Originally written by JASON WALLACE
GLENELG Shire’s building boom during 2003 has resulted in about 50 per cent more houses being built than in 2002, and the trend is expected to continue in 2004.
Shire building surveyor Don Sherwell said 111 new houses had been approved from the start of 2003 to the end of November.
“This compares extremely well with 82 new houses that were built in the shire in 2002,” he said.
He said that even without the December figures for this year the permits and value of building works in general was “way up” on last year’s.
“With the December figures still to come in we have already processed 594 building permits this calendar year with a total value of $32.2 million,” he said.
Last year’s building activity saw a total of 578 building permits issued with an overall value of $29.2 million.
“The figures are showing growth right across the whole shire with especially strong growth in Portland,” he said.
Mr Sherwell said the growth was a continuation from government investment in schools and hospitals in previous years and that the building industry remained buoyant with the private sector now driving it.
He said a range of factors had led to the housing boom, including employment opportunities, interest rates and valuation increases in the shire prompting people to expand and renovate to capitalise on property price rises.
The lifestyle available in the region has also attracted people, he said.
“The fantastic environment of Portland and the surrounding areas has a lot to do with it and people are finally realising Portland is not that far from Melbourne,” he said.
Mr Sherwell said some of the investment in the region was coming from outside areas and it was not known if the housing boom would lead to a population rise because it was not clear if houses were being built for permanent dwelling, retirement or part-time occupation.
Glenelg Shire’s strong building figures reflect growth across Victoria.
Victorian building approvals for October this year reached $1.3 billion, which was 13 per cent greater than the same month last year.
Planning Minister Mary Delahunty said the result was the ninth $1 billion month of building approvals for the calendar year.
“Confidence in Victoria’s building industry remains solid across the domestic, residential and commercial sectors, as well as in regional Victoria,” she said.
Melbourne building activity for October was up by 11 per cent on last year, while rural Victoria recorded a rise of 23 per cent, although the south-west region recorded a decline of 14 per cent. November figures for the state are not yet available.
However, Mr Sherwell said all regional municipalities were showing good signs overall for the year and that all indications showed it would be another strong year in 2004.
“All the draftsmen in the shire are busy with a lot of things being planned and it looks very healthy for next year,” he said.
“The indications from the builders are that they have enough work to carry them through 2004 already.”