Epiq at Lennox Head
Epiq at Lennox Head

Builders smiling over Northern Rivers construction boom

THE building boom unfolding across coastal areas of the Northern Rivers is keeping builders "flat out”, with no end in sight.

In-demand land releases centred around Ballina and Lennox Head, but also in Wollongbar, Goonellabah and Casino are seeing a surge in demand for new homes.

Last year The Northern Star reported an spike in development applications lodged with Ballina and Lismore councils with set to record their biggest years since prior to the 2008 financial crisis.

'It's boom time in Lismore and Ballina'

The development upswing has local custom builders, like Goonellabah-based Del Casa Homes, practically booked out until the end of the year and rapidly filling up their 2018 calendar.

"The last six months has been flat out, lots of inquiries, we're probably double normal,” Del Casa general manager Darren Driussi said.

"We're taking non-stop inquiries, mainly around the coastal areas, Ballina, Lennox, and Byron.”

Del Casa has seven full-time carpenters and is putting on more subcontractors to to complete its 2017 jobs and is already planning jobs into 2018.

"If you walk in the door today there would be (at least) a six month wait,” Mr Driussi said.

"We're probably foreseeing an easy two years' work which is not very common, usually the most you will see is maybe a year at best.”

Del Casa has jobs at Lennox Head's new Epiq estate, in the ever expanding Ballina Heights, and the boutique Seacliff Estate in Suffolk Park.

Half a billion dollars worth

Region Development Australia statistics reveal construction has been on the increase for the last three years, with Northern Rivers building approvals almost hitting $500 million in 2015-16 - the biggest year in a decade.

Lismore building approvals (including commercial) doubled from $20 million to $40 million in a year, while Ballina approvals hit $105 million, up from $40 million in 2012-13.

Richmond Valley approvals also rose (from $12.2 to $13.9 million) while Byron and Kyogle experienced declines (from $87 million to $77 million, and from $7.4 to $5.2 million respectively).

The residential construction boom around Ballina has also seen large project home builders, such as Coral Homes and Perry Homes, capitalise on the burgeoning demand.

At Coral's Northern Rivers office in Ballina's Fern Grove Estate, head sales consultant Haley Corrigan said things were "extremely busy”.

Coral is building homes from rural residential estates in Casino, through Goonellabah, Wollongbar, and around the new Ballina estates.

"There is a lot of people out and about looking to build, and looking for land,” Ms Corrigan said.

"There is a lot of new estates coming up in the next six to eight months, (and) people are waiting around for those new land releases.

Among all its offices from Hervey Bay to Sydney, Ms Corrigan said Coral's Northern Rivers office was a definite hotspot

Ms Corrigan has been working at Coral Homes for eight years, but only moved back from Sydney to the Northern Rivers, where she grew up in Casino, in the middle of last year

"From the day that I arrived it's been extremely busy,” she said.

Two other project home builders, Perry and Metricon, have also opened displays and offices in the neighbouring River Oaks Estate.

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