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  • Crispin Till

    Email Crispin Till

    Cairns Watch shows "moderate" economic growth but good signs on employment

    Is an increase in job advertisements in Cairns a sign the TNQ economy is ready to boom again with a period of strong employment and business growth?

    The October Cairns Watch report by Herron Todd White shows the Cairns economy has “moderated” in the past month, with improvements across key categories including airport visitor numbers, employment figures and job advertisements in the city.

    Local jobs being advertised on employment websites are up 8.1 per cent over the past 12 months, with report author Rick Carr saying the figures had "rebuilt strongly and continues to bode well for future job creation".


    There was also a “spike” in building approvals in August, buoyed by the inclusion of 110 new units to be built in the Cairns CBD as part of the Crystalbrook Collection.

    Another spike is expected when the first component of the Nova City Development (335 new units) reaches the building approval stage.

    But Mr Carr cautioned it was not all good news in the construction industry.

    As reported by TropicNow last month, the building industry is calling on council to focus on smaller local builders to boost the flagging sector.

    “While these Cairns CBD developments (Crystalbrook Collection and Nova City) are very welcome, it is drawing a long bow to suggest that just two projects are the start of a new upward trend rather than one-off spikes,” he said.

    “The number of new houses in particular remains at a low ebb.”


    Trend employment was up 7.7 per cent between September 2016 and 2017 and the unemployment rate has also reduced “significantly” in the past 18 months.

    It now sits at 5.6 per cent in September 2017, below the state average of 5.9 per cent with the .

    The data from Herron Todd White comes hot on the heels of last week’s TropicNow report that showed more than 10,500 full-time jobs had been created in Cairns in the past year.


    In the year to September 2017, passenger numbers have increased in trend terms by 0.7 per cent at the domestic terminal, 5.2 per cent at the international terminal, and 1.3 per cent overall.

    “Passenger number trends at Cairns Airport have also eased off in recent months at both the domestic and international terminals, moderating the year-on-year trend growth rates,” he said.


    On the property front, Cairns remains very much in a “steady state” with generally static prices with the analysis pointing to decreases in property prices with a slight drop for houses and units but a slight upwards movement for land.

    “Even though price movements for individual properties can be mixed, our general view is that prices overall are relatively static,” he said.

    “The latest trend median prices, for properties sold in the month of September 2017, came in at $405,000 for a house, $204,000 for a unit, and $213,000 for a block of land.”

    “The number of residential properties listed for sale in Cairns also remained static in the past year due to the number of new listings each quarter closely matching the numbers of sales.

    “The overall number of properties listed for sale stood in trend terms about 2,800 in the September 2017 quarter, made up of about 1,800 houses and approximately 1,000 units.”