The ABS released their regional residential building approvals data this morning and, using the Conus Trend series, it shows that approvals in the regions are sliding lower as the capital holds relatively firm. While last week’s state-wide data showed the yr/yr decline in approvals in Queensland had come to a virtual standstill (down just 0.2% for the year to November) today’s data tells us that the falls in the regions outside Greater Brisbane continue apace.
Conus Trend approvals in Greater Brisbane for Nov stood at 2,008 (unchanged from Oct) and up 17.7% from the same time a year ago. In the Rest of Queensland the story was very different with Trend approvals at 1,334 (down from 1,376 in Oct), down 18.8% year on year and the lowest since March 2015.
When we consider the regions in more detail we see year on year declines across many regions; Wide Bay -30.2%, Gold Coast -27.9%, Townsville -20.6%, Sunshine Coast -19.5% and Fitzroy -12.3%. Offsetting those declines are gains in Mackay +147.1% (from a very low base!), Outback +61.2% (small numbers) and Cairns +7.9% (see further commentary below).
In our own region Cairns continues to see a slowdown in what had been a strong recovery. The Conus Trend fell again in Nov to 87 (from 90 in Oct) although this remains stronger than a year ago. Townsville also sees falls (to 64 from 65 in Oct) and remains significantly lower than a year ago.
Considering the local data at the Local Govt Area level (and again using the Conus Trend) we see that The Cairns Regional Council area (incl Douglas Shire) saw a fall to 57 (from 60) but remains up 34.3% for the year. The Cassowary Coast Regional Council remains fairly stable at 7 although this is up almost 40% from a year ago. The Tablelands Regional Council (incl Mareeba Shire) has been the only improvement for the month edging up to 26 (from 25) and is up 16.7% from a year earlier; this marks the highest approvals since Jan 2010 for the region.
In Townsville City Council the slide continues with the Conus Trend dropping to 57 in Nov (a new low) and is now down 13.4% for the year.
The full Conus Trend data set for the QLD SA4 regions is available for (non-commercial) use below. Please feel free to use but we would appreciate you acknowledging Conus when you do so.