Blackwater’s Dave Hills stands next to the Alpha residential lot he offered $75,000 for. He believes the Galilee Basin is set to take off.
Blackwater’s Dave Hills stands next to the Alpha residential lot he offered $75,000 for. He believes the Galilee Basin is set to take off. Simon Green

Investors set sights on Alpha

ACCORDING to Blackwater business owner Dave Hills, Alpha is the place to invest.

Recent State Government figures showed residential land prices in the central-west town had risen 2979% since 2007, suggesting Mr Hills was not the only one interested in getting a piece of the Alpha pie.

In dollar terms - the average value of residential land in Alpha increased from $2926 to $90,106 in just three years.

Ten new Alpha residential lots, with Barcaldine Regional Council as tender, recently went to auction to a crowd of more than 20 bidders, two represented by phone.

Seven of the lots sold for more than the $80,000 reserve, with the remaining three fetching $75,000 offers.

The auction took place almost a year to the day to a similar one held by council, that has another 10 lots under its belt, at which the average sale sat at a staggering $110,000.

Belyando Livestock and Property director Ed Wood said it was easy to understand the interest shown in Alpha, citing the four major Galilee Basin coal projects in the works that surround the town.

“If it was just the one mine going up, then it might be a different situation,” Mr Wood said.

“But the fact is there are four massive projects being set up in the Galilee and that gives an element of certainty to growth in the region.

“It is not a skeleton anymore, the other projects have provided the flesh and organs and the market looks strong.”

Mr Wood facilitated the latest auction, at which Mr Hills made a $75,000 bid for the second of 10 lots on offer. If Mr Hills purchases the property, it is likely he will have to offer the extra $5000 to make the reserve price.

“I think it will be another two to three years before there is any big movement in the area, but it will come, and it will last a long time. It is all a matter of investing at the right time,” Mr Hills said.

“From a buyer’s perspective, it is a great time. Things are starting to bubble again and interest is hotting up,” Mr Woods added.

The strength in the Alpha market coincides with concerns raised about Hancock Coal’s future in the area, with reports the mining conglomerate was possibly selling up. But these reports have been played down by Hancock Prospecting chairman Gina Rinehart, who said “despite various media speculation, the Hancock companies will continue to hold equity in our major Queensland coal projects”.

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