Trend building approvals down again…but has Townsville hit bottom?

The release from the ABS of original residential building approvals data for March allows us to update our own Queensland SA4, and Northern LGA regional Conus Trend series.

While the ABS Trend data showed approvals down 35.1% y/y across Queensland the Conus Trend allows us to see that Greater Brisbane was down 34.8% with the Rest of Queensland falling even faster at 35.6%.

In the Cairns SA4 we see Trend approvals down to just 57 in March (a new low for this series) which is a decline of 56.8% y/y while in Townsville Trend approvals look as if they may have reached a bottom at 33, a decline of 45.4% y/y.

Looking in more detail at those SA4 regions by considering the Conus Trends at the Local Govt Area level we see Cairns Regional Council (incl Douglas Shire) at just 37 (-59.6% y/y), Cassowary Coast Regional Council at 4 (down 44.6%), Tablelands Regional Council (incl Mareeba Shire) at 18 (down 30.3%) and Townsville City Council at 28 (down 39.2%).

The full Conus Trend data set 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 Regional Building Approvals Trend QLD – Mar 2019


  1. Glen says:

    May 10th, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    Pete, Townsville may have well hit bottom, but that is a result of a core residual base that will be maintained regardless of conditions. Most of that number are actually spec or display homes in sub divisions and not driven by demand from home buyers or investment, but mostly by builders themselves. Of interest is the complete collapse of unit approvals, at zero for the last 2 months and will wash out in your figures shortly, incredible to think not one single unit has been approved in Townsville over the last 3 months, a result of lack of demand and onerous Townsville council requirements rendering most unit developments unviable and fail to move past the planning stage.

  2. Pete Faulkner says:

    May 10th, 2019 at 2:44 pm

    Glen, absolutely. Not suggesting that hitting bottom is a good sign! Scary to think that just 4 years ago monthly Trend approvals in Townsville were running at almost 4 times current levels! Thanks for your valuable local insights as always. Pete

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