Wanna know why those bricks are so expensive?

Via the AFR:

The cost of housing bricks has soared by a third in just two years in Sydney as a construction boom has kept the NSW capital one of the world’s most expensive cities in which to build.

Sydney’s 33.1 per cent leap in the cost of 1000 standard bricks – from $590 in 2015 to $785 this year – was triple the 9.6 per cent gain seen in Melbourne over the same time, where the cost of the same material rose to $570 from $520.

The figures, contained in Turner & Townsend’s International Construction Market Survey 2017, also show the clear effect the country’s biggest-ever housing boom has had on the market for materials and labour in Australia’s largest city. The cost of structural steel has jumped 17.1 per cent over the past two years to $2400 per sq m from $2050 while it has barely budged in other cities.

But the booming market has done little to alter the existing picture of a strong, if patchy, overall market dominated by Sydney. The NSW capital ranked ninth out of 43 markets surveyed in the quantity surveying firm’s latest global comparison, with New York taking top place as the most expensive place in which to build. Melbourne came in 20th, Perth 21st (down from 18th position) and Brisbane 22nd.

And with Australia’s residential housing blitz likely to hit a peak over the next 12 to 18 months, demand for some of those materials is likely to ease. It will be offset to some extent by rising demand for infrastructure-related inputs, but the timing and extent of those is unclear, said Turner & Townsend senior economist Gary Emmett.

Meh. That’s not it. This is, from Brickworks:

We never thought that after 108 years of making bricks in Australia, we would now need to investigate manufacturing overseas.

Following repeated warnings from industry over many years, it is now obvious that government has failed to develop an effective policy to address domestic energy supply.

Frustratingly, some governments seem intent on exacerbating the issue, even if that means the lights will go out in houses and factories across the country.

Exporting our gas is not just putting at risk the jobs of 2000 to 3000 brick makers in Australia, but also the more than 25,000 bricklayers that rely on an uninterrupted supply of products, not to mention the flow on effect in relation to housing supply.

One third of non-labour costs producing bricks is gas. One quarter of its profits gone (without price hikes) thanks to the recent surge in gas prices.

That’s putting a roof over your head in the Banana Republic.


  1. Oddly these prices rises aren’t showing up in the housing component of CPI as they should. Obviously its being offset by the falling cost of asbestos-riddled insulation being imported from China.

  2. So switch to coal. I hear there’s plenty of brown stuff going cheap.

    Mix yesterday’s ash with today’s clay and you’re getting a win-win.

    • Gives a new meaning to “cancerous real-estate” 😛

      Also, wait until they discover that all that ash is highly toxic, so aside to the “mr Fluffy” register, they’re going to have to make another one for “mr bricky”… So here we go with “resuming the houses”, levelling them and burying the material along with the plutonium residue we have…

  3. wasabinatorMEMBER

    Never fear. Everyone will be shitting them soon. Looking forward to building a granny flat out of Reus’ finest.

  4. Didn’t know anyone was still using bricks. The Gold Coast is pure blueboard – almost slums as soon as they are finished.

    • Unbelievable isn’t it. If that happens then I will leave for somewhere normal!!!

  5. Try these:

    Autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC) building blocks, a stronger and more sustainable alternative to clay bricks.

    When compared to clay bricks, AAC blocks have the advantage of lower production cost, time taken for production, ease of transport (they are less bulky and can be carried over longer distances), energy conservation and green technology (it uses fly-ash, a waste product of thermal power plants). These blocks consume 20 percent less energy, and use a fraction of the land and labour required for clay bricks


    • Yeah, call me jaded but whenever i see the term ‘india’ in an article promoting some new and improved item or technology, i get kind of suspicious and can’t help thinking that it’s likely just something that was discovered many years ago by someone else but later abandoned through the eventual discovery of some real disadvantage (e.g. too flimsy, too radioactive, too fragile, too thermally conductive etc.) otherwise we’d be using it now as the great followers that we are what with the demise of local manufacturing

      • BabundaMEMBER

        No this is a real thing – tons of outfits are switching to this product (and other highly engineered alternatives) to replace bricks which are expensive heavy and laborious​. They’re going the way of stone…a feature piece not a core structural material

      • Sounds like what I call breeze blocks been used in UK for decades (seen a few here to) & wikipedia just told me they were invited in the 1920’s!!!

  6. Wait…if this about gas, why is it only the price of Sydney bricks that have gone through the roof? This is something else, something maybe even worse. Why can’t Sydney just import bricks from somewhere cheaper? Even Melbourne has cheaper bricks. This is just crazy