constructed in 2017 and 2018," he said.

"Our trades are now working longer hours and are much happier. Walking around our constructions over the past few weeks you sure can notice the different trades now talking about adding additional workers to their teams - something that has not been spoken about in the past few years."

Mr O'Hanlon said the federal election out of the way, combined with a relaxation in borrowing restrictions following the banking royal commission, a reduction in interest rates, locals were increasingly willing to consider building a home.

BOUNCING BACK: CJ Homes sales manager Steven O'Hanlon is pleased to see buyers supporting their building company.
BOUNCING BACK: CJ Homes sales manager Steven O'Hanlon is pleased to see buyers supporting their building company. Leighton Smith

With the region's rental vacancies tightening and rents increasing, he said it created urgency and incentive to own a home.

CJ Homes director Jyri Hopia credited the confidence boosting green light for Adani's Carmichael mine, along with the prospect of other mines opening and the roll out of large scale projects, for the revival in his company's fortunes.

Despite their confidence, Master Builders Central Queensland regional manager Dennis Bryant said Australian Bureau of Statistics' new dwelling approvals until April for CQ showed the new housing construction market continued to be subdued.

"Whilst things might not look great at the moment, I believe we have a lot to look forward to and we need to grasp these opportunities as they present themselves," Mr Bryant said.

"I have felt in conversations with industry players that there is an increase in confidence since the federal election."

Mr Bryant expected an increasing demand for rental properties given the dramatic fall in the rental vacancy rate.

Master Builders Central Queensland Regional Manager Dennis Bryant
Master Builders Central Queensland Regional Manager Dennis Bryant said there were many reasons for optimism for the region's house construction market. Contributed

"What we need is investors in the market for new homes, possibly those who have been hanging off for the past couple of years," he said.

"Interest rates are low so investors should be encouraged to jump in to building homes that appeal to the market.

"We will have workers moving to the region with their families to take up job opportunities in the staggering number of projects coming on line toward the end of the year."

He said there were several projects requiring a workforce for many years which could require up to 3,000 workers, particularly in the civil area.

These projects included the remediation and upgrade of Shoalwater Bay training area, Rockhampton Ring Road, Rookwood Weir, Clarke Creek wind farm, Great Keppel Island Resort, Gracemere to Rockhampton Road duplication, Rockhampton Northern Road Access, Capricornia Correctional Centre Expansion many of which will require ongoing permanent employees.

"The approval for the first coal mine in the Galilee Basin should herald an increase in activity with other projects in the Galilee, which will have a flow on effect in the Capricorn region," he said.

"This is a great region to live in with great shopping, schools and many natural attractions, recreation activities, health facilities and access to road, rail and air connections."