REIQ: Gladstone market improving, stabilising

REIQ: Gladstone market improving, stabilising


PICKING UP: Well priced homes are selling more quickly.

PICKING UP: Well priced homes are selling more quickly.

GLADSTONE was on property expert Terry Ryder’s “Dirty Dozen” list because he says the property market is yet to hit rock bottom – not because it’s not worth investing here.

But Real Estate Institute of Queensland president Antonia Mercorella says we are off the bottom and we’re seeing an improvement in sales, and homes are taking less time to sell; facts she says show the market has stabilised.

Both are using figures to track the progress of the market and drawing different conclusions.

Mr Ryder said it was “absurd” that a small regional city with growth drivers, including major industry, an expanding port – one of the largest in the country – and now the three LNG plants, should have a “basket case” property market.

“There’s nothing wrong with the fundamentals in Gladstone, apart from the fact that too many developers piled in at the same time and flooded the market,” Mr Ryder said.

“We do believe Gladstone has a bright future.”

In January 2012 Mr Ryder labelled Gladstone one of his top spots to invest in property.

But this month Gladstone landed on the opposite list, known as the “Dirty Dozen” suburbs to avoid.

Yesterday he stood by the 2012 claims and said as the market began to turn towards the end of the year, his advice was for people to sell before the crash.

Now he says home owners should hold on until the market turns again which should be mid-2016.

“The best time to buy is when there is a glimmer of hope the market is recovering,” Mr Ryder said.

“The problem is no one rings a bell when the bottom of the market is reached.

“If people are buying now, the first change they will see in value will probably be down.

“But ultimately they will see increases.”

In early 2014, the statistical peak of the downturn, it took 119 days to sell a home in Gladstone.

That’s dropped to 100 days and the vacancy rate, 7.1%, is also below the peak in December 2013 of 7.%.

It’s those numbers that make Ms Mercorella confident that we’ve have already hit the bottom.

“Local agents are reporting that vendors are becoming more realistic about setting a price and are meeting the market when listing their properties,” Ms Mercorella said.

“This means houses that are priced well are moving more quickly.”

Last year the Queensland Government’s statisticians Office reported the Gladstone population grew by 1900 people.

Ms Mercorella says that’s another good reason to be confident that Gladstone’s property market will come up.

Mayor Gail Sellers said despite comments the council was to blame for the oversupply; it doesn’t have the power to reject valid development proposals.

“We can’t approve developments on economic grounds,” Mayor Gail Sellers said.

“If a proposal comes to the council and it meets town planning criteria and legislation we can’t refuse it.

“Quite frankly I was unimpressed when I saw that we were on Terry Ryder’s “Dirty Dozen” list.

“But I looked at it and then I dismissed it.”

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