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SA building outlook improves

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South Australia’s construction industry is feeling more confident but it fears that housing affordability could constrain future growth, according to an industry survey.

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Master Builders Australia’s December 2015 National Survey of Building and Construction shows an improving outlook for SA businesses compared to the previous survey.

In fact, the local industry’s outlook has pipped the national result.

Master Builders SA chief executive officer Ian Markos said the confidence had likely been driven up by “a settling of national concerns” and an increase in local enquiries.

“The resolution of national leadership issues has likely provided some comfort to our members, particularly in a sector so tied to confidence,” he said.

“In recent times, that confidence has reflected the impact of housing approvals below their long-term average and commercial activity slowing as the New Royal Adelaide Hospital winds up.“But the industry is seeing a marked rise in enquiries: it has recovered from an earlier fall, and that has to send a positive signal.”

He said the challenge now was to make good on the promising signs.

“We need real investments, so let’s make sure we cut back the fat now so we can build the best environment for future growth.

“Taxes can’t just be collected without making sure they are working hard and not being wasted. For example, can we combine licensing and prequalification to deliver better outcomes for business and taxpayers? Let’s have those discussions so we can look upon 2016 as the best start for a growing economy.”

The quarterly survey also showed continuing concerns over the impact of housing affordability, which respondents rated as the biggest constraint on economic activity in the sector.

Those surveyed also registered rising concern over input costs. Concerns over infrastructure charges had settled.

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