Small home builders and home renovators throughout Australia continue to enjoy solid levels of demand for their services, the latest data shows.

In its latest Activity Report covering the first half of 2021, estimating and job management software provider Buildxact has analysed activity on its platform.

Primarily speaking, the data reflects conditions experienced by builders in custom home building and home renovation – the main users of Buildxact software.

It found that overall, the average number of estimates for each builder who is registered on the platform remains stable at high levels despite having eased back from a peak earlier in the year as buyers rushed to capitalise on the Commonwealth HomeBuilder grant prior to the March 31 deadline for eligibility under the program (see chart).

As well, the average value of estimates has remained stable since recovering after a dip in COVID impacted second quarter of 2020.

Leading the way is Western Australia, where builder estimating activity remains strong despite having tapered off in recent months.

Estimating activity also remains above pre-COVID levels in Victoria despite lockdowns in that state.

Activity has dropped, however, in New South Wales.

In other survey results:

  • Win rates remain stable at just under 20 percent
  • Average builder margins remain stable at just under 15 percent. This indicates that margins on new work are holding up despite labor and material shortages.

The data relates to the first half of the year and does not reflect recent lockdowns.

It comes as other data suggests that the broader market for detached home building is holding up well despite the passing of the deadline for HomeBuilder eligibility.

In July, the ABS reported that approval was granted for the construction of 11,671 detached dwellings nationwide (seasonally adjusted).

This is down from the peak of 15,443 in April but well above the 8,000 – 10,000 monthly levels commonly recorded over the five years prior to COVID.

In its report, Buildxact said the home building sector had fared well despite COVID.

It said the effect of homeowner assistance such as the HomeBuilder grant and changes to stamp duty policies had trickled down to builders.

“Lockdowns and challenging news dominated many people’s lives in 2020,” the company said.

“But things are looking up, especially for residential construction …”

“… Overall, the residential construction industry is rebounding from the pandemic.”