Building Approvals On The Way Down

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Building approvals in regional Queensland are continuing their downward trajectory, dropping 14.7 per cent across the year, and 22.6 per cent in the past month alone.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reveals South East Queensland appears to be escaping the worst of the downturn, up three per cent for the 12 months to September.

Master Builders’ Deputy CEO, Paul Bidwell said the figures speak volumes and add weight to their call to bring back the $5,000 Boost to the First Home Owners’ Grant to regional Queensland.

“The Boost was a vital tool for first home buyers to get a foot in the door of the housing market. Without it, home ownership has been put even further out of reach,” Mr Bidwell said.

“Many regional Master Builders say the Boost was an essential part of their business model, describing the cut as a “tough blow”, that their business was “really struggling” and that new buyers were “noticeably dropping off”.

And these sentiments are reflected in the latest ABS figures, with Central Queensland taking the hardest hit, dropping a further 44.1 per cent last month from an already record-low position.

It was also more bad news for North Queensland and Downs and Western falling 17.9 per cent and 10.7 per cent respectively for the month, while areas like Mackay and Far North Queensland, which have been seeing some growth lately, also down 55.3 per cent and 28.9 per cent, respectively.

“This gives us further ammunition for our appeal to the Queensland Government and the Treasurer to reinvest the mining royalties’ windfall back into regional areas,” Mr Bidwell said.

“Re-introducing the boost would cost government in the ballpark of $13 million per year, but would generate more than 2,000 jobs in the regions.

“Building new homes builds communities, creates jobs and delivers economic growth where it’s needed most. While the Boost won’t create a boom, it will give the building and construction industry the shot in the arm and helping hand it needs."

The Boost, an initiative by the Queensland Government, took the Grant from $15,000 to $20,000. But with the money not allocated for the Boost in the 2018-19 State Budget, it was cut from June 30.
(original data)

NUMBER APPROVED Current month Previous month % change over MONTH Total current 12 months Total previous 12 months % change over YEAR
Greater Brisbane 1,758 2,024 -13.1% 25,170 23,300 8.0%
Gold Coast 363 804 -54.9% 6,352 6,383 -0.5%
Sunshine Coast 341 435 -21.6% 4,410 5,198 -15.2%
Downs & Western 92 103 -10.7% 1,342 1,645 -18.4%
Wide Bay Burnett 123 126 -2.4% 1,558 1,686 -7.6%
Central Qld 19 34 -44.1% 443 633 -30.0%
Mackay & Whitsunday 38 85 -55.3% 573 333 72.1%
North Qld 55 67 -17.9% 656 894 -26.6%
Far North Qld 64 90 -28.9% 1,477 1,472 0.3%
Source Master Builders & ABS

Michelle Price has been working as a journalist since 1999 and loves human interest pieces.

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