GLADSTONE – Resilience, Prosperity and Sustainability

GLADSTONE – It’s time to wash off the mud as you emerge into a new age of prosperity and sustainability

Gladstone may have had its fair share of negativity over the last five years, but for those who know her best, there is a nice, new undercurrent of positivity and prosperity starting to flow through our pretty little town.

Surrounded by a naturally deep harbour, diversifying industry and a sense of community second to none, the word on the street is Gladstone is scrubbing up, dusting itself off and finding its new groove.  And for a lot of us, it’s about time.

The last few years has been incredibly harsh.  Mortgagee sales a plenty, and businesses closing due to continued financial hardship.  But it is what it is, and for those that are left, it has been a case of survival of the fittest, leanest or just plain lucky.

The time to buy is now…

There ‘has never been a better time to buy in Gladstone’, is an increasingly popular tune and with good reason backed by solid data.

The Gladstone property market is at an historic 10 year low (source RP Data) with plenty of upside potential for cash ready buyers looking to invest or simply get into the market with their first home.

Historically, Gladstone has always performed quite well with average gains of 10% per annum.  Yet we have also experienced Gladstone as a very volatile market.  So timing is everything, and so is having a macro economic view.

If we cast our eyes further than property prices in the port city, we should also consider interest rates and commodity prices – both of which have a direct impact on the strength of Gladstone’s economy.

Interest rates have remained on hold, and irrespective of the ‘affordability crisis’ in the capital cities, specifically Sydney and Melbourne, in most regional areas around Australia, property has become extremely affordable. In fact, the hardest part for buyers in regional areas is to secure a minimal deposit loan and to get past the risk ratings and lending criteria set by lenders mortgage insurance (LMI) companies.  LMI is an ongoing issue creating additional obstacles for the regional economies to self correct and resurrect without outsider contribution and influence.  It is our firm belief that any associated risk with postcode 4680 has now been priced into the market.  Testament to this is the return of buyer confidence in our area. In the last 6 months, Gladstone has seen more house sale transactions than the whole of 2016 combined.  There is a genuine interest from buyers to get into the market.

Renters are starting to feel a light squeeze…

If we consider rental trends, lease renewals are now remaining at the same price or with a slight increase to allow for an extended 12 month term instead of the usual 6 months or periodic.  A lack of employment security had previously driven lease terms and prices down but this is starting to change.  Vacancy rates across Gladstone are now sitting between 5 and 6 %, a huge improvement from 12 months ago when 10% was the norm.

To check the median rental prices and bonds lodged, you can visit the RTA website here

There is a theory that people on welfare are artificially inflating our rental vacancy market.  And maybe this is true, maybe it isn’t, but in the meantime, people moving to our regions are occupying houses and injecting funds into communities otherwise left behind in the aftermath of LNG.  Rental arrears risk is also managed through the Centrepay system allowing rent to be deducted from a recipients allowance before it hits their bank account.  Like any tenancy, the people and the rent need to be managed diligently.

Community is a thicker than water…

Gladstone is backed by a community who cares.  Community organisations are building relationships with stakeholders, citizens and each other to strengthen our economic framework backed by a local council who appears committed to positive change.  There is no stand alone hero in this tale but there is economic prosperity on the horizon.

Going forward, Gladstone now has the necessary infrastructure to cope with any extraordinary projects requiring an instant workforce, and we also have a great range of skills and capability provided by local business too.  Gladstone is open for business and we are actively working together to bring investment and deserved confidence back to our region.

So Gladstone, things are looking up for you.

Dust yourself off, put your game face on and suit up because now is the time to redefine and reinvent yourself as you embark on a new age of economic prosperity; and this time, we will be prepared.