Building approvals surprise and disappoint industry
Published: 31 May 2012
The April 2012 Building Approvals figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed a surprising drop in Queensland, according to Master Builders, Queensland’s peak body for housing and construction.
Master Builders Director of Housing Policy, Paul Bidwell, said the data was disappointing for the building industry, particularly on the back of positive approvals growth in all regional areas and a positive performance for Queensland in February, where total dwelling approvals rose by 13%, compared to a fall of 7.8% nationally.
“In April, private sector house approvals in Queensland fell 11.6% (seasonally adjusted), while total dwelling unit approvals were down by 2.7%,” Mr Bidwell said.
“The results came as a surprise. Despite the impact of recent interest rate cuts not yet flowing through to the market, the Queensland economy is in a sound position with relatively low unemployment and population growth sitting at a moderate 1.7%.
“Given that we are currently sitting 20% above the lowest point since the onset of the GFC, we are of the view that our industry is in much better shape than it was previously.
“Despite this, it is clear consumers remain concerned for the future and, as such, are reluctant to sign contracts for new homes and major renovations.
“However, we must remember that analysis of monthly figures can be misleading as they can be volatile from one month to the next.
“If we examine the three months to April 2012, Queensland figures show a more positive story than the same period in 2011. Private sector house approvals rose by 13.2% and total dwelling unit approvals also rose by 3%.
“Our industry remains confident that a turnaround for the housing sector is imminent, with our own Survey of Industry Conditions for the March quarter showing a growth in confidence in the outlook for the building industry and Queensland economy.
“We’re anticipating a boost in consumer confidence as a result of recent interest rate cuts, the flurry of activity associated with the final month of the Building Boost Grant and the confidence from a newly elected government for Queensland.
“In the meantime, the data confirms the case for the Reserve Bank of Australia to consider an interest rate cut when it meets next week and for all levels of government to consider key reforms and stimulus measures that will assist in restoring consumer confidence in the long term.”
Julie Russell, Manager – Corporate Affairs via email or phone (07) 3225 6436 or 0414 083 191.