AN increase of 40.2% in recent building approvals for houses on the Sunshine Coast is a sign that the building and construction sector has taken a small but positive step towards recovery.
A spokesman for the Master Builders Association, the peak industry body representing building and construction in Queensland, said 122 houses were approved on the Coast between April and May.
He said the result was one of the best months on the Coast in the 2011-12 financial year.
The past financial year has seen monthly figures range from a high of 130 in March this year to a low of 58 in December last year.
The regional building approval figures for May, released this week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, also show the Coast had an 8.3% increase in total residential buildings - homes, units and duplexes.
The 122 approvals was above the 96 approved for the same time last year.
Sunshine Coast Master Builders regional manager Michael Hopkins said there was still a long way to go from the approvals seen in early 2008, when 200 a month was the norm.
"The latest figures show some tentative signs of recovery for the local industry," Mr Hopkins said.
"This is good for local industry, but when reading figures for regional parts of Queensland we've got to remember that data can change from one month to the next.
"These latest figures show a pleasing trend, though. It's a small but significant step."
Mr Hopkins said the next round of results would be affected by several factors, including interest rates, the end of Queensland Building Boost funding, and the introduction of stamp duty concession.
"Overall it's showing some tentative signs of recovery for the local industry," he said.
Master Builders housing policy director Paul Bidwell said he was cautious about reading too much into the figures.
"We know that at a regional level the data can be volatile from one month to the next," he said.
"However we are anticipating the trend to continue for the next few months."
Mr Bidwell expected the two latest two interest rate cuts and the Building Boost Grant would have a flow-on effect.
HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS
Percentage change - April 2012 to May 2012
- Brisbane-West Moreton 37%
- Gold Coast 30.2%
- Sunshine Coast 40.2%
- Darling Downs-South West 2.6%
- Wide Bay-Burnett 10.6%
- Fitzroy-Central West 54.8%
- Mackay 105.7%
- Northern-North West 24.5%
- Far North 32.8%