Boyne Smelter job cuts to hit the Gladstone property market hard
GLADSTONE'S property market has been put through the wringer but with impending cuts of up to 100 workers at Boyne Smelter Limited things could get worse, the Real Estate Institute of Queensland has warned.
In its latest Market Monitor report REIQ said BSL's announcement that it would scale back production and cut jobs because of "soaring electricity costs" would only add to market pressures.
"The house market has fallen for four consecutive quarters, to an annual median sale price of $323,875 representing a fall of 10.7% in 2016," the report read.
"The five-year contraction in the house market of 27.5% and the unit market of 36.1% were the largest medium-term falls for all markets included in the Queensland Market Monitor."
Throughout 2016 the unit market fell 20.3% to a median sale price of $185,000.
But because of a continued "volatility" in the coking coal price, REIQ said the residential property market in Gladstone would remain "weak" and be reliant on new coal mines, Baralaba Coal and Byerwen Coal, for a turnaround in prospects.
Although Townsville's Smith and Elliott real estate principal Sally Elliott said the property market in Townsville had taken a massive hit after mass sackings at Clive Palmer's Queensland Nickel, she said it was more a case of the "straw that broke the camel's back".
"We had a buffer in the market until about 2012/13 when 300 defence personnel moved off base and came into the city," Mrs Elliott said.
"But then we were hit with the perfect storm with FIFO workers and defence services moving back on base and then you had everyone cutting and trimming.
"Queensland Nickel (sackings) was the icing on the cake."
In the December quarter, REIQ recorded 95 house sales in the Gladstone region, with Clinton being the most popular at 18 sales.
"Houses in Gladstone need about 89 days to close a sale and a discount of about 11.4%, which positions the region as the most-challenged market... in Queensland," the report found.
"Gladstone's vacancy rates increased from 8.9% to 9.9% over the December quarter due to the poor economic environment."