On 26 January, 2013 the areas of Bundaberg and Bargara were hit by six tornadoes and the effects of Cyclone Oswald. The repercussions from these two weather events saw the region thrown into turmoil with the highest and most devastating flood known in the history of region. Three months on, REIQ communications manager Amanda Haack spoke with Le-Anne Allan, Principal of Richardson & Wrench Bargara Beach about the positives that have come from an incredibly negative experience.
Tell us about the commercial impact of the disaster?
Many businesses and local residents were hit hard by the events. This was a time when businesses went into management of the damages and mitigation of extensive losses. None more so than the local real estate industry who were hit hard by damages and losses to a number of properties under management.
What was the effect on the local real estate market?
These traumatic events have not diminished a strong start to the real estate year in Bundaberg for 2013. With record property sales so far this year, Richardson & Wrench Bargara Beach have not blinked an eye in their pursuit of property sales. With an ethos to look at the industry with ‘a glass half full’ attitude, the market is quite buoyant and figures stronger than last year. Buyer confidence and sales levels have increased from the last quarter of 2012. Approximately 70 per cent of sales recently have been to locals moving within the market and approximately 30 per cent to out-of-town buyers.
Has a silver lining emerged since?
Some may say the negative impact of the floods has now turned to a positive. Rental properties are in urgent demand with some rental returns increasing due to the emergence of another type of tenant. Tradespeople and professionals who have been sent to the area to commence the rebuild and restoration of properties are sourcing accommodation for their stay.
Our agency has even been able to secure some tenancies for properties which have been for sale and were unsold. Rental property vacancy rates are around 1 per cent presently with turnaround averaging seven days.
The weather events have also created awareness of the area and now ensuing promotion can only benefit the area. McDonald’s have commenced construction on the new restaurant at Bargara, a true sign that investment in the area continues to grow. 2013 looks to be a strong consolidation year for the Bundaberg and coastal market.