En­gine room drives eco­nomic re­cov­ery

The property mar­ket in Biloela is look­ing healthy as jobs in the cen­tral Queens­land town are be­ing cre­ated, writes Michael Ma­tusik

The Courier-Mail - Property - - NEWS -

DE­SPITE what many may think, things in much of cen­tral Queens­land are quite solid.

In some mar­kets, jobs are be­ing cre­ated, prop­er­ties are sell­ing and, in many cases, rental mar­kets are re­main­ing tight.

We con­tinue our look at re­gional Queens­land mar­kets with an over­view of Biloela – the largest town in the Banana Shire – and a cen­tral Queens­land mar­ket that is look­ing healthy.

The Banana Shire, for the unini­ti­ated, is in the Capri­corn re­gion of Queens­land, in­land from Glad­stone.

Biloela is its largest town and the ad­min­is­tra­tive cen­tre of the shire.

Some people re­fer to Biloela as the en­gine room of the Banana Shire. What helps to give the town a strong foun­da­tion is the eco­nomic di­ver­sity of the re­gion.

Biloela has many pil­lars of eco­nomic growth – the in­dus­tries of agri­cul­ture, min­ing, man­u­fac­tur­ing, re­tail, ed­u­ca­tion, health and con­struc­tion all form a part of the area’s econ­omy.

Over the past 12 months, the va­cancy rate in Biloela has in­creased from an ex­tremely tight 1 per cent to 2.8 per cent, which equates to just 29 va­can­cies.

And while rents fell dur­ing 2013, they are start­ing to in­crease and the mar­ket ap­pears to once again of­fer value for money. Lo­cals are feel­ing more con­fi­dent, with ask­ing prices for houses now start­ing to rise.

Ven­dors have lifted their price ex­pec­ta­tions by up to 5 per cent over the past three months, com­pared with ex­pect­ing prices to fall about 10 per cent in 2013.

Sales are tak­ing place, es­pe­cially for houses priced be­tween $250,000-$350,000.

The amount of stock for re­sale in Biloela is tight, with just 70 prop­er­ties ac­tively for re­sale at present. That’s just a lit­tle more than 2 per cent of the pri­vate res­i­dences in the area.

Job cre­ation and a healthy property mar­ket go hand in hand. And in Biloela, jobs are now be­ing cre­ated.

Over the past two years, for ex­am­ple, about 2300 new jobs have been cre­ated in the Banana Shire, many of which are in or around Biloela.

And aver­age in­comes in the town have lifted 31 per cent, well over the Queens­land aver­age of 12 per cent over the same time­frame.

Af­ford­abil­ity is an is­sue for cen­tral Queens­land in gen­eral and Biloela is no ex­cep­tion.

The town has a grow­ing pop­u­la­tion with a largely young de­mo­graphic pro­file that will fuel the de­mand for af­ford­able hous­ing, suit­able for first-home buy­ers and down­siz­ers.

Most of Biloela’s hous­ing de­mand over the next 10 years will come from young renters (18-29 years) and first-home buy­ers (30-44 years).

Apart­ments, town­houses and of­ten smaller al­lot­ments don’t suit the big open spa­ces that char­ac­terise in­land re­gional towns.

The chal­lenge will be to pro­vide hous­ing flex­i­bil­ity on tra­di­tional sized al­lot­ments.

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