HOME RUN

Ex­perts de­clare mar­ket re­cov­ery fi­nally un­der way

Townsville Bulletin - - FRONT PAGE - TONY RAGGATT

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.

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