'Signs of recovery': Real estate figures cite market rebound
WHILE new figures showing a median 9 per cent drop in residential land values across the Gladstone Region might appear negative to the casual observer, the real estate industry is taking a much sunnier outlook.
REIQ Gladstone zone chair Alicia Williams said because the figures were a snapshot of land values as of October last year - about the time market-watchers point to as the start of a possible turnaround - the low figures were expected.
"We weren't expecting anything different," Ms Williams told The Observer.
"Last year we did see a bit of a continuation of that five-year trend, which was a correction in the market.
"But around September to October is when we started to see sentiment change in Gladstone, and that was evident by a record number of transactions in November.
"It will be exciting to see the figures to October this year and what happens from there."
Hotspotting.com.au managing director Terry Ryder said that was a fair assessment of the data.
"I think the indications are that Gladstone's very close to the bottom of the cycle," he said.
"It's been a long and unhappy one, but we've seen vacancy rates trending downwards for the last 18 months.
"Once they get below 3 per cent, we're in the territory where we can start to expect growth in the rental market... then we might see property prices in the positive 12 months from now."
Mr Ryder said his view that Gladstone was close to the turnaround so many have been waiting for was based on
"It's partly from what I'm seeing in other CQ markets," he said.
"Gladstone took a bigger hit than most (markets affected by the resources boom) because the big gas plants created this huge distortion, developers overreacted and we ended up with a fairly major oversupply.
"But these other CQ towns and cities have been through their downturns and we're seeing signs of turnarounds in most of those places now.
"There are signs of a resources revival, but also agriculture and tourism are strong, so more ducks are in a row when it comes to reviving those local economies and out of that comes revival in the local property markets."
A number of potential small-to-medium infrastructure projects in the pipeline for the Gladstone Region, such as a 300MW solar farm at Rodds Bay, would only improve the local outlook if they proceeded to construction, Mr Ryder said.
"The thing I like about those projects is they're not massive - the gas was too big for the town to handle and adversely affected the local market," he said.
"The small-to-medium projects are far more likely to bring people into town who will be buying or renting local accommodation.
"Put all those factors together and I wouldn't be surprised if we saw some signs of recovery in land values by later this year."