Is there a light at the end of the tunnel for the Rockhampton property market?

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In an unusual quirk of sales data this quarter Rockhampton’s median house price is actually lower than the median unit price. Yes, that’s correct – it’s cheaper to buy a house than a unit.

The business community has been struggling to recover from Tropical Cyclone Debbie which hit the central Queensland coast in April this year. The widespread damage and business closures affected the local economy, particularly affecting export products such as sugar, coal and cattle.

Despite the damage from the cyclone, businesses have reported that they have recovered and have in fact have seen a rise in demand for services.

Tropical Cyclone Debbie wreaked havoc on the local economy and the business community was struggling to recover for months. Sugar, coal and cattle exports were affected.

However, the tide appears to be turning with local traders reporting an uptick in demand for products and services.

The Morning Bulleting reported Simon Harris from Wideland Trucks and Equipment said that:

“Since the Cyclone setback, there has been an up-swing in the amount of business Wideland trucks has been doing with a variety of different sectors”.

“We’ve picked up some sales, there’s some movement in local government and retail.

“We are getting increased enquiries via phone and internet. You can see the light at the end of the tunnel now.”

It is also great to see that Stockland Rockhampton shopping centre is getting a face lift and is set to provide not only a new shopping experience, but also job opportunities.

The complex is shuffling retailers around and also opening some new big brand retailers. It is reported that H&M, QBD and 11 food and specialty stores will open as part of this centre upgrade.

Along with new stores opening, Stockland Rockhampton is hoping to be given approval for a multi-million dollar extension.

Another new shopping related initiative in the Rockhampton area is the new Farmers Markets at Parkhurst Town Centre, where local farmers will be able to get involved and sell their own products.

The only Saturday markets on offer in the region are in Yeppoon, 40 minutes away.

Parkhurst Centre Manager, Rhonda Green said that:

“We wanted something at (the northern end of town).. Everything seems to be over the other end of town and there is nothing on a Saturday morning (to attract shoppers), except down in Yeppoon and that’s miles away.”

Business confidence in the region is on the rise and when business confidence improves consumer confidence generally follows. Improvement in the coking coal prices, thriving education sectors and the Adani effects in north Queensland arereasons to be optimistic the local economy is improving.

A rise in the economy is what this challenged property market needs. It was reported in the latest issue of the Queensland Market Monitor  that the house market is weak with a similar result in the unit market.

We know from the data that prices have been falling and in the March quarter the REIQ classified Rockhampton as a falling market.

Rockhampton’s annual median house price was $270,000 which is a 3.6 per cent drop from one year ago.

As mentioned above, in an unusual quirk of data this quarter, the unit market is more expensive than the house market with an annual median unit price of $299,500, down 9.2 per cent on one year ago.

Days on market and vendor discounting eased over the past year, a reflection of  falling demand. Listings increased by 52 per cent, the stock on market increased 3.6 per cent, days on market increased by 11 days and the vender discount increased by 1.2 per cent to 9.1 per cent.

While property sales have been week over the past 12 months, the residential vacancy rates are showing some positive signs. The vacancy rate for Rockhampton tightened from 8.6 per cent in March to 7.2 per cent in June.

Overall, Rockhampton is one of the most affordable markets in the state. But there are some reasons to be optimistic.

With many details about Adani’s operations still to be decided it’s difficult to forecast how much impact will be felt in Rockhampton. If the city is named a FIFO hub, it’s possible that more than 1500 jobs will be added to the community.

Many are keeping their fingers crossed because the benefit would be significant and almost immediate. It would inject money into the community and bring workers, who would drive demand for consumables, as well as rental properties and house sales.