Whitsunday's growing economy puts property back in overdrive: PRDnationwide

Whitsunday's growing economy puts property back in overdrive: PRDnationwide
Whitsunday's growing economy puts property back in overdrive: PRDnationwide

A growing regional economy, driven by rising tourism numbers and major projects, has Whitsundays Airlie Beach poised as a lucrative opportunity for property investors, according to real estate group PRDnationwide.

All the key drivers of a rising property market are in place and properties are selling at the fastest pace in nine years, says PRDnationwide Whitsunday principal Christie Leet.

“Activity in the property market picked up to a good pace in the second half of 2016, pushing the Whitsundays into a balanced market and ready for another major upswing (after nine years of weak prices),” said Leet.

“The Australian dollar has stabilised at a level that entices overseas visitors and we have domestic visitors taking advantage of low airfares and increased capacity.

“Properties are selling quickly again and the excess housing and rental stock has all but vanished.”

Also, land is limited in the Whitsundays, with much of it taken up by Conway National Park and the last beachfront blocks that can be developed on the Whitsunday Coast are now under construction at Funnel Bay.

“With major construction and refurbishment projects under way or about to begin, there will be even greater demand for housing as construction workers move into the region,” he said.

The Whitsunday Coast Airport has an expansion project on the table with a $59 million masterplan, including plans for the introduction of international flights.

Redevelopments at Daydream Island Resort ($30 million) and South Molle Island ($200-$300 million), as well as a $600 million redevelopment at Lindeman Island Resort, are fuelling jobs growth on the Whitsunday Coast.

Leet said the start of construction at the Adani Carmichael Coal Project, a $16 billion investment in the Central and North Queensland economies, and the reopening of the Collinsville mine, which is in the Whitsunday Shire, would provide even greater demand on housing in the Whitsundays.

“The workforce will be fly-in-fly-out and we have seen in the past that miners like to set up a home base where the family can enjoy the best North Queensland has to offer,” he said.

“Thousands of miners and their families will also be looking for somewhere to relax and enjoy their time off without having to travel too far.”

Tiger Airways is adding 110,000 extra seats into the Whitsundays from March and Jetstar has announced they will add another 65,000 seats into the Whitsundays from April.

Census 2011 results from the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicate that the construction, transport and utilities sectors employ the most permanent residents in the region combined.

According to Queensland government estimates, the Whitsunday region had a resident population of 34,016 as at June 2013. Medium population projections suggest the region may experience average population growth of 2.1% (or 691 persons) per annum over the next two decades, with an estimated resident population of 49,700 persons by the end of 2036. Based on an average household size of 2.4 persons per residence, this level of population growth may yield demand for an additional 288 residential dwellings per annum over the same period. With the average number of new dwelling approvals for the last 5 years at 173p.a, this leaves an expected shortage of 115 dwellings per year. This shortage will push house, land and rental prices upwards as the demand increases.

“The lifestyle benefits of the Whitsundays, represented by the Great Barrier Reef, the islands, beautiful beaches (including one of the world’s best), and natural environment, are well documented and have helped the region become the number one Great Barrier Reef destination.”

But it is the underlying strength of tourism and the local economy, combined with the timing of the market, that is behind the sudden move in the property market.

“The all-important construction industry is ramping up with key projects already under construction or about to start but the low vacancy rates are creating the demand needed for more accommodation projects to come online,” Leet said.

Property market Whitsunday

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