City Builders Nail Down Solid Growth; Region Defies the Impact of Economic Downturn

Article excerpt

Byline: Madeleine Logan madeleine.logan @thechronicle.com.au

BUILDER Gary Lange doesn't pay attention to abstract economic indicators.

He knows the property market is strong when there are seven cars parked outside his Spring Street display home.

That was the tally at 12.30pm on a recent Sunday. And it's a figure that gives him confidence in the future.

The Toowoomba businessman is preparing for 20 per cent growth next year- a prediction built on the solid foundation of the city's property market.

It's true, some builders are struggling. But Mr Lange is not one of them.

And he's not alone.

Between January and March this year, the value of council building approvals jumped more than $13 million compared to the same period last year.

This is consistent with Mr Lange's experience.

His company, Top of the Range Builders, is currently working on 12 homes.

"We will have built about 50 homes by the end of this financial year," he said.

Those unconvinced about the buoyancy of the building sector need only drive to Highfields.

There, the staccato of nail guns and roar of chainsaws have not been dulled by talk of a global downturn.

The town boasts a 6% growth rate. Frames of new homes are still rising from the dirt. Housing blocks are still being sold. The Australian dream is alive, and seemingly recession proof. …