Bundaberg recovers

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The rebuild from the floods that devastated parts of Bundaberg in January are well under way with the local property market bearing its fair share of the burden.

Repairing and rebuilding flood-damaged homes and businesses in Bundaberg will be made easier after the State Government granted Bundaberg Regional Council (BRC) some planning relief.

Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Planning and Infrastructure Jeff Seeney said he had granted council a Temporary Local Planning Instrument (TLPI) so it could get on with the job of rebuilding.

“Bundaberg’s flood in late January was its most devastating flood in recorded history,” he said.

“Since then, my department has been working with council to get the city back on its feet and begin the mammoth rebuilding task.

“Implementing the TLPI will allow residents to repair their flood-affected homes faster and without the need to go through all the usual planning requirements.

“Residents will also be able to raise their houses to 9.5 metres above ground level, sparing them from any future floods.

“The focus of the rebuild is on increasing flood resilience in the affected areas so that we don’t see such extensive damage again.”

According to REIQ data, the Bundaberg median house price increased by 1.6 per cent to $285,000 over the March quarter.

REIQ Bundaberg zone chair Michael Dempsey said there had been a noticeable spike in demand which could be attributed to relocations caused by the region’s floods earlier this year.

“We have seen a considerable number of sales in suburbs on higher ground where people have chosen to relocate from North Bundaberg,” he said.

“The consecutive floods mean people are not prepared to stay put in certain areas, however rather than activity dropping off, we have witnessed a turnaround here with good sales and stock clearing in higher-ground suburbs.”

Avenell Heights was one suburb in particular that reaped the benefits. It recorded a quarterly increase of 16.4 per cent to $320,000 during the period.

According to Mr Dempsey, it is likely that damaged properties undergoing restoration works will re-enter the marketplace over the coming six months, allowing for equilibrium to be restored.

“We are currently seeing a strong demand for investors as a result of lower interest rates and a high demand for rental property in the region and it is predicted that this will continue,” he said.

“Confidence in the real estate market is strong at present and with the resource sector slowing it is providing a sense of stability, not-to-mention the combination of low interest rates and low median house prices making Bundaberg look like a very attractive place to live.”