CairnsWatch. August Level 1, 95 Sheridan Street Cairns Qld 4870 PO Box 6843 Cairns Qld 4870

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1 CairnsWatch August 2017 Cairns

2 OVERVIEW AT A GLANCE The Cairns economy is continuing to demonstrate encouraging tourism and employment indicators. However these improvements are slow to translate through to the property market, which remains in a steady state. If this CairnsWatch bulletin has been forwarded to you from someone else and you would prefer to receive it direct each month, add your name and address here it s simple and it s free! Airport Passenger Trend: 4.2% (July 2016 to July 2017) Employment Trend: 11.8% (July 2016 to July 2017) Unemployment Rate Trend: to 5.1% (as at July 2017) Likely Population Growth: to 1.2% (June 2016 to June 2017) The Fine Print: Information in this publication is based on an analysis of data from a number of sources, subjected to technical procedures of seasonal adjustment and trend analysis. Seasonal adjustment is a means of removing the effects of normal seasonal variation from the data, so that comparisons can be made of data against their established seasonal patterns. Trend analysis smooths the seasonally adjusted estimates to provide a clearer picture of the underlying behaviour of the series over time. The trend estimates are derived by applying a 13- term Henderson-weighted moving average to the seasonally adjusted data. It applies the same procedures used by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in producing trends for national aggregates. Rick Carr Research Director Herron Todd White Cairns Phone: Fax: No responsibility is accepted to any third party that may use or rely on the whole or any part of the content of this publication. Neither the whole nor any part of this publication or any reference thereto may be included in any published or photocopied documents, circular or statement, nor transmitted or published in part or full in any way, including electronically, without written approval of the form and context in which it may appear. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation. The scheme does not apply within Tasmania HTW Copyright 2017 CairnsWatch August

3 EMPLOYMENT Persons Employed in the Cairns Region Number of Persons Employed (Log Scale) 130,000 Cairns Region Unemployment Rate Unemployment Rate (Actual and Trend Basis) 12% Actual Trend Cairns Region All Queensland 10% 120,000 8% 110,000 6% 4% 100,000 Jul-07 Jul-08 Jul-09 Jul-10 Jul-11 Jul-12 Jul-13 Jul-14 Jul-15 Jul-16 Jul-17 Jan-08 Jan-09 Jan-10 Jan-11 Jan-12 Jan-13 Jan-14 Jan-15 Jan-16 Jan-17 Source: Derived from ABS Labour Force Survey data Trended employment figures for the Cairns Region (inclusive of Cairns, the Cassowary Coast, Douglas and the Tablelands) estimate that there were 120,400 persons employed during July 2017, up from a revised trend estimate of 119,900 persons employed during June The employment trend has continued to show consistently strong growth over the last twelve months. Trend employment has increased by 12,800 persons over the twelve months from July 2016 to July 2017, which represents an increase of 11.8% over the period. N.B. The ABS Labour Force figures are estimates derived from a sample survey of only about 500 Cairns Region residents, and hence are subject to a potentially large margin of error. Neither the headline nor the trend estimates should be interpreted as precise values. 2% Jul-07 Jul-08 Jul-09 Jul-10 Jul-11 Jul-12 Jul-13 Jul-14 Jul-15 Jul-16 Jul-17 Jan-08 Jan-09 Jan-10 Jan-11 Jan-12 Jan-13 Jan-14 Jan-15 Jan-16 Jan-17 Source: Derived from ABS Labour Force Survey data Strong employment growth has flowed though into a significant reduction in the region s unemployment rate trend over the last twelve months. The Cairns Region now has a seasonally adjusted trend unemployment rate of 5.1% as at July 2017, down from a revised trend of 5.3% in June 2017, and significantly below the 9.0% trend rate that prevailed in July The Cairns Region s trended unemployment rate is now more than a full percentage point below the July 2017 State average of 6.3%. N.B. To be counted as unemployed in the ABS Labour Force survey you need to not have a job and be actively seeking work. People who do not have a job and are not actively seeking work are not counted as unemployed, they are regarded as not in the labour force. CairnsWatch August

