Anthony Wolff of Hotondo Homes Mackay has noticed a spike in first homes buyers since January.
Anthony Wolff of Hotondo Homes Mackay has noticed a spike in first homes buyers since January. Lee Constable

Builder, family moves north after 5 year free fall

FOR the first time in five years the number of monthly building approvals for new homes in Mackay is up, on average.

Enough so to draw builder Tristan Bullock and wife Emily back to the region.

Mr Bullock opened his GJ Gardner franchise in Mackay three weeks ago, bringing his wife and three children, all under five, from Albury, Wodonga.

The couple met in Moranbah, Emily's home town, where Tristan was an electrician in an underground mine.

Nine years later, the electrician-turned-carpenter was ready to move his family back up north.

But the market needed to be right, and after seeing an increase in building approvals and house prices they decided to jump.

He sold his share of his GJ Gardner business, which had built more than 300 homes, and moved north.

"Everything was trending up and if we waited another 12 months we could have paid a extra $100,000 to buy a home," he said.

Mr Bullock registered his building certification on February 8 and has already had 14 enquiries, one of those under contract, all before he has set up an office. Master Builders Mackay Whitsunday manager Malcolm Hull said there was enough work to keep the small number of builders here making money. Hotondo Homes owner Anthony Wolff (left) has seven homes under construction, seven units about to start and eight under contract.

"We haven't seen that for quite some time," he said after running the business in Mackay for seven years.


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