Cairns February 2018

The month in review: Cairns

By Herron Todd White
February 2018

The Cairns economy made significant advances during the course of 2017, but wavered towards the end of the year as tourism and employment growth both came off the boil. However there are prospects for tourism growth to return as new international flights start up, while job advertising rates continue to gain strength. These are positive signs for employment and economic growth to regather during the start of 2018.

In our view, strong employment growth is expected to occur in 2018 in the key areas of:

  1. Medical and healthcare: ongoing demand for medical and healthcare practitioners heightened by NDIS demands.
  2. Construction: three new hotels now being built will progressively move from formwork to finishing stages during the year, plus Nova City startup is expected in mid-2018. These will create jobs for carpenters, concretors, steelfixers etc at the formwork stages, moving to electricians, plumbers, tilers, plasterers, carpetlayers, painters, cabinetmakers etc as they progress to finishing and fitout.
  3. Tourism and hospitality: instigated by the first of the new Crystalbrook hotels (Riley) opening in 2018, together with extra jobs arising from additional tourism generated by extra flights.
  4. Mining: from regional Cape York mining projects such as Amrun.
  5. Professionals: as business and the economy continue to pick up this should flow through to professions such as planning, engineering, legal and accounting.

Technically, the median house price in Cairns increased about $2,500 for sales during the 12 months to December 2017, while the median unit price reduced by about $1,000. These represent price changes during the year of 0.6% and 0.5% respectively, indicative of only extremely mild change. Indeed our own in-market assessment is that individual property values over the past 12 months have been mostly flat.

Our expectation is that the Cairns property market will finally gain some traction during 2018 as a result of economic gains. The proviso though is that the Australian dollar needs to stay at reasonable levels so as to not jeopardise tourism growth, otherwise property in 2018 will be more of the same. The range of plausible outcomes for Cairns property prices during 2018 could be anywhere between -1% and +10%.

Looking for expert advice on your mortgage in Cairns? Smartline provides mortgage broker services to all areas throughout Cairns. Find your local Cairns Mortgage Broker today.

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