Optimism springs in property market
AN increased optimism in the real estate market has begun to blossom as a spring-time growth in property confidence offers a cautiously positive prediction for the region.
Wendy Thornberry, director of Elders Real Estate in Emerald, said there was heightened optimism in the current property market and "the more there's optimism in the market, it gives some optimism back into the community".
Ms Thornberry also praised the recent State Government decision to end the FIFO arrangements and help protect job seekers in rural towns by prohibiting the policy to fly in workers from elsewhere.
She said the FIFO decision had been detrimental for families and "should never have never been allowed to happen in the first place".
Ms Thornberry blamed FIFO for "starting the fall of the property market" and said it was not just the property market that had suffered, but the entire community.
"For a community to get strong, you need to have people living and breathing it and having a vested interest in it.
"We've got a lot to offer here, and I think people are realising that too."
Ms Thornberry said she believed there was now a renewed and gradually increasing air of positivity.
"I can only go by the people we deal with, but we have got 650 rentals so we deal with a lot of people, and everyone is quite positive now.
"Some locals are also getting back into the higher end of the market, which is a confidence-booster for other people too - just to know there's properties in town worth that much money.
"If people really sit down and look at what they can rent and buy, compared to in the cities, you're far better off being in Emerald."
There has been an influx of rental properties coming on to the market for the start of spring, Ms Thornberry said, and fewer mortgagee sales which was "a good thing for the market".
She said rent was not going down, but was maintaining its current rate or increasing slightly.
"Since February, we've been renting anywhere between 20-40 properties, an average of 30 a month, which is more than what has been normal over the last 12 months.
"There is also an increase in single people and families coming to town which is excellent."
Joy Fernie, principal of Joy Fernie Real Estate in Blackwater, reaffirmed the positive stance, and said she's hoping the region has hit as low as it would go, making it a great time to invest in the future.
"There is no crystal ball but the future is appearing to be more positive."
Ms Fernie said she also applauded the FIFO ban as it gave people a choice about where they could live.
She said a few houses have been selling to investors, but most people choosing to buy into the property market were wanting to own their homes rather than rent. "This has come about due to price affordability," she said.
"It does, however, take patience to save up a deposit due to the expense of today's living, but it's so worthwhile."
Ray White Emerald Principal Paul Muldrew said he believed the market was beginning to experience a "slight improvement" which was good, and should start driving prices back up.
"I think things have finally reached the bottom of the market," he said.
Mr Muldrew said the FIFO outcome was "great" and affected the whole town, including the property market.
He said it was too early to tell how significant the effects of the FIFO decision would be for the property landscape, but "hopefully it will bring new people town".
"Emerald is a good base and it's a god hub with lots to offer in the way of schooling, recreation and sporting opportunities."
Mr Muldrew said this was an ideal time to purchase a property in Emerald, and he was noticing a shortage in properties under the $250,000/$300,000 level.
"We are seeing a little bit of investor activity in the commercial and industrial sectors and a lot of that's driven by rental return."
He recommended that if people were looking to purchase, they made arrangements with their financial institution first so they could be in a position to act quickly and not miss out and face disappointment.
Meanwhile, low and middle income earners can apply for affordable rental properties in Moranbah and Dysart, with the establishment of the Isaac Affordable Housing Trust (IAHT).
IAHT Board Committee Chair, Mayor Anne Baker, said there were modern two-bedroom town houses on offer.
"We want to make it more attractive and affordable for workers and families to live in our vibrant communities," Cr Baker said.
"Applicants will be assessed under the Isaac Rental Affordability Scheme (IRAS) and the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS).
She said this would mean more singles, couples and families could apply for affordable housing.