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Perth as a Standout in September

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

By Larry Schlesinger
Tuesday, 06 November 2012

Capital city house price growth slowed in the September quarter to 0.3%, led by a 1.8% rise in Perth's house price index to a median of $489,000, according to preliminary figures from the ABS.

If past revision history is anything to go by, Perth house prices are likely to be revised upwards in the December quarterly update, which is released in February.

The ABS revised its Perth June quarter result upwards from 0.6% to 1.2%, with Perth house prices now up 4.4% for the year to September.

The preliminary estimate for Perth follows rises in the previous three quarters (+0.5%, +0.9% and +1.2%), with the rise in the September quarter 2012 “driven by clusters with median prices below $700,000”.

Recently released RP Data-Rismark figures (which are not revised) show Perth house prices up 0.9% for the October quarter and up 3.8% year-on-year to a median of $475,000.

The ABS 0.3% rise for to the weighted average of the eight capital cities follows the previously reported June quarter increase of 0.5% being revised upwards to 0.6%.

As a consequence, the through-the-year movement has been revised from an estimated fall of 2.1% to an estimated fall of 1.9%.

Sydney also recorded an increase of 0.3% to $605,000, following falls in the previous two quarters.

Sydney house prices are 1.3% for the first nine months of the year, with the ABS noting that the small September quarter gain was driven by “clusters with median prices at the top and bottom of the range of prices.

“These rises were offset by falls in clusters with median prices between $650,000 and $1 million."

Melbourne’s house price index rose 0.2% to $468,000, the first rise in six quarters, to leave house prices down 2.3% for the year to September.

Brisbane house prices gained 0.4% to $434,000, while Hobart was up 0.2% to $348,000.

These rises was partially offset by falls in Adelaide (-0.6% to $384,000), Canberra (-1.1% to $535,000) and Darwin (-0.5% to $547,000).

The ABS also made revisions to capital city data for both June (first revision) and March (second and final revision) quarters

In June: Sydney (+1.5%, revised from +1.4%), Perth (+1.2%, revised from +0.6%), Adelaide (+0.4%, revised from +0.5%) and Darwin (+2.5%, revised from +5.1%). This was partially offset by falls in Melbourne (-0.2%, revised from -0.4%), Canberra (-1.2%, revised from -1.3%), Brisbane (-0.2%, revised from +0.1%) and Hobart (-1.0%, revised from -0.4%).

Final price indexes for the March quarter 2012 show no movement following a revision from a second preliminary estimated fall of 0.1%.

The movement through the year to the March quarter 2012 was revised from a fall of 3.5% to a fall of 3.4%.

In March the following second revisions were made: Perth (+0.9%, revised from +0.7%), Canberra (+0.7%, revised from +0.3%), Melbourne (-1.1%, revised from -1.3%), Adelaide (-0.9%, revised from -1.2%), Hobart (-2.9%, revised from -2.0%).

Property Recovery still well underway

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Well, that was quick, wasn't it? Almost before it got started, the real estate recovery is over. Dead. Finito. No more recovery.

It echoes the mining boom. That's finished, too. The $300 million in resources developments under way are a figment of someone's imagination.

Just as the rise in lending for home purchases, with first-home buyer loans up 18% on last year, must be a mirage. The significant rises in residential rents in multiple locations I read about must have been a misprint. The improvement in clearance rates was clearly a dream and the gradual improvement in city prices from other sources a fabrication.

None of that counts because one month's figures from one careless research source found a small decline. On that flimsy basis, media organisations around the nation declared the market recovery over. Not a hiccup or a blip, but dead and buried.

AAP declared that the market had dropped because the impact of interest rate cuts had ended. This was roughly four weeks after the October reduction by the Reserve Bank and two to three weeks after the response of most lenders. I'm sure RBA board members would fascinated to learn that the impact of its rates decisions lasts only a matter of days.

There were many similar stories. The journalists who wrote those articles and keyed in those headlines should be ashamed, but I'm sure they're not. It would require a concern for accuracy, fairness and balance – a basic sense of professional decency – to have any remorse over a presentation of news that made a mockery of analysis and added to the great overwhelming pile of misinformation that's afflicting real estate consumers.

