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Home builders ready for recovery

Home builders ready for recovery

Builder David Simpson is increasingly confident Western Australia has hit the bottom of its housing slowdown and forecasts better times ahead.

The Summit Homes Group managing director expects the next 12 months to bring a gradual rise in building activity across the board.

Following a drop in residential construction from record highs of more than 30,000 home starts in 2014-15, dwelling starts fell by a further 23 per cent in 2016-17 to 19,698, according to figures released by the Housing Industry Association.

However, HIA has suggested the market could be on the mend, forecasting a steady uptick for at least the next four years, with dwellings starts in 2017-18 expected to increase by 2 per cent.

“We’ve had a tough few years,” Mr Simpson told Business News.

“But it’s just the cycle we’re in and we have dealt with that by becoming more competitive.”

The 39-year-old company has maintained its market share for another year and remains fifth on BNiQ Search Engine’s list of residential builders, despite home starts falling from 961 to 746 in 2016-17.

Mr Simpson attributes part of the company’s endurance to his increased investment in staff.

“Having good people is a key strategy of ours,” he said.

“We have put almost 300 people though training in the past 12 months; the internet is rife and there is so much research that clients can do now.

“The broad principle is if I can be the best employer and maintain and attract the best people then that will flow through to clients.”

Summit Homes was named one of Australia’s best workplaces for the third year running in August by the national Best Places to Work Study, and was the only WA-headquartered company and sole homebuilder to do so.

The business has also recently completed its new $20 million headquarters in Myaree, equipped with a larger showroom and a training room.

“I want to make the customer journey the best experience as possible, where finishes and designs will be in the one spot,” Mr Simpson said.

“The challenges we face are in meeting a changing environment; what’s the best product for the area? What’s the change in consumer needs?

“So we’ve really spent a lot of time adapting and building on a good reputation.”

This forms part of the article originally published on the Business News WA website on October 2, 2017.

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