Mining towns in Central West QLD are heading for a 'boom'
USUALLY selling a home above $300,000 in under a year is a difficult task in the town of Emerald.
But in the last two months, two $1 million properties have been sold, with one being on the market for 60 days.
Emerald Real Estate owner Jason Campbell put it down to the resource and mining sector strengthening with mines in both Emerald and Blackwater re-employing.
Mr Campbell, who has owned real estate businesses in both Emerald and Blackwater for 10 years, said the increase in the mines had led to renewed confidence in the Central West property market.
As a result there has been an increase of activity in the towns with rental vacancy rates decreasing and home buying increasing.
"Twelve months ago we had around 80 vacant rentals and right now we probably have five," Mr Campbell said.
"People are moving back into town (Emerald) from out of the area and people who were tenants previously have seen the market bottom out and know it is on the rise so they jump from tenancy into buying."
This was reflected in a 15.6% jump in the median house price to $260,000 for the March quarter (REIQ market report), a result which outperformed the all other centres in the region (see graphic).
It's a welcomed change in the market, which has seen tough times in the last six or so years due to the roll-on effects of the resource and mining sector.
"The demand has certainly increased, especially in Blackwater where we have had the reopening of Cook Colliery," Mr Campbell said.
"And now we have some renewed confidence in Emerald with a deal being done between BHP and Sojitz with the purpose of the Gregory-Crinum mine which is set to employ another 200 to 300 workers out there."
While Mr Campbell said it wasn't a case of a property "boom" in Central West Queensland just yet, it was well on its way.
"It's been a tough six to seven years but now things look like very good value and whether they are in Blackwater or Emerald, people have seen we've hit the bottom of the market and are on the way up," he said.
"Previously we weren't selling homes in the market for above $300,000 but recently I sold two properties for over $1 million dollars each and a few others around that $600,000 to $700,00 mark."
Mr Campbell recently sold a property in the town area of Emerald on an acre allotment for $1 million which was only on the market for 60 days.
This sale was followed by a property out of town on acreage which sold for more than $1 million.
"A local contractor bought one of the homes and the other was purchased by people from the rural industry wanting to move in from further out west," Mr Campbell said.
"Things are now selling very quickly, we're selling properties within six weeks to 60 days and sometimes less, which is certainly a large improvement to where it was previously."
The experienced real estate agent said the same was happening in Blackwater with people moving back into the town centre.
"We do have people who have moved back into Blackwater due to the affordability of houses but once again, a lot of that lower price stock has moved and is gone, but the occupancy rates across the town have sort of swelled and things are certainly looking better for the next three years," said Mr Campbell.
"That again is mainly due to the resource sector picking up, employment opportunities opening up, and property affordability."