House building material costs stabilise

“The cost of house building materials was unchanged in the September Quarter 2023, for the first time since before the pandemic,” stated HIA Senior Economist Tom Devitt.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released its Producer Price Indexes for the September Quarter 2023, for a range of industries, including mining, manufacturing, construction and services industries.

“The ABS Producer Price Index for house construction inputs saw a 0.0 per cent change in the September 2023 quarter compared to the previous quarter,” added Mr Devitt.

“This sees the cost of house building materials just 4.4 per cent higher over the year, compared to a 17.3 per cent annual increase in 2021/22.

“The slowing in cost of house building inputs reflects a significant easing in the materials constraints that plagued the industry during the pandemic.

“Some of the worst affected products during the pandemic are now seeing outright declines in price.

“Last year, structural timber and reinforcing steel prices were both up by more than 60 per cent on pre-pandemic levels. In the last year, they have declined by 8.8 per cent and 5.3 per cent respectively. Steel beams and sections, which were up by more than 50 per cent a year ago, subsequently declined by 17.2 per cent.

“Most of Australia’s pandemic inflationary pressures came from building materials and fuel.

“As these pressures ease, it will provide more certainty of future house building costs, as well as hasten the need for a cut to interest rates,” concluded Mr Devitt