Master Builders admit to "pessimism" as economy struggles

BUSINESS confidence in the Queensland economy and building industry has slumped, with nearly 30 per cent of respondents in the latest Master Builders survey pessimistic for the future.

The Master Builders Survey of Industry Conditions for the April-June quarter 2016 shows this negativity is in line with recent building approvals which are holding steady but expected to decline - particularly multi-units in Greater Brisbane.

Master Builders deputy CEO Paul Bidwell said for the most part however, respondents think the economic outlook for the Queensland building industry will remain stable.

"Even though many respondents expect things to remain stable, the fact that a significant number are pessimistic going forward indicates that there are signs of a slowdown," Mr Bidwell said.

The survey is one of the best ways to gauge specific industry expectations and business performance in all regions across Queensland.

The report also found conditions in the residential and commercial sectors softened, with the residential sector returning to negative territory for the first time in two years, while the commercial sector weakened further.

Encouragingly, the level of business activity strengthened, with more respondents (35 per cent) reporting higher levels of work in progress, while 32 per cent reported weaker levels.

Turnover and profitability improved, recovering lost ground in the previous quarter.

Average contract prices, wages and materials remained stable. Employment levels improved slightly, but remained in negative territory.

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