Jobs sector boosting NT market

By Stefanie Garber

The employment boom in the Northern Territory will keep the property market strong for several years to come, a local buyer’s agent has predicted.

Figures released by the Northern Territory government show the region's unemployment rate is currently sitting at just 3.7 per cent, compared to six per cent Australia-wide. Moreover, the job market is gathering speed, with an 8.4 per cent increase in full-time employment between February 2013 and February 2014.

Treasurer David Tollner said the territory was a “jobs powerhouse”.

“We are way and above the rest of Australia for jobs growth,” he said.

Buyer’s agent Tod Peterson from Peterson’s Property Search said strong employment was causing a surge of confidence in the property sector.

“There’s a real buzz in town and things are happening,” he said.

He attributed the positive results to the Inpex natural gas project.

“This is the year where you get the major working component for building Inpex,” he said. “I think they’re expecting 3,000 people to hit town during the course of this year and they all need accommodation.”

According to Mr Peterson, high demand from Inpex workers was pushing up rents in Darwin, creating good returns in the rental sector.

“Our rents are still incredibly high. For houses and units, you’re looking at about a six per cent return,” he said.

Mr Peterson said despite concerns that Darwin would soon face a downturn, the city's property market and economy should continue to grow even after the construction phase of Inpex ends in two years' time.

“People are a little concerned that when the construction phase of Inpex is over in 2016, there will be a levelling off in the property market. But I don’t think so,” he said.

Instead, he predicted the Northern Territory was in for another seven years of high employment.

“When you add it all up, you have all the ancillary work and the domino effect of other companies coming in. I think we’re in for a good run.”

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