Cairns April 2018

The month in review: Cairns

By Herron Todd White
April 2018

Cairns is not just a tourist city – there are other industries including mining and agriculture that play a large role in the Cairns economic base – but it is nevertheless tourism that provides its primary growth and development impetus. There are normally very strong correlations between tourism growth, jobs growth and property market health, but it is tourism growth that is largely the initiator. On the property front, it’s not so much interest rates that matter, it’s the tourism drivers that count most such as the value of the Australian dollar.

With Cairns being largely a fly-in tourist destination, Cairns airport passenger figures are closely watched indicators. On this front, over the twelve months to January 2018, airport passenger numbers have shown a trend increase of 1.4% overall, consisting of a 0.7% trend increase in domestic flights and a 6.1% trend increase in international flights. These patterns will be further reinforced by new and increased airline services being introduced during 2017-18, providing additional flight capacity increases into Cairns.

Trend employment in the Cairns region increased by 7.9% over the period from January 2016 to January 2018. Also noticeable has been a distinct move to full-time job creation (or job conversion from part-time to full-time) as opposed to the creation of part-time and casual jobs, and a sizeable reduction in unemployment.

Recent tourism and jobs growth have yet to connect to the current property market, which remains steadfastly in a steady-state position. That said, our prediction is that 2018 should be the year that the Cairns property market at long last starts to sparkle.

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