IT professional turned builder Tony Nguyen has had to find work where he can get it following the recent slowdown in housing construction.
While he prefers to tackle new home projects, he has had to take on renovation work and shop fit-outs due to the lack of demand for new properties in the ACT.
"With the slowdown you really just have to take work as it comes," Mr Nguyen said.
"I'm lucky in a sense in that I have some financial support behind me, this is not the only income [for my family].
"If I was just in it by myself … it would be very tough."
Mr Nguyen moved from his IT field into the building trade to finally embrace the passion for home design and construction he fostered as a youngster at school.
He started his business Modern Design about six years ago and employs sub-contractors to help him complete building projects, just as "a lot of the small guys" do.
Mr Nguyen said he had noticed a massive drop in demand for new houses and he didn't expect things to pick up significantly next year.
He hoped things would become a little rosier the year after.
Mr Nguyen said the "ridiculous" price of land in the ACT, regulations and excessive paperwork made the life of a builder more difficult than some might think.
"People see us as sitting on top of the tree, on top of the food chain, and I think that in a sense is quite unfair," he said. "For every [builder] you see being rich there's probably a hundred of us who are not in that boat."
Neil Evans, Housing Industry Association ACT southern NSW executive director, said housing starts were forecast to decline again next year in Canberra but it was not a terrible situation because "it's coming off an all-time high record". He said the number of housing starts predicted - about 3200 per year - would only just be covering the territory's population growth and an increase in existing residents wanting to build new homes could mean a level slightly under demand.
But Mr Evans said that was certainly not an impending disaster for the territory.
"The housing industry is an important driver of the economy and whenever there is productivity in the housing market it has a positive effect on the economy and business in general," he said.
The Real Estate Institute of the ACT says buyers have also returned to the market in force in the weeks after the election.
Spokesman Craig Bright said the situation at the moment was almost the perfect storm because interest rates were low but the supply of houses was starting to tighten.
He said the industry had not seen the usual spring rush of properties listed on the market which could be due to potential sellers waiting for Canberra to experience the price rises of Sydney and Melbourne.
Mr Bright predicted activity would slowly increase over the next financial year with more homes being listed and further interest rate cuts expected.