Experts declare market recovery finally under way
DEVELOPERS are eyeing unit projects in Townsville as a series of major developments and an uplift in inner- city home sales point to a much- anticipated recovery.
Townsville has caught the attention of na- tional property firms and researchers like Terry Ryder who has placed Townsville among the Top 10 buying areas in the country.
“I think the market in Townsville is starting to turn but the really big movement is yet to come,” Mr Ryder said yesterday.
He points to rising house sales and an im- pressive line- up of major job- creating projects as indicators that the market is starting to move.
But when it comes to calling that the tide has turned, most say they think this will occur early next year.
“There’s a lot of confidence starting to brew,” Colliers International managing director Peter Wheeler said. “Have we reached a turning point? I’m not sure but I don’t think it’s too far away.” The comments come as several key development sites in the city have been taken up or where applications for unit projects have been lodged with Townsville City Council.
The sites have sat idle for 10 years since the global financial crisis.
A group of Sydney investors are looking to develop a large apartment and restaurant project on 6000sq m of land next to the Seaview Hotel on The Strand, while Townsville developers have secured large sites in Belgian Gardens, one on the slopes of Castle Hill, and near the CBD.
Developer Paul Spina is marketing units and retail space in the first stage of a $ 30 million apartment and retail project in Palmer St called Vantage on Palmer.
Mr Spina said some sales had been achieved but more were needed to satisfy financiers. He said the fact that regulators were restricting lending because of hot markets in Sydney and Melbourne was not helping Townsville.
Mr Ryder said he tried to identify areas they believed prices would grow.
“There’s very few regional centres as primed as we think Townsville is,” Mr Ryder said.
“It might not feel like it for people in Townsville but the city has held up way better than other regional centres like Mackay and Gladstone.
“The diversity in Townsville’s economy has helped.”
Mr Wheeler said major projects were lining up to create jobs and spur the economy.
They included the $ 250 million stadium project, more than $ 1 billion worth of solar projects, a port expansion including a widening of the channel and new rail corridor, the Carmichael coal project where proponent Adani was setting up in headquarters in Townsville and driving demand for more than 80 rental properties and a $ 515 million upgrade of the Bruce Highway 40km south of Townsville.
“That’s going to be a lot of job creation,” Mr Wheeler said.
Townsville REIQ chairman Damien Keyes and McGrath Townsville principal Brad Ma- theson said home sales volumes were rising.
“Definitely volumes seem to be back to normal but in terms of a price rebound I think we are a way off that yet,” Mr Keyes said.
Mr Matheson cited good recent deals including a Mundingburra home selling for $ 1.01 million, the highest price in that suburb for eight years.
“I think confidence has certainly turned and that will lead to the market turning,” he said.