Tradies across Australia are contending with a challenging economic landscape, as new data suggests a mixed outlook for the construction industry. Despite a decline in new home builds, there is a hopeful sign with increased demand for renovation and repair work reflected in job requests, particularly on the country’s largest tradie marketplace, hipages.
During the past year, the home improvement platform has recorded an 8% rise in job requests from homeowners. Furthermore, hipages experienced an unprecedented surge in new memberships, with over 5,000 tradies signing on in January alone—the highest monthly increase since the marketplace’s inception two decades ago. These figures come against a backdrop of 37,120 new homes constructed in September, marking the lowest increase in Australia’s construction pipeline for over ten years.
Yet homeowners appear undaunted by the less-than-ideal circumstances, with 64% indicating plans to invest around $7,000 on average in renovations this year. This trend underscores a shift towards enhancing existing residences amidst a slump in new home construction.
Roby Sharon-Zipser, CEO of hipages Group, acknowledged the hardships faced due to the downturn in larger construction firms but remained optimistic. “Construction companies folding means that creating a new homeland, achieving new home targets and supporting housing affordability, will be challenging to achieve,” he noted. However, he highlighted a silver lining, encouraging tradies to capitalize on the current situation: “However, the work is still out there and we want to encourage tradies across all industries to make the most of it.”
The recent findings and statements from industry leaders paint a complex picture: while the traditional pathways in the building industry may be fraught with difficulties, alternative opportunities in the renovation sector are emerging for Australian tradespeople. Despite the headwinds confronting new home construction, the enduring strength of domestic investment in home improvements could offer a vital lifeline for tradies ready to adapt to market shifts.