Property outlook turns severe

The outlook for property developers may be worse than expected, with a decline of nine per cent in building approvals in March, including a decline of 29 per cent in New South Wales. Developer Mirvac said it expected to report a lower profit, blaming delays with some projects and higher construction costs due to labour and materials shortages. Meriton Apartments group chairman Harry Triguboff blamed “idiotic” state taxes, unnecessarily tough lending criteria applied by banks, and “bullshit stories” about an oversupply of apartments, which he said had led Meriton to halve the number of units under development. The Housing Industry Association said the sector was likely to weaken further as the full impact of the March interest rate rise had yet to be felt.