Regional builders are reaping the benefits of a booming property market and surge in population shifts, with an opening to break into the metro Melbourne market and combat predicted falls in building activity.
The most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data showed that the building activity of dwelling units commenced fell, with a 0.8 per cent decrease on the previous quarter and an overall drop in residential building by more than 2 per cent.
In contrast, rising home values – a 6.9 per cent increase in regional areas and a two per cent increase in capital cities – and growing consumer confidence are creating a buffer against falling building activity.
AVID Property Group (AVID) General Manager Victoria Peter Vlitas said the property market was thriving at a level that was unexpected when the pandemic first set in, which was reflected in the sales growth across AVID’s Victorian communities.
“There’s been incredible success in the property market however the industry still faces many challenges, such as stalled interstate and international migration, which are having an impact on the overall level of building activity,” said Mr Vlitas.
“While there’s a contradiction between high buyer confidence, rising home values and predicted overall falls in building activity, there’s an opportunity for smaller businesses to throw their weight into the bigger metro market in capital cities like Melbourne.”
Pam Langdon, Manager of regional builder Langdon Building, said the success they’d seen at home in Ballarat was an opportunity to accelerate their business and product diversity in Melbourne in an ever-competitive industry.
“We’ve seen a spike in home building and sales since the pandemic. We’ve had the best year yet during COVID-19 and that’s helped us branch out,” Ms Langdon said.
“Online leads and website traffic have doubled, particularly as more and more people are researching online to become more informed and are using digital and virtual tours for home buying and building.
“We’ve been operating in the Melbourne market for a few years, which is a fantastic opportunity, but it’s important for us to have a strategic plan in place to ensure longevity,” Ms Langdon said.
One of the cornerstones of Langdon Building’s success in Melbourne’s south west is its first display home in the Bloomdale by AVID Property Group masterplanned community in Diggers Rest, and their relationship with the national developer.
“We’re a family run business from Ballarat so building relationships with national developers who operate in Melbourne has helped us get into the market,” Ms Langdon said.
“That in turn allows us to build competitiveness and provide job security to hundreds of people that we employ directly and indirectly.
Ms Langdon said they needed to future proof their business and grow, particularly given the difficulties of predicting what the rest of the year will bring.
“It’s not the easiest path or a quick process to be a regional builder looking to have a share of the Melbourne construction market − it’s strategic and you have to go where the growth zones are,” Ms Langdon said.
“Right now, we’re making the most of the opportunities and successes we’ve had to establish ourselves in Melbourne and also continue to deliver great homes in Ballarat.”
AVID General Manager Victoria Peter Vlitas said Langdon Building and AVID cemented their relationship two years ago and have since continued to work closely together at Bloomdale’s Display Village and across AVID’s other projects in Melbourne’s west.
“We work with national and local builders to deliver a range of housing products from detached dwellings to townhomes, and it’s always an exciting opportunity to work with smaller, up and coming builders like Langdon Building.
“We have shared values about community and fostering places and homes for families to thrive – Langdon Building has always been focused on delivering liveable homes and communities for families which is something that we also embrace.
 The Sydney Morning Herald, 2021, Why are Australian home prices rising again and can it last?