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4-Traders Homepage  >  Equities  >  AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES EXCHANGE LIMITED  >  Adelaide Brighton Ltd.    ABC   AU000000ABC7

ADELAIDE BRIGHTON LTD. (ABC)
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Fringe benefits - Home demand in outer Australian cities prolongs building boom

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11/15/2017 | 04:31am CEST
Tradesman Michael Jones works on a new house at a housing development in the western Sydney suburb of Oran Park in Australia

SYDNEY (Reuters) - On the edges of Sydney, where Australia's biggest city is sprawling across paddocks and market gardens, demand for new homes is running harder than tradesmen can lay bricks.

As home prices have soared in established suburbs – values have doubled in Sydney since 2008 and nearly so in Melbourne – buyers seeking the "Australian dream" of a free-standing home and yard have flocked to the fringes where land is cheaper.

"It's where we could afford," said Sandeep Hehar, 28, who queued overnight with her husband to secure a plot of land in Oran Park, a new outer-Sydney suburb rising on the site of an old motor racing circuit where she hopes to build a 4-bedroom home and start a family.

The construction rush driven by more people moving to the outer suburbs has helped reverse a downward trend in building approvals. House approvals touched an 18-month high of 9,929 in September, unexpectedly prolonging a boom many thought was winding down.

This frenetic activity has created a labour shortage in the industry.

"There aren't enough bricklayers to keep up, so what builders have started doing is actually looking for other products to use rather than brick," James Logue, housing manager at Fairmont Homes, a family-owned home builder based on Sydney's southwestern fringe told Reuters.

Much larger aerated concrete panels, sold by CSR Ltd (>> CSR Limited) under the trade name Hebel, are a common substitute, as they can be fitted to timber frames and completed much faster than building a wall from brick, he said.

"Pretty much every builder here is just flat out, crazy busy."

Demand from buyers such as Hehar propelled Sydney's median residential lot land values to a record high of A$470,000 (271,346.48 pounds) in October.

At the same time, the extra supply of new homes has tempered once red-hot price growth to the relief of policy makers worried about a housing-bubble bust.

BUILD AND THEY WILL COME

The roaring construction of new homes, however, is putting a floor under prices and is supporting the economy by stoking demand and jobs in the building industry.

"I think most people, including us, underestimated it," said Jack Hoffman, General Manager at Satterley, Australia's largest privately-owned land developer, in Victoria state, where approvals to build new private homes hit a seven-year high in September.

"The population growth took people by surprise and that's a real driver...we've got strong levels of demand every time we're releasing blocks of land."

Forward-looking data promises even more life in the cycle yet.

Borrowing to buy finished new homes hit a 38-year peak in September. The monthly rate of building loan creation is also cantering at 6,400 – harking back to the boom-time borrowing rates of three years ago.

Private-home construction approvals rose for a seventh straight month in September, enough to turn back a downtrend in overall approvals, as some of the country's around 230,000 annual migrants built homes for themselves.

To be sure, overall construction activity is below the heights it scaled during the boom's 2016 peak, and many economists say the current building surge should stabilise over time.

But small-time builders' demand for locally-made supplies like bricks, tiles and wood frames is moving the dial for material-makers such as Brickworks Ltd (>> Brickworks Limited), Boral Ltd (>> Boral Limited) and James Hardie Industries (>> James Hardie Industries plc), and that's drawing investors.

'LIFE'S GOOD, MATE'

Fund manager Jason Beddow, chief executive of A$5.2 billion fund Argo Investments Ltd (>> Argo Investments Limited), owns stakes in cement-maker Adelaide Brighton Ltd (>> Adelaide Brighton Ltd.) and paint-producer DuluxGroup Ltd (>> DuluxGroup Limited) to gain exposure to the home building sector.

"If you're not buying a new house you're renovating a house, so, you know if you're supplying into housing - you'd expect there to be some increased activity."

Indeed, houses built in the last big house-building boom in the 1980s are getting renovated now.

Brickworks boasted of a strong order book on Australia's populous east-coast in September, as did cement-maker Adelaide Brighton in October. Shares in both have gained steadily since, while Dulux stock jumped to an all-time high on Wednesday after it offered a rosy 2018 outlook.

Boral shares have traded at 10-year highs since it made a similar forecast earlier in the month, and rival CSR is expanding the factory where it makes the brick-alternative Hebel, thanks to strong sales.

For carpenter Ryan Crocker the blocks have built him a four-bedroom home in Oran Park.

"It's booming out here, and I think our house might go up in value," Crocker said, of the new house boasting a yard and a pool that he moved in to recently with his wife and daughter.

"Life's good, mate."

(The story corrects typographical error in headline.)

(Reporting by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

By Tom Westbrook

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
ARGO INVESTMENTS LIMITED -0.39% 7.75 End-of-day quote.-4.31%
BORAL LIMITED -5.23% 6.52 End-of-day quote.-11.68%
BRICKWORKS LIMITED -0.06% 15.82 End-of-day quote.6.46%
CSR LIMITED 0.00% 5.47 End-of-day quote.14.92%
DULUXGROUP LIMITED 0.26% 7.6 End-of-day quote.-1.04%
JAMES HARDIE INDUSTRIES PLC 0.09% 23.42 End-of-day quote.3.45%
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Financials ( AUD)
Sales 2018 1 620 M
EBIT 2018 298 M
Net income 2018 210 M
Debt 2018 370 M
Yield 2018 4,16%
P/E ratio 2018 19,58
P/E ratio 2019 18,26
EV / Sales 2018 2,79x
EV / Sales 2019 2,70x
Capitalization 4 142 M
Chart ADELAIDE BRIGHTON LTD.
Duration : Period :
Adelaide Brighton Ltd. Technical Analysis Chart | ABC | AU000000ABC7 | 4-Traders
Technical analysis trends ADELAIDE BRIGHTON LTD.
Short TermMid-TermLong Term
TrendsBearishNeutralNeutral
Income Statement Evolution
Consensus
Sell
Buy
Mean consensus HOLD
Number of Analysts 11
Average target price 6,03  AUD
Spread / Average Target -5,4%
EPS Revisions
Managers
NameTitle
Martin Brydon Chief Executive Officer, MD & Executive Director
Leslie Victor Hosking Non-Executive Chairman
Zlatko Todorcevski Chairman-Elect
Michael Kelly Chief Financial Officer
Graeme Francis Pettigrew Independent Non-Executive Director
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ADELAIDE BRIGHTON LTD.-2.30%3 138
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DANGOTE CEMENT PLC--.--%11 803
SHREE CEMENT LIMITED-3.00%9 072
JAMES HARDIE INDUSTRIES PLC3.45%7 855
CHINA RESOURCES CEMENT HOLDINGS LIMITED55.71%6 651