Master Builders Australia’s National Survey of Building and Construction for the December quarter 2017 shows that business confidence has slipped, as falling building approvals and a moderation in the property market suggest a softer period ahead for the residential sector. 

The index for work on the books also took a hit, although it still remains in positive territory.

Meanwhile, the outlook for non-residential building activity dropped below 50, but given the strong pipeline of work and strength in non-residential building approvals data over the past six months, Master Builders Australia expects this drop to be temporary.

“The December quarter index score for confidence in the building and construction industry was recorded at 55.7 down from 57.4 in the September quarter,” the survey said.

Business conditions in the building and construction industry also slipped in the December quarter, following a peak in the September quarter.

“Nevertheless business conditions, which includes metrics for current conditions for residential and non-residential business, and measures performance against a range of business indicators, including profits, turnover levels and work-in-progress, remain high, recording an index score of 57.6,” the survey.

The indicators for turnover/revenue and work-in-progress were particularly positive, despite both dropping moderately in the quarter. Profits were steady, with more survey respondents recording a positive result for profits than negative. However, there are still some observable differences across jurisdictions. 

“Conditions [were] generally tighter in WA, SA, and to an increasing extent, in Queensland, while prospects remain more positive in NSW, Victoria and the ACT,” the survey said.

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