Confidence crests in March

By Greg Bell

When you want to gauge the market for commercial real estate in Surfers Paradise, you can do a lot worse than checking out the confidence levels across the state and country. This shows you how businesses feel about growth in the coming months, and shines a light on expansion plans. It's a good indication of where you might be able to purchase commercial property, and a time frame for getting it filled. 

Slight life for March

According to the NAB Monthly Business Survey for March, confidence has bounced back a little after taking a fall in the wake of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) cash rate cut in February. Transport, utilities and mining were noted as areas where the gains were more pronounced, going against some of the doom and gloom statements of previous months. 

Trading, profit and employment all enjoyed a slight swell in March as well. This means that overall activity is above average, which is a great result for anyone seeking to fill commercial real estate with new business. Higher activity and better conditions is likely to mean people are more willing to open up shop, and where better to do so than the tourism hub that is Surfers Paradise? 

Despite this lift, the overall forecasts for Australian business have not changed significantly, and still remain below trend. However, if conditions could continue to work in this direction, there could be a change on the horizon.

It is important to remember that in the RBA April statement on the cash rate, governor Glenn Stevens noted that lending to businesses had risen in the last month. This strengthening could see more investment in companies throughout the remainder of 2015, giving further rise to business confidence.

Above prior expectations

This slight lift in confidence has, however, contradicted 2014 expectations of what would occur this year. In the Westpac Group and Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) December 2014 survey of business conditions, the prospects for the March quarter of this year were much more withdrawn than the results. 

"Business expectations for the coming March 2015 quarter are restrained, which suggests weakening performance and continued tough trading conditions," the survey report stated. However, given the results seen in the NAB business survey, expectations have been surpassed. 

This could suggest some cautiousness in the market, but with results still slowly working back towards good conditions for business. 

Better living through employment

One area where businesses have not been particularly confident is around employment. However, a new push from the Queensland government might alleviate these concerns, providing a further boost to business confidence. 

In an 8 April media release from the CCIQ, it was noted that the state government is putting $240million into employment programmes across the state over the next four years, with a particular focus on youth unemployment. 

"When coupled with significant reforms to the vocational education and training system, and the recent provision of incentive payments for hiring apprentices and trainees, which CCIQ strongly supports continuation, these announcements align policy settings needed to ensure that our economy in coming years has the skills necessary to grow without constraint," said the organisation's director of advocacy and workplace relations, Nick Behrens.

Training projects such as this could see many more people enter the workforce, and at the very least provide a further boost to business confidence. Whether this impacts indices remains to be seen, but any possible contribution to boosting the workforce is likely welcome.

Anyone who is buoyed by this and is considering a business expansions would do well to contact Ray White Surfers Paradise, to inquire about commercial real estate in the area. 

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