BIG HAPPY FAMILY: Kylie Whatman and Richard Ward  share the wide deck space with their pets Nala, Pip  and Sadie.
BIG HAPPY FAMILY: Kylie Whatman and Richard Ward share the wide deck space with their pets Nala, Pip and Sadie. Tamara MacKenzie ROK041116tkhome

Home sweet home in Gracemere

MOVING home can weigh heavy on any family - especially when it's to another state.

But for the likes of Kylie Whatman and Richard Ward, moving from regional New South Wales to lil' ol' Gracemere was the perfect opportunity they had been looking for.

Both seeking business opportunities in the fitness industry, the couple 'jumped' at the opportunity to purchase the local gym, Activ Gracemere, which came on the market at the time they were looking.

Kylie's 12 plus years' experience working in gyms (both as a manager and personal training capacity) and Richard's similar skillset along with owning a hospitality business, gave them the edge to kick on the business smoothly.

Although the change is vastly different from their home in Bowral in the southern highlands of New South Wales, Kylie said the family was enjoying the warmer Queensland weather.

"Our old home has is a very different area to Central Queensland, but culturally and climatically," she said.

"We've recently purchased a house in Gracemere and are looking forward to putting down roots here in the local community.

"We're definitely going to take advantage of the warm weather and friendly locals.

"Ash, my son (11) has settled into school very well and has enjoyed playing sport for the local Gracemere soccer and rugby teams as well as school."

The couple weren't completely left in the dark when it came to the move inter-state. As Richard explained, it turned out, his brother-in-aw was born and raised in Gracemere.

"I was able to get some local knowledge on the area before we came up which was helpful," he said.

"Some of the attributes of what attracted us to the town of Gracemere was that it was another regional town, similar to where we had come from - which is what we like.

"That and the business opportunity available were definitely a calling card for us."

Ray White Gracemere Suzy McNamara said most of the year has reflected a buyers' market with great value to be had.

"The end of the financial year has seen more buyer activity indicating a strong finish to the year," Suzy said.

"Properties that are well presented and good size yards with side access are selling very well in the township.

"Sheds are also quite popular and improve both rental and sales appeal to potential home owners and tenants."

Suzy said that potential buyers focus on not only values for money, but other priorities are finding the right balance of community & lifestyle, while still being close to amenities. She said small acreages were also a favourite among buyers.

"There's been a surge of interest in these particular properties," Suzy said.

As for what 2017 will bring, Suzy said there had been numerous real estate analyses that are forecasting a recovery in the local housing market.

"It's thought to be not an overnight change, but a slow and steady improvement. The rural industry is enjoying a good season, high cattle prices and coal prices have started to improve. Some of the mines are employing again, so all the signs of improvement are looking good. In time this will flow onto a more positive market."



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