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Gladstone: An Overview

By Michael Matusik

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Australia's housing markets are showing more convincing signs of improving. Interest rate cuts have helped to ease the pressures of existing mortgages and affordability is at near decade-best levels for prospective buyers.

However, in spite of these positives, we expect that many of our capitals will make a more gradual transition to recovery than in the past.

In contrast, some of our regional towns have been making great strides in the housing market for some time. Some of the larger centres associated with resources and mining have seen prices and rents rise over recent years, and are currently experiencing extremely tight rental markets, with vacancy rates often well below 2 per cent.

As a result, we have seen an upward trend in city investors looking for opportunities in regional areas. With any investment, research is crucial, but for regional areas in particular, the following should be considered:

  • location/access
  • demographics
  • underlying housing demand
  • economic growth
  • current real estate trends

One regional area that ticks many of these boxes is Gladstone. Located halfway between Rockhampton and Bundaberg, on the coast, Gladstone is easily accessed by a comprehensive network of rail, road, sea and air services. It is only a one hour flight or a six-hour drive from Brisbane. The area supports a growing residential community, along with significant agricultural and industrial operations.

Gladstone has 65,000 permanent residents and is likely to grow at the rate of 2,300 per year. The town supports several hospitals, schools, retail centres and two tertiary facilities.

Our research confirms that Gladstone has:
  • a shortage of rental stock
  • very strong rental growth
  • rising demand for new housing (to the tune of 900 dwellings a year)
  • a rise in the number of properties selling

The economy is booming with some $30 billion worth of major engineering projects under construction in the resource and energy sectors. At present, about 7000 people are employed in the construction of these engineering projects, with employment numbers expected to peak at between 8,000 and 10,000 in early 2014. Operational employment in the region should provide more than 1200 new jobs by 2016.

There is much more to Gladstone than construction. Two out of every five jobs in Gladstone are associated with manufacturing, with a further 30 per cent related to services and retail. One third of service-sector employees works as a professional in science and technical-related industries.

This is one regional area that has good reason to be on an investor’s radar.


Republished with permission of Matusik™ Property Insights Pty Ltd back to top
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