Far North bucks the regional building approvals trend

Original regional building approval data for October released yesterday by the ABS allows us to update our Conus Trend series for the Queensland SA4 regions as well as our local Local Government Areas.

While approvals were up 14.3% y/y across the nation in Oct, Queensland saw a 9.3% decline on the back of very weak unit approvals (-47.9% y/y)

The regional data allows us to see that the declines in QLD were all due to falls in approvals outside the Greater Brisbane area (where there was a modest 0.7% rise for the year) where approvals were down 21.0% y/y.

Given the fact that we know the weakness in QLD was being driven by weaker unit approvals it should come as a surprise to no one to learn that the regional weakness was driven by the Gold Coast, where approvals were down 59% from a year ago (although were recovering somewhat from their mid-year lows), and the Sunshine Coast which posted a 12.6% y/y decline.

In the North we have seen a much healthier approvals picture emerging. Cairns SA4 registered 127 Trend approvals in Oct which is a 38.3% increase from a year ago. This is at, or very close to, a decade high; and we have only seen monthly data as high as this in about 10 instances since the post-GFC collapse in 2008. In Townsville too we are seeing a rapid improvement (albeit from a historically low base back in 2018-19) with Trend approvals up 33.3% y/y to now sit at 82; this is however still a long way from 150+ levels regularly seen between 2011 and 2015 in Townsville.

At the LGA level we see Cairns Regional Council (incl Douglas Shire) up 75.7% y/y, Cassowary Coast Regional Council down 0.7% y/y and Tablelands Regional Council (incl Mareeba Shire) up 53.2%. Townsville City Council is also up 77.3% y/y.

The full Conus Regional Building Approvals Trend 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 Regional Building Approvals Trend QLD – Oct 2020

 

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