Upswing in property industry confidence overshadowed by future work concerns, Property Council survey shows

The Confidence Index in the ACT increased seven points from last quarter to 116. A score of 100 in the Confidence Index is considered neutral. The steadying of interest rates and the demand for growth is driving this net overall confidence increase.

Despite this upswing in general sentiment, several reporting metrics hinted at a prevailing sense of concern among individual operators.

ACT was one of only two states, alongside Victoria, which experienced a dive in confidence regarding forward work schedule expectations. This metric has been steadily declining for the past two survey periods, with the percentage of respondents expecting their 12-month pipeline of work to increase dropping from 56 per cent in the September 2023 quarter to 24.4 per cent in March.

This uncertainty is reflected in staffing level expectations. Although more respondents expected to grow their personnel over the next 12 months than in the last reporting period – jumping from zero to 6.3 – this metric still sits far below the historical average of 19.5.

“Although this survey represents a broad cross-section of industry, the fact that the bulk of respondents were developers is a clear indicator of the uncertainty that’s being felt on the ground,” Property Council ACT & Capital Region Executive Director Shane Martin said.

“With the dangerous Personal Liability clause of the Property Developers Bill that’s currently being considered in the ACT, it’s no wonder developers aren’t feeling optimistic about their future in the Territory.

“Fittingly, an overwhelming 50 per cent of respondents said housing supply was the most critical issue for the ACT Government. The stark reality is that we need to build more homes for our future generations. Regulation that creates personal liability consequences for developers, for decisions they do not directly control, decreases confidence in the market and risks further delays and extra cost to residential development.

“It’s pleasing to see an increase in general confidence over the last quarter, but if this first-of-its-kind legislation is passed as is, the Territory’s future will take a hit.”

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