4 EMPLOYMENT Cairns Job Ads Monthly Average Jobs Advertised 1,000 Actual Trend Herron Todd White does Property Valuations Herron Todd White Cairns has a wealth of experience in providing valuation services across the tourism, commercial, industrial, rural and residential property sectors. From residential units and townhouses to specialist valuations, acquisitions and resumption, Herron Todd White Cairns team of specialist staff provides valuations across all property types. 0 Jul-13 Nov-13 Mar-14 Jul-14 Nov-14 Mar-15 Jul-15 Nov-15 Mar-16 Jul-16 Nov-16 Mar-17 Jul-17 Sep-13 Jan-14 May-14 Sep-14 Jan-15 May-15 Sep-15 Jan-16 May-16 Sep-16 Jan-17 May-17 Source: HTW Analysis of Employment Websites Though the trend in the number of jobs being advertised on employment websites for the Cairns and Far North region is rebuilding again from its late 2016 declines, its rate of increase is tapering. In addition, the trended number of jobs being advertised in July 2017 is still 2.8% below what it was in July CairnsWatch August

5 TOURISM Airport Passenger Numbers Monthly Passenger Arrivals + Departures (excl Transits) 420, , ,000 85,000 International Terminal Domestic Terminal Herron Todd White does Tourism Valuations Buying or selling a tourist property? Herron Todd White has valuers specialising in all forms of tourism related property including pubs, roadhouses, hostels and caravan parks, and the entire accommodation spectrum from small motels and serviced apartments through to large scale resorts. 50,000 30,000 Jul-07 Jul-08 Jul-09 Jul-10 Jul-11 Jul-12 Jul-13 Jul-14 Jul-15 Jul-16 Jul-17 Jan-08 Jan-09 Jan-10 Jan-11 Jan-12 Jan-13 Jan-14 Jan-15 Jan-16 Jan-17 Source: Derived from Cairns Airport data The actual number of passengers arriving or departing through Cairns Airport reached an all-time record monthly high in July However when analysed in trend terms, passenger numbers at the domestic terminal eased back a touch during July 2017, and trailed off a little more severely at the international terminal. More importantly though, strong year-on-year trend growth continues to occur in both the domestic and international terminals. Over the twelve months to July 2017, passenger numbers have increased in trend terms by 3.5% at the domestic terminal, 8.9% at the international terminal, and 4.2% overall. CairnsWatch August

6 PROPERTY Property Prices Median Sale Price (Log Scale) $450,000 Property Metrics Median Days on Market 120 Median Vendor Discount 8% Houses May-16 Aug-16 Nov-16 Feb-17 May-17 $320, % Units $230, % $165,000 Vacant Land 30 2% $120,000 Jul-07 Jul-08 Jul-09 Jul-10 Jul-11 Jul-12 Jul-13 Jul-14 Jul-15 Jul-16 Jul-17 Jan-08 Jan-09 Jan-10 Jan-11 Jan-12 Jan-13 Jan-14 Jan-15 Jan-16 Jan-17 * All sales are classified to date of contract (not date of settlement) ** Recent months are provisional and subject to revision Source: HTW Analysis of RPData 0 Houses Source: CoreLogic Units 0% Houses Units Our latest analysis shows that median property prices have dampened in recent months for houses and for land, and have steadied for units. While price movements at the individual property level can vary up and down, our overall view is that the market is static. The latest trend median prices, for the month of July 2017, came in at $404,000 for a house, $225,000 for a unit, and $200,000 for a block of land. Regulatory measures designed to dampen property markets nation-wide, targeted largely at investors, have certainly done their job in Cairns, and removed all price growth from the market. N.B. The median property price is the actual sale price of the middle-priced property from the list of properties sold each month. Movements in median prices do not necessarily equate to movements in individual property values. Soft real estate market conditions have seen the median time taken for listed properties to reach a sale increase from 52 days for houses sold in the twelve months to May 2016, to 59 days for houses sold in the twelve months to May The median time taken to sell a unit has also increased, from 66 days for those sold in the twelve months to May 2016, to 74 days for those sold in the twelve months to May The median vendor discount the difference between the asking price first advertised on a property and its ultimate selling price has been relatively constant over the last twelve months for houses, but has risen more substantially for units. CairnsWatch August

7 PROPERTY Rental Vacancies Percentage Vacancy 8% Houses Units Total Herron Todd White does Tax Depreciation Schedules 6% 4% 2% 'Balanced Market' Range Do you have an up-to-date tax depreciation schedule? You could be missing out on thousands of dollars each year in allowable depreciation for your investment property. Depreciation is an important part of maximising your investment returns from an income generating property. Contact us on for an obligation-free quote. 0% Jul-07 Jul-08 Jul-09 Jul-10 Jul-11 Jul-12 Jul-13 Jul-14 Jul-15 Jul-16 Jul-17 Jan-08 Jan-09 Jan-10 Jan-11 Jan-12 Jan-13 Jan-14 Jan-15 Jan-16 Jan-17 Source: HTW Rentroll Survey Rental vacancy trends have remained stable over the last six months for houses but have tightened considerably for units. In addition the trend vacancy rate for units is now below that for houses, which is an unusual situation in the Cairns market. The latest trend rental vacancy rates for July 2017 stood at 1.8%, for houses, 1.6% for units and 1.7% for the market overall. Coupled with the low level of new rental supply being created due to reduced levels of investor housing activity, rental market conditions are expected to stay tight for some time. CairnsWatch August

