Property trend making tradies millionaires
Tradies have been raking it in thanks to a renovations boom, with nearly one in 10 reporting they are earning more than $200,000 a year.
The trades making the biggest earnings were plumbers, concreters, builders, carpenters and flooring companies, according to a Service Seeking survey.
These trades were commanding up to $2000 for jobs that often took less than an hour because rampant growth in house prices encouraged more property owners to draw equity from their properties to fund home improvements.
This sapped the supply of trades at a time when many businesses were still contracted to new construction projects, creating a trades shortage.
Most operators expected to continue cashing in - about 44 per cent surveyed said they forecast "massive growth" in their incomes over the next 12 months.
Service Seeking chief executive Jeremy Levitt said demand for tradies would continue to grow as property prices increased further.
"Renovation activity tends to go up when prices go up," he said. "When prices were down, there was a slump."
Sydney home prices spiked nearly 6 per cent in the past three months alone, while Melbourne prices increased about 5 per cent, CoreLogic data showed.
"It's really hard to get a tradie at the moment and it's very expensive," Mr Levitt said. "Some tradies are working 12-15 hour days and they're squeezing little jobs around really big ones."
Plumber Alex Taskun quit a career in finance to become a tradie 10 years ago, starting a company called GT plumbing, and said business was booming.
"December was the busiest period I've ever seen," he said, adding he was expecting to earn nearly $1 million this year.
"I've got colleagues getting $500,000 a quarter, before expenses … there's a lot of work."
Tradie earnings varied somewhat by experience. Most of the tradies earning more than $200,000 a year joined the industry more than 10 years ago.
Those in the early stages of their careers were likely to earn less and could expect to earn somewhere between $50,000 and $80,000.
Licensed tradies also heavily out-earned unlicensed workers such as painters and removalists, who made about $80,000-$85,000 a year, on average. The lowest paid tradies were handymen, with average earnings of $73,200.
Homeowners in Sydney's eastern suburbs, Hills district and northern beaches have particularly large troves of equity to draw to finance home improvements due to recent price growth.
Owners in the Woollahra council area who bought their homes more than seven years ago typically had about $660,000 in equity, while in nearby Waverley council the average equity was $520,000. In the Hills and northern beaches it was about $550,000.
"Tradies are opportunistic, just like any business people," Mr Levitt said. "They might charge a client more when they see it's a large waterfront property with harbour views, but the quote will be different if it's out west."
Originally published as Property trend making tradies millionaires