Why happens if the next month's figures come out and show a small rise in property prices? What stunningly inappropriate headlines will accompany that news? "Market in miracle rebound"? "Skyrocketing prices defy downturn."? "Economists warn of price bubble"? "US analyst predicts price crash"? "Sub-editor's brain explodes trying to dream up new superlative"?

Anyone who's been around real estate longer than five minutes knows sales data is never smooth or consistent. It's common to access data from four different sources about one location and get four conflicting answers.

One month's data from one source is meaningless.

To place such a categorical conclusion on a single month's figures from just one source - particularly a source that's so desperate to get into print that it's become careless – is irresponsible.

It's the reason newspapers are dying a long, slow, agonising death. Low standards, inexpert writers, cheap sensationalism.

Sadly, some of the new forms of media present as little better.

What's really happening in capital city markets? Nothing much has changed – there is a gradual, almost grudging, recovery underway in most cities, an event supported by most of the data coming in from multiple sources.

The markets in Perth and Darwin are rising strongly and investors thinking of buying need to get busy. Sydney and Brisbane are also trending in the right direction. Adelaide, Canberra and Melbourne are still patchy, with conflicting data from various research sources.

Outside the big cities many regional centres have had strong markets for some time, headed by Gladstone, Mackay and Emerald in Queensland.

The general trend is a return to growth, though moderate in most cases, notwithstanding one dodgy set of figures.

Terry Ryder is the founder of hotspotting.com.au and can be followed on Twitter.

Should you Invest in Property or Shares?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Shares or property?

Ahh, that old chestnut…  It’s a question that is often asked.  What performs better?  Shares or property?

On a capital appreciation measure over the past decade, the past half-decade, and over the past three years, residential property has well and truly outperformed shares.  Over the most recent 12-month period shares have outperformed the housing market.

It’s important to note that the share market has shown periods where capital gains have been substantially higher than what has been achieved in the housing market.   As can be seen in the ‘rolling annual change’ graph below, the annual growth rate in the ASX 200 has been has high as 39% over a 12-month period (the year ending February 2010); share prices have also fallen by more than 40% in the space of a year, which is what happened during the GFC (the ASX 200 fell by 42.7% over the year ending November 2008).

Capital city dwelling values haven’t shown anywhere near the same level of volatility.  The largest rise over any 12-month period, based on the RP Data-Rismark eight city aggregate index, was 21% over the year to May 2002, and the biggest fall was recorded just recently when dwelling values fell 5.3% over the year to May 2012.

While the volatility of the share markets may appeal to some, it is the stability and resilience of residential housing that is likely to be one of the key reasons why investing in the housing market is a popular choice for mum and dad investors.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Tim Lawless is national research director of RP Data.

Mining Boom to continue in 2014

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

By Larry Schlesinger
Monday, 12 November 2012

Australia's mining-led construction boom will peak in 2014 with the value of planned projects already starting to contract, according to the Deloitte Access Economics September quarter Investment Monitor.

Deloitte Access Economics expects investment levels to continue to rise in the short term and then peak in 2014 as fewer projects move through planning to the construction phase.

It notes that investment in mining projects has been the “major driver of economic growth” but says that “all good things must come to an end”.

Mining investment projects currently account for nearly half (46%) of all major construction projects  either under construction or mooted, with transport and storage infrastructure projects (many tied to mining projects) making up nearly a third (31%).

The report finds that the value of planned projects has fallen back slightly over the past three months by $10.6 billion to $465 billion due to a lack of new resources projects, and some project cancellations, including BHP Billiton’s $20 billion Olympic Dam mine expansion project near Roxby Downs, as well as the delaying of the Port Hedland outer-harbour port expansion project in the Pilbara region in WA.

“While the bulk of other resources projects in planning are still on the agenda, there are question marks over the scale of some potential projects, such as Fortescue’s $6.2 billion Solomon mine expansion and [Gina Rinehart’s] Hancock Prospecting’s $9.5 billion Roy Hill project," says Deloite Access Economics.

