Building approvals worry developers
THE development industry is concerned by another sharp drop in home building approvals at Townsvill e although construction workers appear to be weathering the storm by taking jobs in commercial building.
Even so, industry leaders are warning Townsville risks losing much-needed skilled labour to other areas.
The Urban Development Institute of Australia released its latest quarterly Development and Construction Industry Performance Report this week.
It shows home building approvals across Queensland are at their lowest level in 28 years, causing the loss of almost 8000 full-time positions in construction.
At Townsville, where an early and extended wet season halted work, home building approvals were the worst in the State for January and February.
The report says approval numbers in the northern statistical division based on Townsville had improved from the lows of December 2008 when the global financial crisis hit but crashed in the three months to January 31, falling 54 per cent from the average recorded between 2006 to 2008.
The region recorded 201 approvals for the period against a long-term average of 434.
The institute’s Townsville branch president Pat Brady said the lower figures had continued i nto February with 35 recorded for the month.
‘‘ The numbers show that for two months in a row, our housing market is worse than Cairns, and the worst region in the State,’’ he said.
‘‘ Thankfully, our commercial applications are delivering some measure of confidence, providing some job opportunities for the various workers in this industry.
‘‘ We are hopeful that these numbers for both Townsville and Cairns are attributable to the recent flooding and cyclone impacts and will return to normal levels once this region recovers.’’