Central Qld shines in latest building stats

The Master Builders Association (MBA) says central Queensland has been the stand-out performer in the housing and construction sector.

October building approval figures have been released, which have shown a 7 per cent fall at state level.

However, MBA spokesman Paul Bidwell says there was a 191 per cent increase in the central region, from 164 approvals in October last year compared with 478 this October.

He says mining and gas activity is underpinning the growth.

"Most of the bad news is in the south-east corner," he said.

"There are still positives, still growth in the regions, particularly those where there is strong resource activity.

"Gladstone underpins the growth in central Queensland but there are areas west of Gladstone, so Emerald and getting out towards Alpha, which have generated a lot of work." Far north 'slower' The MBA is warning recovery in the far north's building industry will continue to be slower than other parts of the state.

The latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show residential building approvals in Cairns jumped by more than 40 per cent in the year to October.

Mr Bidwell says the situation should improve once the effects of the first home owner construction grant and the recent interest rate cuts take hold.

"We're firmly of the view that as we get into the new year things will pick up," he said.

"Now that pick-up will be slow and in Cairns it may well be slower than in other parts of the state, but as we go through 2013 that improvement ought to accelerate." Mr Bidwell says the far north was one of the regions hardest-hit by the global financial crisis but it has turned a corner.

"When you look at the building approvals for October, they reflect that - [a] 25 per cent jump from September and across the 12 months from October '11 to October '12, over a 40 per cent increase, " he said.

"Signs at last are positive for [the] Cairns region but that's been a long time coming and it is coming of such a low base." North Qld 'steady' Meanwhile, the north Queensland building industry is showing steady growth, despite a recent drop in building approvals in the past month.

Mr Bidwell says north Queensland recorded a 50 per cent drop from September to October this year.

However, he says there has been a 21 per cent rise in approvals for the year which is underpinned by a stable economy.

"Townsville has a very diverse economy, which means it is very solid," he said.

"It's the fact that October 2012 building approvals were down 50 per cent on September is not really an indication of any change in the economy," he said.

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