Question marks also hang over Xstrata’s possible $6 billion Wandoan coal mine in Queensland, which has been placed on hold until market conditions improve, while BHP Billiton’s plans for a $3 billion expansion of the Peak Downs coking coal prospect have been shelved.

The Investment Monitor, which tallies all private and public engineering construction, non-residential building and equipment investment projects in all Australian industries, found the value of projects increased by $6.2 billion, or 0.7% from the June quarter, and has increased by 3.7% over the past year.

As the chart below shows, the mining boom accelerated from March 2011, but has slow-down since the start of the year.

Value of definite projects by status ($billion)

Click to enlarge

Property Investment and the mining boom

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Australian mining project investment to peak in 2014: ANZ

By Larry Schlesinger
Monday, 13 August 2012

ANZ forecasts mining projects to peak at around $37 billion in 2014 in its August Major Projects report.

Mining sector investment

Click to enlarge

Source: ANZ

Overall the bank expects infrastructure project investment to peak earlier in 2013 under revised projections, but to a higher peak.

"This largely reflects improved estimates of the timing of expected capital expenditure across years for the major LNG [liquefied natural gas] and coal projects," says ANZ.

Click to enlarge

Source: ANZ

ANZ says the majority of infrastructure investment will be concentrated in the mining and energy sectors, with the investment pipeline across these two sectors totalling $380 billion between 2012 and 2016.

Given the concentration of investment in the mining and resource sectors and related infrastructure (i.e. ports,railways and harbours), the resource-rich states of Western Australia, Queensland and Northern Territory will receive the lion’s share – around 75%, or $450 billion – of the total investment expected over this time frame.

Click to enlarge

Source: ANZ

WA and Queensland Property Investment

Thursday, October 04, 2012

WA and Queensland housing markets to get demographic boost, but four years of cloudy skies for Victoria: BIS Shrapnel

By Larry Schlesinger
Friday, 14 September 2012

Immigration trends, vacancy rates, housing undersupply and employment prospects all favour Queensland and Western Australia to lead the next phase of housing market growth over the next two to three years, according to BIS Shrapnel.

But the stars are not lining up in Victoria, with BIS Shrapnel’s team of forecasters and economists tipping up to four years of pain and downturn for its economy and housing markets.

“There is a lot of pain to come for Victoria, and there is a danger of the state going into a longer downward cycle,” warns BIS Shrapnel managing director Roger Mellor.

The pessimistic outlook for Victoria was repeated by BIS Shrapnel chief economist Frank Gelber, who apologised for such a dark outlook for the state given his comments were made in Melbourne in front of Victorian building industry participants.

“The weakness we have seen in Melbourne so far is only just the beginning,” he says.

Gelber is also critical of the Victorian state government for pulling back on infrastructure investment and stimulus measures, including ending the $13,000 first-home bonus at the end of June.

The Queensland state government is also reining in spending and culling its civil service, but the state has the benefit of the mining boom and is also supporting new housing construction through the just-introduced $15,000 first-home owner construction grant.

Taking a look a recent immigration data, Angie Zigomanis, senior manager at BIS Shrapnel, says there is already evidence of a pick-up in overseas migration – not to the 2009-10 high of nearly 300,000, but expected to reach around 250,000 people by 2013-14. A drop in overseas student numbers due to the high Australian dollar will prevent migration reaching previous highs, he says.

“Of this increase, WA and Queensland are expected to see the biggest improvement as their economies post some of the strongest growth and also attract strong numbers of interstate migration,” says Zigomanis.

WA in particular is picking up a great share of new overseas arrivals – 20% currently, compared with a long-run historical average of 13%, according to ABS figures.

The rise in immigration will cause population growth to pick up from around 1.34% in 2010-11 to reach 1.73% in 2013-14, with proportionally greater shares of growth in WA and Queensland, says BIS Shrapnel.

Both these states, along with NSW, also have significant dwelling stock deficiencies, while Victoria has been building too many new apartments and houses.

