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Battered northern property market offers great value

By Holly Darwon

I TRAVELLED up to North Queensland this week where many of the locals were still basking in the warm glory of the mighty Queensland Maroons win only a week ago.

I started in Airlie Beach where the victory was a welcome reason to celebrate after cyclone Debbie had crashed into town soaking the green shoots that had just started to sprout in the real estate market following the resources boom fall out.

From Airlie we drove to Townsville. It managed to dodge the Debbie bullet but with some hard industrial closures last year the town’s road back to recovery was one of the slowest in the far north.

Surely any person interested in property is looking for the next big thing. So when I was talking to the agents in both towns I was digging for value or any indicators to help gauge what the next few months might have in store.

In Airlie there are some really strong investment signs.

In most natural disasters there are usually two sides to the situation. The devastation of Debbie has meant an increase in jobs. Trades people are flocking to the town and there is a huge amount of work to be done to get the town back to its previous glory.

The extra people coming to town, combined with a decrease in available properties (as a consequence of the storm damage), has seen rental prices increase.

House prices have obviously been low in north Queensland in recent years. So these low prices when matched to low vacancy and rising rents are very good signs. These indicators should interest savvy and local investors looking to take advantage of the value.

Similarly, Townsville prices have stayed low. The only indication of market movement has come from a decrease in the days a property is on the market.

Townsville currently has construction and jobs coming too. There is talk of the building of a new stadium, a solar plant, a battery factory, and staff for the Adani mining company and its associated work is starting to be recruited.

While some pockets of Australia are significantly over stimulated, far north Queensland still represents great value and with the available work in many of the area’s towns, in my opinion it won’t be long before these regions start to see price rises.

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