Regional Building Approvals data shows Trend improving in the Far North

Last week we saw the ABS release of building approvals data for February demonstrate that (on a Trend basis) Queensland was still doing somewhat better than the nation with approvals growth of 6.9% y/y versus 5.5% for Australia as a whole. This week the regional data shows us that the Far North is again doing better than other areas in the state, despite regional Queensland as a whole trailing Greater Brisbane.

The ABS data is presented as unadjusted, original data so we prefer to consider the Conus Trend series. Greater Brisbane Trend approvals stood at 2,105 which was an increase of 18.9% for the year while the Rest of QLD was at 1,490, a 6.4% decline for the year.

At the SA4 region level we see Cairns Trend approvals at 103 (up from 99 in Jan, and up 38.6% from the same time a year ago). The only other regional area to see growth at a faster pace was Mackay (up 136.8%) although here we are seeing a recovery from a record low level at this time last year. Indeed most other regions are seeing declines, some of them quite significant (e.g. Fitzroy -30.8% and Sunshine Coast -11.3%)

Townsville, unfortunately also continues to suffer with Trend approvals at just 62 which are down 18.4% from a year ago and close to a record low (although up slightly since January).

The original ABS data is also provided at the Local Government Area level and again we have created a Conus Trend series for the LGAs in our own neck-of-the-woods. In the Cairns Regional Council (incl Douglas Shire) area Trend approvals now stand at 66 and are up 29.1% from a year ago. In the Cassowary Coast Regional Council Trend approvals in January were at 9, an increase of 55.2% from a year ago, while in the Tablelands Regional Council (incl Mareeba Shire) the Trend was 25 up 43.3% for the year and now sit close to their highest levels since early 2012 (we noted the improving conditions in Mareeba Shire a little while ago week in the context of the Small Area Labour Market data…see here). Clearly the improving construction sector continues apace in the Far North (as the Trend industry jobs data has been telling us for some time). Unfortunately the same cannot be said to our South. Townsville City Council Trend approvals have increased slightly to 56 but are still down 23.2% for the year.

The full Conus Trend Regional Building Approvals data is available for download below. Please feel free to sue this data (for non-commercial purposes) but we would appreciate you acknowledging Conus when you do so.

Conus Trend Regional Building Approvals QLD – Feb 2018

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