The cost of building a home in Australia: what to expect in 2023

February 10, 2023 BY

Leigh Deledio from UFinancial.

There are tons of reasons why people may prefer to build a new home instead of buying an established home.

You can customise everything to your liking, have a say in what materials are used, make your home more energy-efficient, and avoid bidding wars for properties.

But here’s the thing: building in Australia has gotten more expensive. Supply chain issues, exchange rate fluctuations, and material and labour shortages have all contributed to a 11.9 per cent increase in residential construction costs in 2022 (according to CoreLogic’s Cordell Construction Cost Index).

According to Corelogic, “the biggest contributors are volatile timber prices, with fluctuations in structural timber costs and general increases to timber products. Prices for metal products such as gutters, lintels and fixings, used for roofing and structural purposes continue to increase, and concrete values also remain unstable”.

In Victoria, the annual growth rate is currently higher than the national rate. In the 12 months to December 2022, residential construction costs in the state increased by 13.0 per cent.


What should you expect in 2023 if you’re planning to build?

While costs rose significantly more in 2022 than they did in 2021 (7.3 per cent), the rate of growth seems to be slowing down. Prices increased by 4.7 per cent in the September quarter but only 1.9 per cent in the December quarter.

John Bennett, CoreLogic’s construction cost estimation manager, doesn’t expect costs to continue rising as quickly as they have been because that rising interest rates and inflation have made consumers, builders, and suppliers more cautious.


Where to start?

Building costs can vary based on location, project design, and the level of fit-out. So, where do you start?

First, figure out how much you can borrow. You may have a dream home in mind but first, you need to know if you can afford it. An online mortgage calculator can be a great place to get a rough idea of your borrowing capacity, but it won’t consider all your personal circumstances or eligibility for a loan. Talk to a mortgage broker for a clearer picture of your borrowing capacity.

Then, research availability, sustainability, infrastructure, and regulations. After that, choose a builder and/or architect to create plans and a fixed price contract.

It’s important to spend time finding the right builder for your project. Get recommendations from friends or family, contact the Master Builders’ Association and invite various licensed builders to quote on your new property.

Finally, get your plans approved and apply for a construction loan. Make sure you also consider additional costs like stamp duty, legal fees, and loan-related costs.

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