 

Dwelling stock deficiency as at June of year (- indicates oversupply)

 

2011

2012 estimate

2013 forecast

2014 forecast

NSW

28,900 units

38,600 units

49,400 units

52,800 units

Victoria

4,700 units

-6,600 units

-12,700 units

-15,000 units

Queensland

4,900 units

14,900 units

29,900 units

45,400 units

South Australia

-2,100 units

-2,400 units

-1,500 units

-100 units

WA

2,300 units

16,900 units

33,800 units

46,000 units

Tasmania

-1,900 units

-3,100 units

-4,000 units

-4,100 units

NT

300 units

500 units

1,100 units

1,700 units

ACT

0 units

-1,200 units

-2,300 units

-3,200 units

Australia

37,200 units

57,500 units

93,700 units

123,500 units

Source BIS Shrapnel andABS

BIS Shrapnel forecasts a 15,000 dwelling unit oversupply in Melbourne by the 2014 financial year, but in contrast a 52,800-dwelling undersupply in NSW, an undersupplyof 45,400  in Queensland and an undersupply of 46,000 in WA.

Also in WA and Queenslands' favour are relatively more affordable capital city housing markets and tightening rental markets. In Melbourne vacancies are rising, while median house and unit prices remain elevated.

"In a suburb like Morley, about nine kilometres north of Perth, the vacancy rate is 0.48%. People have to camp outside a property overnight with the hope of a getting a foot in the door,” says Zigomanis.

Also in Queensland and WA’s favour are strong jobs markets supported by the mining boom and businesses that service this sector – while Victoria has relatively little exposure to the resources boom.

The bottom line is that NSW and the mining states are at different stages of the property cycle than Victoria.

“Victoria and some of the smaller states and territories have supported residential building activity in recent years,” says BIS Shrapnel in its September 2012 residential property report.

“We are now starting to see the situation reversed as their economies slow and recent high levels of construction have created emerging oversupplies in those markets.

“On the other hand NSW and the mining states are coming off relatively low levels of residential building and their economies are set to show strong growth over [the next two-year] forecast period.

“With the demographic need for dwellings expected to pick up in line with stronger population growth in these states, significant stock deficiencies are beginning to emerge, particularly in Sydney.

“This will help drive an upturn in residential building  in these states over the forecast period, which will outweigh the falls experienced in the other states and territories.”

Property Investors prefer to Invest in Houses than Units

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Units more affordable, but buyers still attracted to detatched houses

By Cameron Kusher
Wednesday, 03 October 2012

With buyers looking for affordable housing alternatives, it would be expected that the number of transactions for units would be increasing. However, that hasn’t been the case in recent times.

Even with a current national median house price of $415,000 nationally and $390,000 for units, it is clear many buyers will have some difficulty entering into home ownership.

Although today’s RP Data analysis shows that at a national level the median unit price is just $25,000 cheaper than the median house price, across the combined capital cities units are $53,000 more affordable.

Across individual capital city markets, the difference in the selling price for houses and units range from $48,000 in Melbourne to $110,000 in Sydney and Canberra. Given the significant difference in the prices of houses and units in Sydney and Canberra, it is no surprise these cities have recorded the greatest proportion of unit sales over the past year of all capital cities at 42.5% and 42.8% respectively.

The analysis also highlights the difference between median house and unit selling prices at a capital city and national level over time. The data confirms that median unit prices were consistently higher than median house prices from mid-1996 to early 2003 at a capital city level, and up until mid-2004 at a national level.

Click to enlarge

This result is partly a function of the cost of housing being significantly lower at this time but is also because units were more abundant in inner city areas and attracted premiums because of this convenience.

Click to enlarge

Over recent years, the gap between house and unit prices has increased significantly, with the difference reaching as much as $76,000 across the combined capital cities and $35,000 across the nation.

Property Investment and the Mining Boom

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Decrying the end to the mining boom hysteria: Simon Pressley

By Simon Pressley
Friday, 03 August 2012

Widespread media reporting earlier this week suggested that Australia’s mining boom was near its end. Radio broadcasts, tabloids, even Channel 10’s The Project – they all lead with headlines claiming that our mining boom would end in two years.

