RMBF: Softening market was expected

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The latest building consents data from January 2006 was in line with expected industry trends, RMBF chief executive Pieter Burghout says. While residential consents fell 15% by number in 2005, they only fell 6.7% by value — and commercial consents only fell by 2%. 

Factoring in additions and alterations, the total value of construction activity to the year ending January 2006 was the highest it has ever been — $10,905 million, up 1% on the January 2005 year. “So 2005 was still a very big year for the building and construction industry. 

But, builders should expect further softening in the residential market over 2006/2007 before another lift in mid to late 2008,” Mr Burghout says. “As the overall building and construction market softens for the first time in nearly five years, builders will welcome some ‘breathing space’ in the running of their businesses. 

It’s been so busy that most builders have been stretched, but a slight lull will let them get on top of things. “I believe a slight softening will be useful for the construction industry overall. In particular, the time is right to concentrate on the development of the licensing framework for implementation later next year, through to compulsory licensing in November 2009.” 

Mr Burghout also says now is the time for builders to think about marketing programmes, including the upcoming House of the Year Awards as an opportunity to promote themselves and grow their business.