Armidale investments being overlooked

Armidale investments being overlooked
Armidale investments being overlooked

Investors continue to under-rate and overlook regional Australia despite the appeal of what’s on offer for those who select well and invest intelligently.

There’s a strong inclination to cling to the capital cities, perhaps unsurprising when research sources publish comparisons with a single growth figure to describe the eight capital cities (inflated by Sydney’s growth figure, also inflated) and a single number to describe the vastness that is regional Australia.

The lone figure for regional Australia is always lower, dragged down by all those cities and towns undermined by the decline in the resources sector or drought or some other periodic affliction.

But the best of regional Australia provides one of real estate’s win-win-win situations: lower prices, better yields and strong prospects for capital gains.

Many of the regional centres with the best appeal are places most investors would never consider – or have even heard of.

Armidale in regional New South Wales is a good case study. It features in the new 2017 edition of the National Top 5 Cheapies With Prospects: Regional Edition for multiple reasons. A diverse economy sustained by education, tourism and agriculture is a big factor, as is the support of Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, the local Member.

The city’s prospects are being boosted by upgrades to the airport and hospital, the possibility of a major solar farm, touted as being the largest solar farm in New South Wales, and a wind farm development.

There is also the plan for a government department currently based in Canberra being relocated to the township.

Located on the New England Highway inland from Coffs Harbour and with regular train services and daily flights to Sydney, Armidale has good connectivity for both freight and passengers.

In addition to its rural roots, Armidale is a significant education centre. The New England University College began life as a College of the University of Sydney in 1938 - the first Australian university established outside a state capital city. The University of New England now has campuses at Armidale, Lismore and Orange, catering for 22,000 students.

The prominence of the education sector has created a wider range of jobs and business opportunities than normally would be found in a regional location.

Tourism and hospitality play a vital role in the local economy, contributing $92 million in sales in 2015, when 181,000 visitor-nights were recorded by Tourism Research Australia. Canyoning, mountain biking, bird watching, trout fishing and other outdoor adventures attract visitors. There are also spectacular waterfalls, gorges, world-heritage national parks, cool-climate vineyards, music festivals and art exhibitions. 

Armidale has not lost its agricultural roots; rural land is used largely for sheep and cattle grazing, with some fruit-growing and viticulture. Sheep and cattle are sold each week at the Armidale Saleyards and around 1.8 million beasts are slaughtered each year. The sheep, beef cattle and grain farming industries employ about 10% of the population.

The region is serviced by the Armidale Hospital - a public hospital which is currently undergoing an upgrade.

The Metz Solar Farm, declared a “state significant project” because of its size, reportedly would be the largest solar development in NSW. Proprietor Infinergy has negotiated a 30-year lease for the land – a 950ha selection. This project would generate 150 construction jobs.

Other infrastructure improvements which will give Armidale a boost include upgrades of the airport. The present airport terminal will double in size. 

In a move driven by the Deputy Prime Minister Joyce, 200 public servants could be relocating to Armidale. Staff from the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority have been told to prepare to relocate under the Federal Government’s “jobs and growth” strategy. 

The Armidale median house price is $360,000 following a 6 percent rise in the past 12 months. It’s quite a busy market with over 400 house sales in the past 12 months. 

Long-term growth, i.e. the average annual growth in median house prices over the past 10 years, is 5 percent per year for both houses and units.

Investors can expect solid rents to deliver yields in the 5 percent to 5.5 percent range on houses and around 6 percent on units.

 

Terry Ryder is the founder of hotspotting.com.au. You can  email him or follow him on Twitter.

Terry Ryder

Terry Ryder

Terry Ryder is the founder of hotspotting.com.au.

Tags: 
Residential Investment Armidale

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