Had the reporting stemmed from an article written by some random journo I would have given it the usual through-to-the-keeper treatment. To hear that credible economics advisory firm, Deloitte Access Economics, was the apparent source of these statements almost made me choke on my morning coffee. The copious amount of reports and articles that I’ve read over the last few years must be written in a language that I don’t understand.

I’ve been on record describing this not as a “mining boom” but a “resources revolution”. Suddenly, I’m hearing that the large volumes of natural resources which are responsible for powering up so many electricity sockets around the world, not to mention Australia’s own economy, is about to come to a grinding halt. Is someone going to turn the lights off?

From dirt to dollars

A number of the locations which we’ve been buying investment properties in over the last couple of years have benefitted from the economic stimulus from the mining sector. That said, they have all been strategically selected locations with a stable population base, a diverse mix of industries that contribute to the local economy, an abundance of employment opportunities, and demand for accommodation which is not matched by comparable supply.

Suggestions that the mining boom will end in 2014-2015 is misleading. But hey, it makes a good headline so the media will always milk that for what they can.

What is true is that the timeline for completing construction of much of the $240 billion in fully approved major projects is around 2014-2015. What is also true is that there are a number of factors which are deterring large resource companies (especially foreign companies) from investing in additional major projects. I also think policymakers need to be more proactive in developing other buoyant industries.

What has been overlooked by the doomsayers however is what happens when construction of these projects is finished – they are built for a purpose not for practice!

It’s not until key infrastructure such as processing plants, ports, pipelines and railways are constructed that those valuable resources below the dirt can be converted to dollars. That’s when commodities such as coal, gas and iron-ore are processed and exported to the likes of China, India, Japan, South Korea and France. That’s when our governments start to receive billions of dollars in extra revenue each year in the form of royalties. That’s when some of Australia’s biggest companies expect to return bigger profits, which will affect retail superannuation holdings. That’s when consumers will start seeing some of the fortunes promised by Treasurer Wayne Swan – tax cuts, increased superannuation contributions and infrastructure projects. Supply contracts which underwrite these royalties are on terms of up to 20 years.

Suddenly, now that (alleged) end to the mining boom has quite a wag in its tail. Mining doesn’t stop when construction finishes – it starts! The proponents need to get a return on their investment.

To suggest that the mining boom is near an end is admission of shortsightedness. Disregard the doomsayers for a minute and think about this logically. In Australia and around the world, are we likely to continue to breed, thereby resulting in continued population growth? In Australia and around the world, are we likely to continue to manufacture, produce, process and construct? If the answer to both these questions is “yes” then in Australia and around the world we will need more fuel for electricity and steel. If the answer is “no” then we all better stock up on candles.

Australia has some of the biggest reserves in the world of thermal coal and gas (both used in power generation) and iron-ore and coking coal (both used to produce steel). With the world’s pledge to reduce pollution the demand for gas-powered electricity will continue to skyrocket.

A majority of Australia’s natural resources are contained in Western Australia and Queensland. Consequently, the economic fundamentals of these states are the best in the country. And, many of the best property investment opportunities are also in these states.

It’s called the Asian “century” for a reason

Over this last decade the world has become acutely aware of the abundance of natural resources contained within Australian soils. Over the same decade most of Asia (home to 60% of the world’s population) has entered an era of mass urbanisation; an era which is expected to last so long that it is referred to it as “The Asian century” by people, including our very own Prime Minister.

Asia’s demand for natural resources is propelled by its enormous population, its ambition to transverse from an undeveloped to a developed region, and considerable financial capacity to support this.

Forecasts are for Asia’s middle class to explode from approximately 0.5 billion people to 1.7 billion over the next decade. Australia’s total population is only 22 million.

These changes in Asia are structural, they are real, and they will be long lasting. These changes have already altered the landscape for Australian property markets. To explain these changes we have produced a short educational video.

To suggest that the mining boom is near an end is an omission of the important role which Australia will play in “the Asian century”.

There will always be demand for Australia’s resources. In addition to the $240 billion in approved projects there is a similar value in proposed projects. Future project volumes will ebb and flow depending upon the economic and political climate at the time.

