Construction activity strongest beyond cities

Toowoomba is one region that’s made the list of top 10 postcodes for commercial construction activity in the past year, indicating emerging regional economic growth. 
You’d be forgiven for assuming that Australian cities attract the bulk of construction projects. After all, there are many benefits for businesses that set up close to other firms.
But if you look at the top 10 postcodes for commercial construction activity in the past year, you’ll find this isn’t the case.
In fact, construction activity is strongest in areas that lie on the fringes of major cities and beyond: Dandenong in South East Melbourne, a postcode in Western Australia’s Pilbara and two South East Queensland regions.
The Dandenong region sits at the top of the list – home to 23 industrial construction starts, with a strong emphasis on industrial projects. These are influenced by the need for retail warehousing and the fact that local businesses are taking advantage of growing export demand.
The wider Toowoomba region in Queensland isn’t far behind, coming in at a close second, with 21 commercial projects over the year. These include industrial starts, retail and office spaces, as well as accommodation construction.
Another Queensland postcode (4573) is number 10 on the list. North of the Sunshine Coast CBD, this area has seen the commencement of $30 million worth of commercial real estate projects. A technology hub precinct forms part of this – designed to draw digital businesses into the area, while supporting local technology start-ups.
This shift of construction activity moving beyond the major cities comes at a time when the appetite for construction projects appears to be declining in Brisbane, as observed by the drop in demand for crane rentals.
But Brisbane could have a boost to look forward to, with the commencement of the Queens Wharf projects next year, as well as upcoming developments of hotels, aged care and student accommodation schemes.
The 2017 Federal budget has also generated hope in the construction industry, with an expected surge in construction projects for both metropolitan and regional areas.
Master Builders CEO Denita Wawn has praised the initiatives: “The budget will be a boost for more than 340,000 builders and tradies in every city, town and region.”
Next week we’ll explore the implications of the 2017 budget on the construction industry in more detail.