The ABS data for regional housing approvals in March released this morning show the positive trend in the Far North continuing, despite the headline data for Cairns weakening slightly from Feb.
The unadjusted data from the ABS is notoriously volatile so we need to consider the Conus Trend series to get an accurate picture.
In Cairns (including Port Douglas) the unadjusted data showed 60 approvals in March (down from 71 in Feb) but the Conus Trend is 71, which is a slight improvement from 70 in Feb (which in turn was revised up from 64). Trend approvals in Cairns (plus Douglas) now stand 38.5% above where they were a year ago, and are higher than they have been since June 2010.
The Cassowary Coast continued to see a strong recovery (from a very low base) with unadjusted approvals at 11 in March. This takes the Conus Trend to 11 (unchanged from Feb, although Feb was revised up from 10) which is an increase of 60.5% from the same time last year.
In contrast to the brighter picture in FNQ, Townsville continues to struggle. Unadjusted data showed approvals at 93 but the Conus Trend has fallen to 113 (from 116 in Feb which was in turn revised down from 131). This represents a 2.0% decline in Trend approvals over the year and is the lowest level of Trend approvals since Sept 2013.
The detailed data for the Cassowary Coast shows that, once again, the bulk of the approvals were in the Tully SA2 area (7 in total) with Johnstone accounting for 3 approvals. So far for this financial year the Tully SA2 area (which includes Tully, Cardwell and Mission Beach) has accounted for over 61% of all approvals in the Cassowary Coast.