The biggest challenges stopping Australia from realising greater potential from additional resource projects include heavy taxes imposed on the mining industry and the lack of confidence/certainty that foreign investors have in our government. The inability of governments to contribute their own funding to some of the infrastructure required (ports, roads, rail lines), the cost and availability of skilled labour, and lost productivity due to industrial relations unrest are also inhibitors.

The opportunities to Australia from “the Asian century” extend well beyond the mining sector. As featured in our video, there are opportunities for agriculture, education, health and tourism.

Glass half full

As a nation, we need to stop moaning and start embracing the opportunities. It’s been four years since the onset of the GFC. Australia’s economy has been strong throughout, yet we persist with paranoia about Europe. Asia continues to boom, yet we continue to worry how long it will last. And the opportunities for our mining sector are enormous, yet we’re trying to predict how long it will last.

Those of us who naturally have aspirations for success look at problems and see solutions. Those of us who are naturally positive people don’t sit idle because of perceived risks; we look to mitigate and maximise opportunities. And those of us looking for confirmation don’t look towards governments or the media; we look at industry leaders and achievers.

For reassurance we should listen to people like Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens who recently said: “Most Australians I encounter who return from overseas remark how good it is to be living and working here. We are indeed ‘lucky’ in so many ways, relative economic stability being only one of them.”

For direction we should follow the doers not the doubters. People like James Packer (entertainment and tourism), Gerry Harvey (retail) and Andrew Forrest (mining).

Leadership from government and business is integral to Australia cashing in on the Asian century. Regrettably, we shouldn’t hold our breath while waiting for this to occur.

Some friendly advice for those of us who are serious about goals and aspirations – focus on the opportunities, tell those around you to stop arguing about how to fix the problems, and remind the doomsayers to stock up on those candles before the lights go out.

Simon Pressley

Economic indicators for Property Investment are strong

Thursday, October 04, 2012

According to RP Data, with the exception of economic conditions, most ‘Spring selling season’ indicators for the residential market are stronger compared to this time last year.

Cameron Kusher, RP Data research analyst, says the lead-up to the residential Spring selling season is looking more positive, when compared to the same time last year.

However, Kusher says, the question is whether or not momentum will continue throughout the traditional selling season.

“In Spring we begin to see uplift in listings activity with more properties available for sale and subsequently an increase in auction activity. Spring also sees an improvement in the number of property sales, especially following winter, which is usually a slow period for the housing market,” Kusher says.

“Spring 2011 delivered somewhat of a disappointing selling season with sales volumes across the combined capital cities down by 3 percent, lower than they were in the Spring of 2010 and with no noticeable improvement from volumes in Autumn. The amount of stock available for sale during this period was continually increasing throughout the period to historic high levels and home values were falling across each capital city market,” he says.

According to RP Data, with the exception of economic conditions, most indicators are stronger compared with this time last year.

“Overall, we’ve seen some positive movements for home values with new stock being added to the market lower and each of the vendor metrics (selling time, vendor discounting and auction clearance rates) all showing an improvement,” Kusher says.

Despite a more positive trend for many indicators, when compared with those of 2011 , a comparison with the longer-term trend shows many of these indicators are moving off a low base.

“Overall, the data indicates that generally the housing market is now in a stronger position than it was 12 months ago. Considering this, the Spring selling season should be stronger this year than it was last year. However, in comparison to recent years we would not expect the housing market to power along through Spring in the manner that it has previously,” Kusher says.

Why Australia's resources boom – and property investment opportunities in resources areas – are nowhere near over

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Why Australia's resources boom – and property investment opportunities in resources areas – are nowhere near over: Terry Ryder

 

By Terry Ryder 
Wednesday, 08 August 2012

Three things are fundamentally wrong with the idea that the resources boom will end soon. 

One is the notion that the party stops when the construction of a mine or processing facility is completed – when, in reality, that’s when it begins. 

Another is the false premise that few new projects will be constructed beyond 2014, a claim that suggests people haven’t done their homework before indulging their addiction to media profile. 

And a third is a misunderstanding of the processes under way in China, India and other nations undergoing industrialisation and urbanisation. 

