Wagga's builders remain confident in the city's rate of home building despite a 3.7 per cent decline in the value of new homes approved over past financial year.
A new report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics found that 382 new standalone homes received building approval in Wagga and the surrounding region during 2019-20, down from 395 in the financial year before that.
Combined with a drop in approvals for flats and apartments, the total value of approvals in Wagga's residential construction industry dropped by more than $6.3 million to $156 million.
Wayne Carter Homes construction company owner Wayne Carter said the rate of new home building "hasn't slowed down, if anything it has accelerated in Wagga" during the pandemic.
"In 2000 when the GST was introduced we thought it was the end of the world in the building industry but after a month or so, things accelerated from some reason and I don't know why," he said.
"In Wagga only, when it became apparent that COVID was around, we didn't feel any pullback at all.
"And then when the $25,000 grants were announced from the federal government, Wagga accelerated. We are busier now than this time last year...we are in the middle of quite a busy period."
The total value of home additions and alterations declined by 2.64 per cent during 2019-20 financial year, a time period that included 14 weeks when residents and businesses faced restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Construction sole trader Rob Edwards said economic uncertainty during the pandemic had an effect on renovations in Wagga.
"It's been a bit of a mix; I know a lot of guys have been slow with not much happening but we have been lucky in that regard with not much of a downturn at all," he said.
"The COVID thing has had an impact on renovations for sure as far as people have lost their job and are waiting for JobKeeper or JobSeeker to kick in.
"I had one younger couple, just as this happened, got me to look at a repair that someone else had done. She worked part-time at one of the pubs and was down to a few hours a week. I said don't worry about a $60 charge and she was very grateful for that."
Mr Edwards said the pace of renovations in Wagga usually increased after the end of a financial year on June 30.
"People get tax returns and it leads into the Christmas rush," he said.
"It's generally a pattern that we find. You come out of the doldrums of winter and the sun starts to shine and people need something to do.
"Whenever the farmers have a good year, we tend to follow suit."
Wagga's surrounding areas performed the best in terms of home approvals in 2019-20, with 164 new houses approved with a total value of $54 million.
IN OTHER REAL ESTATE NEWS:
This result was likely due to fast-growing suburbs like Gobbagombalin being defined as located outside Wagga under the geographic boundaries used by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
'Wagga south', which includes the suburb of Lloyd, had the city's second highest number of new home approvals at 71 and topped the leaderboard for alterations and additions, with almost $4.8 million worth in 2019-20.
Junee had the Riverina's biggest jump in the value of new house approvals, jumping by 31.5 per cent over 12 months with 21 new homes worth a total of more than $7.1 million.
Temora saw a 20 per cent jump in the value of new house building approvals and Griffith saw a 17.8 per cent decline.