Monday, November 4, 2013

Foreign invasion called off

The Cairns Post has done it again: Mother country cashing in on Cairns as $15m in investment comes from United Kingdom.

FOREIGN ownership of land in Cairns has more than tripled in the past year, as cashed-up Brits spend more than $15 million in the Cairns region.
Not quite! The number being reported here which tripled is foreign acquisitions of land by value compared to the previous year for the Cairns council area, not foreign holdings of land. Presumably there are also foreign disposals of land. Never mind, the good journal also reported holdings of land:

The total land area owned by overseas investors in Cairns has reached 2529ha last financial year, or more than 1180 land  parcels (1184).

Which seems to imply that the tripling growth has reached new heights of land held. Except that both the area of land and number of parcels held by foreigners actually declined for the year! The number of parcels held edged down from 1186 to 1184 while area held fell from 2,614Ha to 2,529Ha. Are standards in journalism really so poor that something so simple can be so badly misreported?

The data here is not in the most convenient format or well documented so the number of land parcels held was the easiest to dissect. Apart from "others" there have been six nations which have appeared in the top ten every year since 2004 when compilation of the data commenced.

This numbers are for council area so there is a big jump in 2008 when Douglas is included with Cairns. Apart from that any significant trends relate more to the components than the total. While Japan has declined there has in recent years been a substantial increase from PNG. Is this related to resources or corruption? 
China still does not appear in the top ten on this land parcels basis although does so in land area held. The growth on the "others" category here reflects changes in composition of ownership beyond the six stayers with increased representation from Asia, including China.

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