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20 Reasons to like Rockhampton

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

by Terry Ryder.

 

Most questions I get asked by Investors concern location. That's unsurprising, because that's my business.

But specific locations tend to dominate. Eighteen months ago many were asking about Moranbah. A year ago there were more questions about Gladstone then anywhere else. Over the past six months Perth has dominated.

You may notice the surge in interest in a particular spot usually comes well after the best time to buy there.

Now the focus is switching again. In Queensland, interest in former favourites Gladstone and Mackay is fading, as consumers get the message that those markets are declining, weighed down by over-supply at a time when resources-related demand has eased.

Rockhampton is now attracting attention and I'm getting more and more questions about it. Do I think it's a good place to invest?

The short answer is yes, and here are my Top 20 reasons why I like it.

  1. It has economic diversity and is less reliant on the resources sector.
  2. It’s the admin capital of Central Queensland.
  3. It gets plenty of oomph from its reputation as “the beef capital of Australia”.
  4. It has a military economy, a power station, a university, plenty of tourism and two big abattoirs.
  5. It’s affordable - considerably cheaper than both Mackay and Gladstone.
  6. Several suburbs have median house prices below $250,000.
  7. It’s not hard to find rental returns above 6.5% on houses.
  8. There are plenty of older Queenslanders for those who like to “add value”.
  9. Sales volumes have been rising since late in 2012, with prices starting to follow.
  10. The long-term growth rates are strong, with most suburbs averaging 10% or more annually for the past decade.
  11. Considerable spending on infrastructure is under way or planned.
  12. $250 million is being spent on expanding the hospital.
  13. Plenty is being invested in property development, including shopping centres and industrial estates.
  14. It has a population above 100,000 and is growing steadily.
  15. It services a region with close to half a million people.
  16. Unemployment rates have improved markedly in recent years.
  17. A $1.2 billion export port is in planning (a second port project of similar size was proposed but Xstrata abandoned its plans in May).
  18. Projects like the $600 million development on Great Keppel Island and the expansion of the Keppel Bay marina will help the tourism industry.
  19. Quest Serviced Apartments, which targets locations with growing business traffic, has just opened a new hotel there.
  20. Resources industry workers are settling in the Rockhampton area and going to work on a fly-in-fly-out basis
And here are a couple of things to be cautious about: dwellings approvals almost doubled in FY2013 so investors should keep and eye on vacancies; and it would pay to check the flood maps for signing a purchase contract.

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