Housing activity picks up
HOUSING activity in the Gympie Region continues to show signs of recovery, with 30% more approvals in the past two months than for the same period last year.
The figures reflect a similar trend for all regional areas of Queensland, except the Sunshine Coast, where new house approvals fell 3.4% in March.
In Gympie, 21 new homes valued at $4.65 million were approved last month, compared to 16 new homes valued at $3.4 million in April, 2011.
In March 2011, there were 20 homes approved, valued at $3.9 million, compared to 26 new homes valued at $5.6 million in March this year.
The figures state-wide confirm the uncertain state of the building industry, according to Queensland's peak body for housing and construction, Master Builders.
Director of housing policy Paul Bidwell said while total new residential approvals figures remained volatile, new house approvals were considerably stronger in most areas of the state.
"In addition to the building approvals, other recent data, including Housing Finance figures and our own Survey of Industry Conditions, confirm that the building and construction industry is on the verge of recovery; however, it remains vulnerable to wavering consumer confidence and still needs kick-start measures to boost confidence and stoke the emerging recovery," Mr Bidwell said.
""However, despite the small improvement, there is still the problem of a persistent lack of consumer confidence that our industry can't seem to shake.
"Households are reluctant to commit to contracts for new dwellings, mainly because of concerns about job security and declining dwelling prices, notwithstanding relatively strong employment and increased average weekly earnings.
"Despite the challenging conditions, the industry remains confident of a turnaround, with the Survey of Industry Conditions report for the March quarter showing growth in confidence in the outlook for the building industry and Queensland economy.
"The March 2012 Housing Finance figures provide further assurance that a recovery is under way, with the number of commitments for owner occupied housing rising by 2% (seasonally adjusted).
"For the March quarter, figures are up 16% on the same period in 2011."
The March 2012 Building Approvals regional figures were released this week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Burnett-Wide Bay - The number of approvals for new houses rose 22.6%
Sunshine Coast - Approvals for new houses fell 3.4%
Greater Brisbane - Approvals for new houses rose 5.5%
Gold Coast - Approvals for new houses rose 22.3%
Darling Downs & South West Queensland - Approvals rose 54.9%
Central Queensland - Approvals rose 54.4%
Mackay & Whitsunday - Approvals rose 98.8%
North Queensland - Approvals rose 63.3%
Far North Queensland - Approvals rose 85.6%