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Latest Building Approvals Shows Need to Boost Confidence in Territory Economy

Today’s ABS residential building approvals data confirms the urgent need for substantial government grants to support the construction of new homes.


“Only 24 new dwellings were approved for construction in April 2024, down 29 percent on the March figures. The figures confirm that the Territory is on track to record one of the worst years on record for the construction of new private sector dwellings,” Master Builders NT Chief Executive said.


“The level of new private sector home construction is one of the most important indicators of economic performance and confidence in the Territory economy so we should all be deeply concerned,” he said.


“It shows that people have been losing confidence in the Territory economy, The level of home ownership in the Territory is at 50 percent compared to 68 per cent nationally, This nearly 20 percent gap shows that fewer people are willing to put down roots here,” Ben Carter said.


“We need a major intervention from the government to help turn this around. The Country Liberal Party’s (CLP) promise to provide grants to build new homes of $50,000 to First Home Buyers and $30,000 for owner occupiers who already own a home or have previously owned a home if they win government is an example of what is needed,” he said.

“Substantial grants are needed to make the Territory standout as a place of opportunity. Being provided with a major step up into homeownership can incentivize migrant workers to stay in the Territory and attract those from down south looking for opportunity,” Ben Carter said.


“The ABS Housing Finance figures for March reinforce the need for action. Only 16 loans were approved for owner occupier dwellings and only 6 were approved for new land,” he said.

“This means that residential builders and subcontractors in the home building supply chain are doing it very tough. We have had reports from members that business conditions have not been this bad for over a decade,” Ben Carter said.


“The Territory’s construction sector is invested in the Territory realizing its economic potential. Master Builders members are investing every day in their businesses and the Territory economy. They want a strong economy so that they can have confidence in the future pipeline of work and they want the Territory Government to back them with measures that will boost confidence in the private sector,” he said.


“Substantial grants to give people a boost into home ownership is one of the most effective ways to tackle labour shortages by attracting more workers to the Territory and encouraging them to stay. It supports demand for residential building in the immediate term but also the long term through population growth,” Ben Carter said.


“Home building grants are also needed to help ensure that Territorians benefit from the forecast $6.2 billion spend on military construction in the Territory. The workers we need to construct and sustain defence infrastructure and facilities won’t be housed in social housing, we need to boost the supply of private sector housing,” Ben Carter said.