Queensland outlook slumps

Confidence in the Queensland economy and building industry has halted, dropping into negative territory for the first time in more than three years.

Master Builders Australia’s deputy executive director Paul Bidwell says the results of the latest survey of industry conditions for the March 2016 quarter exposed the easing of recent building approvals, which have moved off their peak.

“Much of the state has experienced a slowdown but encouragingly the survey results show that most respondents expect the economic outlook to remain stable for the coming 12 months,” Bidwell says.

“However there is a growing number of respondents who hold a more pessimistic outlook for the future, with nearly one in three respondents who expect the economic outlook to deteriorate.

“Low levels of demand are the most critical constraint on business growth. This is in line with falls in building approvals over the same period and the concentrated nature of the demand, which has failed to reach many regions and sectors of the industry.”

Builders will be looking closely at the Queensland Budget, due to be handed down in a month, for measures that will help make new housing affordable and provide spending commitment for catalytic infrastructure.

On a national level, Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) president Neville Sanders says the 2016 Federal Budget has recognised that the housing and construction sector have a role to play as the Australian economy transitions away from a decade-long reliance on mining for growth.

“Investment in dwellings is forecast to grow at eight per cent in 2016-17 and peak in 2017-18 with a record number of completions,” he says.

Further Qld findings

The Gold and Sunshine coasts now stand alone in maintaining a strong performance. As the Gold Coast prepares for the Commonwealth Games in two years it seems that, already, the positive effects for the property market have begun to filter through.

Central Queensland had an improved quarter, moving off a low base, and far north Queensland continues as the standout among the regions.

Greater Brisbane has come off its high as the demand for new unit construction begins to peak.

North Queensland and Wide Bay have slumped and joined Darling Downs and southwest Queensland and Mackay and Whitsunday in a struggle to find sufficient demand.

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