Don’t bank on upturn: UDIA boss

QUEENSLAND'S urban development industry chief added his voice to the chorus of gloomy economic sentiments, telling locals that he's not overly optimistic about the next four to five months.

Brian Stewart, chief executive of the Qld division of the Urban Development Institute of Australia, said he expected no sudden rush of confidence or that banks would open up their coffers to supply loans.

He told the UDIA Fraser Coast branch annual general meeting in Urangan last week that development project and company failures were likely to increase and that job losses in the sector would edge up.

But Mr Stewart said big developers were gearing up for the anticipated recovery and were prepared to buy projects now so they could have housing stock ready in two years.

“What we have in Qld is significant undersupply.”

He said many people wanted to buy a home but were unemployed, nervous about interest rates or waiting to see where the property market was going.

“Because they're not buying and we're not producing, there will be pent up demand and as interest rates become more stable and the future becomes more clear, they will have more confidence and will buy,” he said.

Mr Stewart said developers were starting to hire again, particularly consultants who were preparing development applications.

He said developers needed to work in partnership with local and state governments to simplify and speed up the approvals process to cut costs and deliver more affordable housing.

“The system or process of development is a basket case.

“We have made it so much more complicated than it needs to be.”

Mr Stewart applauded the Fraser Coast Regional Council's shovel-ready initiative, saying projects would have fallen off, instead of increasing over the past four months, without it.

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