Ke­mer­ton lithium re­fin­ery pow­ers SW real es­tate out­look

South Western Times - - News - Jac­inta Can­ta­tore

Con­struc­tion of the lithium re­fin­ery in Ke­mer­ton could spark a hous­ing boom which could ben­e­fit the en­tire South West, ac­cord­ing to a Bun­bury real­tor.

Works at Albe­marle’s lithium re­fin­ery is set to cre­ate 500 jobs from early next year and a fur­ther 500 jobs to op­er­ate the plant.

Mal Han­cock, who owns and man­ages Han­cock Real Es­tate with his wife Tanya, said the new em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties had the po­ten­tial to drive up house val­ues and tighten the rental mar­ket in what has been a volatile mar­ket since the min­ing bust.

“The South West re­gion was af­fected very badly by the min­ing down­turn,” he said.

Mr Han­cock said the re­gion had not had in­vestors since the min­ing boom be­gan with the Wors­ley Alu­mina ex­pan­sion be­tween 2003 and 2006 which brought more than 3500 new fam­i­lies to the re­gion, some of whom then shifted to FIFO work in the min­ing sec­tor in the north of the State.

Mr Han­cock said houses in the re­gion were un­der­val­ued and the es­tab­lished home mar­ket was well be­low new home re­place­ment cost, with a gap of up to $100,000.

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.”

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