What the Conus Trend data is telling us is that the slide in Townsville continues while Cairns’ recovery remains at a very modest pace (and has slowed sharply in recent months). The Cassowary Coast, coming from a very low base, is also seeing only modest growth.A look at the regional overview throws up a few points of interest related to Pete's comment on recent softer growth in Cairns:
That softness has shown up mostly on the north side and particularly Trinity Beach - Smithfield with the most recent months well below their average for the year. Trinity Beach - Smithfield still finished the year with by far the highest number of approvals of any SA2 area at 241.
The other point of note is that the stronger data for the last few months on the south side was actually because of a re-emergence of smaller unit developments rather than houses. There were 9 units for Cairns City in June following 14 in May at White Rock. As Rick Carr alluded in the most recent CairnsWatch despite much talk on larger unit developments there is still not much happening on the ground, or in final approvals it would seem.
Another way to look at the data is in the value of building approvals. I have no idea how reliable these estimates from ABS are for values but anyway this graph also includes alterations, additions and conversions for the residential component:
Non-residential will always be lumpy as will the unit component of residential. So I thought I would stick to the house sector and look at the average building value per house of approvals in recent years:
That doesn't appear to indicate any significant inflation trend in building costs. However this is derived from an average based on aggregates and a median would be preferable as with anything property relate as averages can be skewed by a small number of high value houses. Breaking that down further the average for Cairns North is only a bit over $5k above Cairns South for FY 2015.
A suburban breakdown by SA2 for the year shows a far larger spread but again this is where we have to be careful with skewed averages especially in areas with a low number of approvals in established suburbs near the hills and beaches. For what it's worth perhaps we can call this the Snob Scale:
|New houses||Average value|
|Earlville - Bayview Heights||4||$496,200|
|Whitfield - Edge Hill||7||$472,500|
|Kanimbla - Mooroobool||26||$429,146|
|Yorkeys Knob - Machans Beach||6||$421,550|
|Freshwater - Stratford||9||$384,044|
|Clifton Beach - Kewarra Beach||52||$370,588|
|Westcourt - Bungalow||1||$363,600|
|Trinity Beach - Smithfield||241||$274,979|
|Gordonvale - Trinity||47||$260,755|
For anyone interested in building costs BMT Quantity Surveyors have an online calculator for different types of buildings and also includes a cost adjustment for Cairns: Construction Cost Calculator