Unlikely town tipped to be next big hotspot

By Francesca Krakue and Georgia Brown

Despite facing negative press earlier this year, one mining town’s “outstanding potential” is predicted to attract an influx of investors and owner-occupiers.

Real estate network Raine & Horne has pointed to Gladstone in Queensland as an increasingly attractive location for buyers, due to its budding tourism sector, burgeoning port activities and real estate affordability.

Principal of Raine & Horne Gladstone Mark Patton said the town’s property values are presenting investors and owner-occupiers with an opportune time to enter the market in a location with “outstanding potential”.

“Gladstone is on the edge of the southern Great Barrier Reef and more cruise ships are bringing additional tourism dollars and jobs to the port,” Mr Patton said.

“The extra jobs will benefit the real estate sales market and we expect to see the current median price of $375,000 start to head north.”

According to Mr Patton, the Gladstone region – which has a growing population of around 73,000 – has been regularly written off as a ‘one-trick economic pony’ by many experts who claim the town is too dependent on mining.

“This is just not true. It is Queensland’s largest multi-commodity port [and] handles the export of more than 36 different commodities to the Central Highlands,” he said.

Gladstone Area Promotion and Development has tipped tourism to become a major growth sector for the region, with 17 cruise ships booked to dock in its harbour in the next 18 months.

“The target is set to increase to around 50 per year in the next five years, with other cruise lines showing amazing interest in visiting our port,” chief executive Darryl Branthwaite said.

Earlier this year, property valuation company Herron Todd White released a report revealing that the property market in Gladstone remains volatile, with the short-term direction of the market a subject of “significant uncertainty”.

“With very little sales and leasing activity in 2015 and no signs to indicate a bottoming-out of the market, it is likely that value and rental levels may continue to soften,” the report said.

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