The Sunshine Coast was not immune to a statewide drop in dwelling approval numbers, but an industry insider said there was still plenty of positivity in the local economy.
The Sunshine Coast was not immune to a statewide drop in dwelling approval numbers, but an industry insider said there was still plenty of positivity in the local economy.

How industry will weather building approval dive

HIGH-VALUE residential projects and a "thriving" renovation market have injected hundreds of millions into the Coast economy despite falling building approval numbers, according to an industry insider.

Master Builders figures, based on Australian Bureau of Statistics data, showed dwelling approvals on the Sunshine Coast fell by 17 per cent from 4738 in 2018 to 3953 in the year to December 2019.

All Queensland regions experienced a decline, except Rockhampton, where the council introduced a $5000 housing construction grant from August 1 last year.

Master Builders Sunshine Coast regional manager Will Wilson said the region still boasted a healthy economy and an abundance of stable, high-paying jobs to support both existing residents and inevitable population growth.

"If you have people who have good, stable well-paid jobs, they need a place to work play and live, that's when construction is good," Mr Wilson said.

Mr Wilson said high-value builds and renovations had remained strong, particularly in suburbs such as Mooloolaba, Minyama and Caloundra where vacant land was scarce.

ABS data showed $180 million in residential and non-residential building approvals in December, $149 million in November and $1.825 billion in the calendar year.

Greenfield development Caloundra West, where Aura is located, accounted for the most residential approvals last year with 604, followed by Landsborough with 596.

Mr Wilson said such areas were important to provide entry-level housing, but renovations and rebuilds had "thrived" in suburbs such as Mooloolaba, Minyama where vacant land was scarce.

Mr Wilson said he and other industry sources believed the Sunshine Coast had hit a "low point", but would remain steady for up to 12 months before dwelling numbers would start to grow. He said the commercial industry was in a similar situation.

"We have a local and state election in March and October. Once those are done, if things are still moving forward the way they are, we will start to feel that lift again," he said.

Mr Wilson said population growth was inevitable, and it was important that residents considered what they wanted and would accept in terms of design and lifestyle.

He expected the Sunshine Coast expansion, Maroochydore City Centre and the International Broadband Submarine Cable would add to the driving forces for the construction industry.