Despite continuing reports that mining town property markets are declining, a number of stakeholders are claiming Queensland's Mackay has turned a corner and is experiencing a “surge”.
On the back of a report by the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ), issued on 9 March 2015, Total Property Group has claimed that confidence is returning to the mining town market. Total Property Group managing director Adrian Parsons said this was reflected in rising interest in the group’s new master-planned estate, Somerset Park, located in Andergrove, Mackay.
The group cited various sections of the REIQ’s December Quarter 2014 Queensland Market Monitor report to illustrate that “Mackay has moved past the bottom of the housing market cycle towards recovery”.
“The report states Mackay has turned a corner since the beginning of 2015 on the back of improved local confidence, with multiple applications received for rental listings and multiple offers on sales,” Total Property Group said in a statement.
REIQ zone chairman for the Mackay district Peter McFarlane added that he had seen a distinct improvement in the local market in 2015. He attributed the positive progress to increased confidence in employment, record-low interest rates and improved housing affordability.
“We have the lowest interest rates Australia has ever seen and the housing affordability of three to four years ago,” he said.
“Employment in the Bowen Basin mining sector is more secure as it moves from the construction phase to production phase, and we are seeing coal production increasing.
“We are now exporting more coal off the coast of Mackay, and overall there is a growing level of confidence in the region.”
Mr McFarlane said these factors have led to more activity in the sales arena and a boost to the rental market.
“We are seeing first home buyers purchasing existing houses in the $350,000 to $400,000 bracket and the sellers of those homes upgrading to other properties and creating a secondary buying market in the $500,000-plus bracket.”
Mr McFarlane said even though rental vacancy rates were at 10.3 per cent in December, he expects “they will be significantly down at the end of the first quarter of 2015”.
Somerset Park developer Jim Relph of Trinity Property Consultants said Mackay would continue to benefit from the mining sector.
“Mining employment is secure in the Bowen Basin and major mining developments in the Galilee Basin have received the support of new Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
“The Queensland Labor government announced an agreement with Adani and GVK Hancock regarding a proposal for expansion of the Abbot Point Coal Terminal – an important step towards putting necessary infrastructure for these mines in place," the premier said.
“Queensland Resources Council data shows a spike in coal exports in 2014, reaffirming the importance of the coal industry to Mackay’s strong economic future.
“Mackay is also gateway to the Whitsundays, offering a desirable lifestyle and beautiful coastal and rainforest hinterland environments.”