Gympie hits building wall
THE reality of tight economic times has finally spread to the Gympie region, despite its earlier resilience.
Until the past couple of months, Gympie development and building figures had defied a national trend with growth continuing to boom, even as surrounding areas suffered the effects of the Global Financial Crisis.
Council’s Planning and Development Committee chairman Ian Petersen confirmed yesterday the number of development applications and building approvals in the region had begun to decline.
But it is a cloud which, he says, has a silver lining.
“The figures are certainly down, but it is almost certainly a financial issue,” he said, indicating continuing housing demand meant many people were currently watching their pennies more closely.
With much more moderate land and housing prices, the Gympie region had experienced a considerable overflow effect from much more high-priced areas, including Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.
The region has tended to defy boom-bust cycles and continues to show steady growth in population and prices but from a much more affordable price base than is the case only 40km to the south.
Cr Petersen told a recent meeting of his committee that the then-backlog of 147 planning applications pending was down on the previous backlog.
But this, he said, was not all bad, giving council breathing space to reduce a backlog which had been running at more than 300.
“It’s been tapering off fairly markedly.
“It’s made a dramatic difference to our waiting list,” he said yesterday.
“It’s probably not much more than 100 by now,” he said.
Building works had also shown a reduction for August, he said.