Local buyers back Townsville's retail market: HTW

Local buyers back Townsville's retail market: HTW
Local buyers back Townsville's retail market: HTW

Over the last quarter, Townsville’s retail market has seen a resurgence of local buyers (owner-occupiers and investors) in the sub $1.5 million entry level retail investment sector, according to Herron Todd White’s latest report.

The property advisory firm says that the end of 2015 saw a flurry of larger retail sales driven by southern investors including Vincent Village for $16.7 million and Rising Sun Shopping Centre for $9.85 million. There were also a number of other retail properties in the $3 million to $5.5 million range.

The flow-on from this investment along with an increased level of market sentiment has seen the recent sale of several smaller strip commercial and suburban convenience centres.

These properties, some of which have been on the market for an extended period of time, have vacancies and low WALEs.

Local buyers including intending owner- occupiers and investors are potentially seeing the opportunity to realise upswing in this secondary retail product and that coupled with the affordability is making the potential for capital returns enticing.

This resurgence, possibly on the back of recent positive announcements including the Stadium and Waterfront precincts, is indicating a renewed level of confidence amongst local buyers in the market.

The Cairns retail market passed through the bottom of the cycle during the course of 2014 but the limited recovery thus far means that the retail property market remains relatively flat.

It must also be said that retail property sales in Cairns are sporadic, with most sales involving retail property being of mixed use retail and office buildings or tenant buyouts of single premises.

High exposure CBD retail space remains reasonably well occupied, but vacancies are more noticeable in the lesser exposure locations and CBD fringe.

Rents have remained generally stable, showing ranges of $600 to $800 per square metre per annum for prime CBD space and $1,000 to $1,500 per square metre per annum in key tourist precincts such as the Cairns Esplanade.

Blue chip retail located within the main Esplanade tourist strip and CBD show reasonably low vacancies, though there is also limited demand from new businesses.

There remains good investor demand for well leased properties which rarely come onto the market.

There have been no retail property sales of note thus far during 2016, however the Bellview Hotel, which represents a prime hotel and retail redevelopment site on the Cairns Esplanade with significant holding income, has been recently placed on the market.

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