Cairns’ builders see rise in demand after federal election
BUILDERS are expecting a lift in interest after the federal election.

BUILDERS are expecting a lift in interest after the
federal election.

They say the local body election stifled the industry at
the start of the year and the federal election was doing the same until after
July 2. A Master Builders survey of the region’s builders found that, while
they remained positive, business confidence took a hit during the March
quarter. “Trading conditions for the residential sector held steady for the
quarter, while the commercial sector fell slightly,” the report said. “Looking
forward, both sectors are expected to improve and move into positive territory.
The story was similar with respect to turnover and profitability.”

Ralf Dutton of Value Homes said elections “stifled
business”. “So we will see reduced figures for a few more months as they lag
what is really happening,” he said. “However with the biggest sugar crop we
have seen for some time and the fourth great tourist season in a row I believe
after the election we will see the results. “There is more large work on the
drawing board and out to tender than I’ve seen for years. “I’m still looking
forward to a Christmas that shows Cairns is over the global financial crisis
and into a better future.”

David McCoy Homes general manager Adam Gowlett said
Master Builders deputy chief executive Paul Bidwell, who was in Cairns last
week, was “glowing” in his praise of the region’s economy. “A good point they
made was that in the past Cairns featured very low on the number of apprentices
per 100 employed (about 1.9) and we are now about 4.6 and the state average is
about 4.3, so there is some confidence evident,” he said. “Commercial
construction continues to be soft. “I think it is still all about confidence
and leadership and we seem to be lacking a bit of both. We missed the patrol
boats, the port expansion is no-man’s land, there are no major infrastructure
projects on the immediate horizon.”

Dixon Homes managing director Andrew Thomas said in the
last couple of months there had been an improvement in sentiment and confidence
by visitors to their display homes at Smithfield Village. “We recently titled
stage two of the Tranquillity Estate release at Bentley Park. Interest in the
land has been steady with eight of the 15 lots already sold,” Mr Thomas said.