Refinery could spark a real estate boom
Investors are already snapping up houses near the highly anticipated lithium refinery in Kemerton, with realtors in the area believing it could spark a housing boom across the South West.
Work at Albemarle’s lithium refinery is set to create 500 jobs from early next year and a further 500 jobs to operate the plant.
Brunswick resident Jennifer Rodwell recently put her home on the market with DAD Realty and used the close proximity to the new mine as a way to pitch to potential buyers.
“The lithium plant has been in the news a lot, so I thought why not?” Mrs Rodwell said.
“I thought it would be really great for a family relocating to the area because of the refinery.”
Australind DAD Realty sales consultant Daniel Meads said investors had purchased nine houses in the area in July and he had showed a further nine homes to investors in the past week.
“We’ve sold one house to one of the engineers who will be starting work there next year,” Mr Meads said.
“If more people move to the area there could be great flow-on effects for the South West economy.”
Originally from New Zealand, Mr Meads said there was talk back home of direct flights from New Zealand to Perth based on the anticipated lithium boom as well as the renewed mining activity in the north of the State.
Hancock Real Estate owner Mal Hancock and his wife Tanya said the new employment opportunities had the potential to drive up house values and tighten the rental market in what had been a volatile market since the mining bust.
Mr Hancock said houses in the region were undervalued and the established home market was well below new home replacement cost.
Banks were lending to his clients at a rate of 4 per cent interest, but the low vacancy rate meant the rental return was between 5 and 7 per cent.
“People buying now could see a benefit of $70,000 to $100,000,” Mr Hancock said.
“It’s a smart time to buy.”