After the stellar performance of the January Building Approvals data in QLD (see commentary here) last week it is pleasing to see the improving trend reflected in the regional data for the Far North released by the ABS today. The raw unadjusted data shows approvals in Cairns at 60 (63 when we include Douglas, which we do so as to be able to compare to data from pre-de-amalgamation), 7 in the Cassowary Coast and 102 in Townsville. These raw data series are far too volatile to be of much use so the preferred measure is the Conus Trend series.
Here we see Cairns (incl Douglas) Trend approvals at 57 (up from 56 in Dec) which is a 12% increase from a year ago. In the Cassowary Coast Trend approvals are at 8 (unchanged, when rounded, from Dec) and up 49% from a year ago (which was a very low low, see chart below). Townsville Trend approvals are at 141 (up from 140) which gives a 14% increase over the year.
Once again, approvals in the Cassowary Coast have come predominantly from the Tully SA2 area (which includes Cardwell and Mission Beach as well as Tully itself) which accounted for 5 of the 7 approvals in the LGA.
In general, we can see from the chart a steady improvement over the past few years in all three LGAs. We can expect to see further improvements in the Cairns data if the 1,000 house development at Caravonica (see The Cairns Post today) gets the go-ahead.