The Prime Minister’s announcement of $800 million towards a new infrastructure project in Central Queensland means good things for the local area, but what does it mean for property investors?
During a doorstop interview, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a $800 million project for Rockhampton to bypass 18 sets of traffic lights with four new lanes through the Bruce Highway in order to address congestion in the area.
“This is a project that is going to keep Rockhampton and the surrounding districts moving,” the Prime Minister said.
“This is a project that is going to mean the roads here are safer, that the roads here are less congested.”
He added that the project has been fully funded through the budget.
According to Simon Pressley, head of property market research at Propertyology, Rockhampton has “been well overdue for some good fortune” for what he claims is arguably Australia’s most affordable city, currently priced at a median $270,000.
“$800 million is an enormous amount of money for one project no matter where it’s built. But for it to be spent in a city with a population of 82,000 is very significant,” Mr Pressley said to Smart Property Investment.
“The Bruce Highway is one of Australia’s largest economic arteries. The amount of freight that is transferred daily from as far north as Cairns, through Rockhampton and down in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne is enormous.
“The ring road infrastructure project will help unclog that artery at Rockhampton.”
After the GFC, Rockhampton fell victim to major flooding from the Fitzroy River in 2011 and 2013, and then to a major coal price downturn in 2014. All of these factors have been particularly harmful to the area’s property prices in the past, which did not record price growth for a decade.
Before this hardship, Rockhampton had experienced growth of 168 per cent over the five years ending 2007.
The recent announcement of the Rockhampton ring road is the latest of many announcements for the area that may be indicating that its luck has finally changed for the better.
“In addition to the $800 million ring road, development of the Rookwood weir (water security), construction of a major training facility for the Singaporean defence force, a Fitzroy River levy bank to flood proof the city, CBD urban renewal initiatives, and a $140 million CQ university master plan are a significant collection of projects,” Mr Pressley said.
“Recent property data suggests that the (mild) price falls from previous years has stopped. Housing stock volumes and buyer activity are both steady. Vacancy rates have tightened to their lowest in five years. The new housing supply pipeline is thin.
“With a much-improved economic outlook, the next logical step for Rockhampton is price growth.”