8 PROPERTY Building Approvals Number of New Dwellings Approved in Cairns Urban Area Houses Units Total (Actual Trend) Herron Todd White does Rural Valuations Selling the farm? Herron Todd White has valuers specialising in agribusiness from cane farms to cattle properties and banana plantations Jun-13 Dec-13 Jun-14 Dec-14 Jun-15 Dec-15 Jun-16 Dec-16 Jun-17 Sep-13 Mar-14 Sep-14 Mar-15 Sep-15 Mar-16 Sep-16 Mar-17 Source: Derived from ABS data The rebound in the building approval figures being actually reported for the Cairns urban area that occurred in May 2017 continued during June Even though a flurry of first home buyer approvals could have been expected in May-June 2017 due to then anticipated phase-down of first home buyer grants, the extent of the rebound is still causing us to have considerable doubt about the veracity of the very low figures reported for the October 2016 to April 2017 period. The rebound in the number of building approvals reported for the months of May and June 2017 are technically indicating a reversion to a trend of around 56 new houses and units being approved per month, but this may or may not be accurate! CairnsWatch August

9 SPECIAL TOPIC: POPULATION REVISIONS Cairns Population Growth Rate of Growth %pa 6.5% Actual HTW Forecast Long Term Average Herron Todd White does Socio-Economic Research earch 4.0% 4.0% 3.4% 3.3% 4.3% 3.4% 4.8% 4.6% 4.4% 3.8% 3.9% 3.7% 3.4% 3.4% 3.2% Herron Todd White Cairns carries out specialist project consulting assignments in all areas of socio-economic research, including demographic studies, statistical surveys, market research, strategy planning, cost benefit studies, and socio-economic impact assessment 2.6% 2.4% 1.5% 1.3% 0.8% 0.6% 1.7% 2.7%2.7% 2.1% 1.5% 2.1% 1.9% 1.3% 1.0% 1.1%1.2% 2.7% 1.4% Contact us today to discuss your requirements. 0.3% 0.0% Year to June Source: ABS, HTW Research New population figures for Cairns, based on the 2016 Census, have made little difference to previous estimates based on extrapolations from the 2011 Census. The revised figures now show Cairns to have an urban (Goldsborough to Ellis Beach) population of 158,949 as at 30 June 2016, only marginally up from the previously estimated figure of 158,499. Despite the overall similarity, there have nevertheless been some substantial adjustments when analysed suburb by suburb. The upshot is that the new Census figures have not materially changed our view of Cairns population growth for the immediate future. We still expect that 1.2% growth will be reported for the twelve months to June 2017, and our prediction remains at 1.4% growth for the twelve months to June CairnsWatch August

10 PROPERTY National Property Clock Coffs Harbour Newcastle NSW Central Coast Herron Todd White does Townsville Market Information Dubbo Gold Coast Griffith Melbourne NSW Mid Nth Coast South East NSW Sunshine Coast Approaching Peak of Market Peak of Market Starting to Decline Sydney Herron Todd White produces a quarterly publication of Townsville Market Information entitled Townsville in Focus. Like CairnsWatch, it is free of charge. Adelaide Adelaide Hills Ballarat Barossa Valley Bathurst Bendigo Burnie-Devonport Canberra Echuca Hobart Launceston Lismore Mount Gambier Orange SA Iron Triangle SA Riverland Tamworth Rising Market Declining Market For further enquiries or to subscribe, contact or call (07) Brisbane Cairns Emerald Hervey Bay Gippsland Horsham Ipswich Mildura Mudgee Townsville Warnnambool Whitsunday Steady State/ Start of Recovery Bottom of Market Approaching Bottom of Market Bundaberg Perth Rockhampton Toowoomba Alice Springs Darwin Gladstone Mackay South West WA Entries coloured dark blue indicate positional changes from last month Source: Residential Property Ratings Compiled by Herron Todd White, July 2017 Herron Todd White s National Property Clock is prepared each month based on the local market perceptions of its Australia-wide network of offices. Whilst there are some variations between locations and sectors, we continue to regard the Cairns market as being in a Steady State. CairnsWatch August

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