Builders say out-of-towners putting them out of business

Local builder Steve Allen.
Local builder Steve Allen. Christopher Chan GLA050413STEV

SOME Gladstone builders are hanging up their tools, priced out of the competitive housing market.

Managing director of GTC Financial Neville Hughes said there are downsides to the influx of industry.

"What's been hard in Gladstone is that because everybody outside of Gladstone thinks we're only a boom town, what they don't understand is that there's been a huge amount of competition that's come into town," he said.

"It's affected the building industry very significantly. A lot of builders from out of town, bring their own subcontractors, bring own materials from out of town, means anyone in the building industry in Gladstone, hasn't really seen the benefits of the construction boom.

"That's been very tough on local builders. A number are considering shutting down."

Kieran Lawler from Lawler Homes said the market has changed.

"Inquiries have definitely dropped off," he said.

"There is an influx of out of town builders and, from what I see, they're doing a lot of investor work. We tend to build for the homeowner build."

Mr Lawler said the large amount of house building around town isn't unnoticed.

"We can match these guys' prices but they can't match the quality of inclusions."

"I think a lot of people are uneasy with what's going on.

"The amount of houses getting up and the quality."

Local builder Steve Allen believes cheap advertised house prices are drawing in buyers who don't consider the cost of vital add-ons.

Mr Allen owns Island Sands Construction in Boyne Island and said work had been drying up in the Gladstone region for the local building industry.

"We've slowed right down, we're pretty much struggling at the moment," he said.

"My building output has reduced by more than 50%. We are treading water."

Mr Allen believes it is because many house buyers are being drawn in by advertising from multi-state companies.

"I don't get to see a lot of the market anymore; they have such brilliant sales machines. I don't see the amount of jobs to quote on."

The problem, Mr Allen said, was prices generally did not factor in inclusions.

"We can match these guys' prices but they can't match the quality of inclusions," Mr Allen said.

"It does boil down to inclusions that aren't listed - quality inclusions that I believe are fundamental to a quality home."

Many local builders are in the same boat.

"We are definitely on par with a lot of the bigger builders for price; it's our workmanship and inclusions that set us apart," Mr Allen said.

"I could balance two or three houses comfortably. (We) aren't getting that option anymore and that makes it harder for me to keep my workforce intact."

Mr Allen said it was frustrating but he was extending his line of work to deal with it.

"It's about our livelihood. I have a young family so I'm here for the long term."

Local builder Steve Allen.
Local builder Steve Allen. Christopher Chan GLA050413STEV

Topics:  builders gladstone gladstone property market

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