That misunderstanding has lead many to describe what’s happening in the resources sector as a “boom”. That’s a misnomer because a boom is a short sharp rise followed by rapid decline. 

The demand for Australian resources results from significant structural change in the world economy, inspired in part by the emergence of new economic power nations which are seeking to lift the living standards of very large populations. 

This is not a process to be measured in years. It will extend over decades. Property analyst Simon Pressley, recently named Australia’s Buyers’ Agent of the Year, calls it the “resources revolution”. 

High ongoing demand for our resources will continue beyond my lifetime, notwithstanding the likelihood of a few jitters along the way. Australia is going to play a primary role in servicing global demand for ore, coal and gas. 

The belief that the “boom” ends when construction of new mines and processing plants is completed is just bizarre. As Pressley pointed out in one of his Propertyology reports recently, this in fact is when it begins. 

Australia currently has massive new projects under construction, with iron ore projects, coal mines and gas processing hubs, along with associated infrastructure like export facilities and rail links. But the nation doesn’t earn any export dollars until these projects are completed. 

It’s only when they start shipping ore and coal and liquefied natural gas (LNG) that the dollars start to flow. And all the mega projects have proceeded with all or most of their future production under forward sales contracts. 

The third fault line running through the “the boom is ending” argument is the erroneous notion that nothing will happen in Australia once the current crop of projects is completed. The proponents of this idea need to catch up on their reading – or get out of their offices and visit a few coalfaces. 

Most of the big resources projects around Australia are yet to start construction or are just starting to crank up building work. There is so much more to come. 

There have been dozens of major announcements over the past month or so, coinciding with those silly predictions that it’s all grinding to a halt. Here are just some of those relating to Queensland alone: 

Queensland coal production is expected to more than double in the next eight years. In the same period Australia is expected to become the world's largest gas exporter. A report from the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics says Australia's LNG exports could grow to 106 million tonnes by 2020. The report's long-term projections also suggest big increases in exports of thermal coal and metallurgical coal. 

The $23 billion Australia Pacific LNG project based in Gladstone is to be expanded. Origin Energy, ConocoPhillips and Sinopec have decided to add a second stage, having secured a 20-year supply contract with Japanese power company Kansai. 

A coal seam gas (CSG) project in central Queensland is a step closer towards production, with the state government issuing terms of reference for an environmental impact statement. Arrow Energy's Bowen Gas Project is one of two CSG developments that will form part of the company's LNG project. Arrow will develop up to 7,000 gas wells over the next 40 years, each with a lifespan of 15 to 20 years. CSG will be transported from the Surat and Bowen basins to be liquefied at an LNG plant at Gladstone.

The $1.1 billion Fisherman's Landing LNG project in central Queensland is going ahead, after Melbourne-based Molopo sold its Queensland CSG assets to PetroChina. The Chinese group will now begin talks with LNG Limited, which is behind an LNG plant at Gladstone, over a tolling agreement for gas from the Molopo acreage to be processed to be in the plant. Fisherman's Landing is the smallest of the five LNG plants under construction or planned for development around Gladstone.

Yarwun 2, the $2.4 billion expansion of Rio Tinto Alcan's Yarwun Alumina refinery, passed a major landmark recently when the first bauxite was fed into the new facility and Yarwun 2 began producing alumina. Eventually the plant will produce 3.4 million tonnes each year, compared with the current capacity of 1.4 million.

Xstrata has agreed to a $110 million pre-commitment for an expansion of the $2.5 billion Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal at Gladstone, boosting the chances that the expanded port and the associated $1 billion Surat Basin rail project will begin exporting by 2016.

Stanmore Coal will bring 750 jobs to the Toowoomba and Surat Basin regions when it develops a Wandoan mine worth $380 million. Construction will begin in early 2014. The environmental impact statement for the mine says it could be operating and exporting before the end of 2015. 

Mt Isa City Council has started the process to freeing up land for developers to build a new suburb of about 400 homes. The council feels the expansion of the resources sector in the area makes existing housing supply insufficient to meet coming demand. 

We’ve also had major announcement of developments in Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and the Northern Territory. Space doesn’t allow me to list them all.


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