6 October 2008
Builders are feeling the pinch as New Zealand’s property market falters. The slump in the property market is prompting builders to chase smaller renovations jobs. Figures released by Statistics NZ show home-building approvals slumped to a 22-year low in August. The trend for the number of new dwellings, including apartments, has been falling since mid-2007, and is down 42 per cent since then, increasing unemployment and underemployment in the building trades.
However, there are still pockets of growth in the building and renovations market for tradesmen to target. Keith Roberts, director of Builderscrack.co.nz a website where home owners submit jobs for tradesmen to quote on, said people were focusing on improving the appearance of their homes before putting them on the market. He said the number of people posting small renovation or home improvement jobs had doubled since this time last year. Meanwhile, the number of postings for major renovations was down by 50 per cent.
Fellow director Mark Dickson said tradesmen were finding it tougher, and as a result were much more active in seeking smaller jobs from customers. “It is a good time to get those jobs done if you can afford it,” he said. “Working for a large developer that expects us to put a lot of money into the job before we get paid is getting more risky – a lot of guys have lost money when developers have gone bankrupt,” Mr Dickson said. He said having a number of smaller jobs on the go was becoming more attractive as financial markets seized up and developers became exposed.