Regional Building Approvals data confirms the collapse in Townsville

Today saw the release of the regional residential building approvals data from the ABS which allows us to update our own Conus Trend series; and what it shows is, as expected, the slowdown in the Far North continues with Townsville especially weak.

With Trend approvals in Queensland falling in November by 20.0% y/y it is no surprise to see the declines reflected across both the capital and the regions. Greater Brisbane approvals fell 25.4% y/y (Conus Trend) with the Rest of Queensland down 12.2%.

Looking at the results in our own regions we see Cairns SA4 doing relatively better with a decline of just 11.0%. However the dramatic slide in Townsville shows no sign of easing with Trend approvals now down 46.8% for the year to Nov.

Once we take a look at the Local Government level we see Cairns Regional Council (incl Douglas Shire) at Trend approvals of 62 (down just 1.4%). The Cassowary Coast Regional Council remains at 8 approvals (down 10.5%). The Tablelands Regional Council (incl Mareeba Shire) now stands at 20 Trend approvals (down 17.4%). Townsville City Council is now at just 33 approvals (down 40.1%); this figure stood at about 150 Trend approvals just 4 years ago and gives some idea of the massive scale of the construction collapse in Townsville.

The full Conus Trend Regional Building Approvals data for the QLD SA4 regions is available for download below. Please feel free to use this data but kindly acknowledge Conus when you do so.

Conus Trend Regional Building Approvals QLD – Nov 2018


  1. Glen says:

    January 16th, 2019 at 9:37 am

    Scary numbers in Townsville Pete, most of us in the industry think 2019 will actually be worse as baseline support subsides. Some of the volume the market was counting on has dissapeared as existing builders stock has failed to move. The likes of Defence Housing Authority who had a long forward plan to bring new stock into the market have cut back significantly as relatively new existing stock, that pass the filters for DHA rental pool have become available. Second point is unit construction has virtually collapsed to nothing which is a sharp contrast to pre 2016, most existing approvals for units have lapsed as sales failed to materialise and funding was withdrawn. Unfortunately it is hard to see anything of significance in the near future that will turn the situation around.

  2. Gene Tunny says:

    January 18th, 2019 at 10:34 am

    Thanks Pete for the great post and Glen for the useful info. GT

  3. Pete Faulkner says:

    January 18th, 2019 at 9:25 pm

    Glen, Thanks for that…really interesting and useful local knowledge.

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