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    Regional building approvals show improvement in Cairns

    While the figures are still relatively low, there's a clear difference emerging in building approval activity between Cairns and Townsville.

    The latest building approval data provides the starkest picture yet of the diverging fortunes of Cairns and Townsville.

    According to the latest analysis of building approval data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics by local economist Pete Faulkner, the two cities are going in opposite directions.

    On a trend basis, the Cairns Regional Council area recorded an annual increase of 11 percent in building approvals in the year to July.

    During the same period, the Townsville City Council area dropped by a staggering 28 percent.

    Mr Faulkner explains the numbers: 

    "In the latest statistics for July we see Cairns Regional Council at 68 (down from 69 in June, but that was revised up from 60) for an annual increase of 11 percent.

    "Cassowary Coast Regional Council was static at 8 and down three percent year on year while the Tablelands Regional Council also fell to 16 (after June was revised down to 18) for a 25 percent decline year on year.

    "Townsville City Council figures show a trend of 67 (after June was revised from 67 to 69) which is down 28 percent for the year.

    "When we look at the split between Greater Brisbane and the Rest of Queensland we see Greater Brisbane having fallen 14 percent on the year (to 2,302) while the Rest of Queensland is up 15 percent (to 1,701).

    "The reason for the strength in the Rest of Queensland comes squarely from strong growth in the Gold Coast (+21 percent year on year) and the Sunshine Coast (+9 percent. These two regions alone account for two thirds of all approvals outside of Greater Brisbane.&qu