ADANI BOOM: Is now the time to buy in Bowen?
WITH the green light given to the Adani coal mine project, many in the Whitsunday region - and across Australia - are looking to Bowen as a potential location for property investors.
However, residents and investors alike are being warned by experts to not believe the hype in regards to an 'Adani boom' in the local property market.
With its close proximity to Abbot Point Operations, the export port for the coal mined from the Adani Carmichael site, Bowen has been projected by some property analysts to experience an increase in the amount of interest in both rentals and property purchase, with some saying that they are on the cusp of a 'housing boom'.
But local real estate agents have said that the noise is not to be believed, and any price changes in the property market are set to be far in the future.
LJ Hooker Bowen owner Tony Doyle said that the belief that the market was going to skyrocket "would only be more damage than good" when it came to local property.
"We've got people in Bowen thinking that their houses are going to jump and we've been inundated with people calling about buying in the area after the Adani approval, and that's just not true," Mr Doyle said.
"There's a lot of information floating around about the market up here, and whether we're on the cusp of a boom, and if anything that's harming the market.
"The reality is that people need to see a return on their investment, and with the uncertainty around jobs from the mine, and with our economic link to it being the port, there's no telling how much that this will give back to the local market at the moment."
Research from the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) shows that the median sale price in Bowen has dropped 28.6 percent in the last five years to $255,000.
However, a REIQ spokeswoman said that the news about the green light approval for Adani should restore confidence in the regional housing market.
"Jobs will drive demand for housing in the Townsville and Mackay regions, with both being named FIFO bases for the new Adani mine project and this will likely stimulate median house price growth," the spokeswoman said.
"More generally, we are optimistic that the additional jobs being created by a recovering resources sector will stimulate demand for housing throughout regional Queensland.
"In the 12 months to March 2019, the Bowen median house price has grown a significant 4.1 per cent, to $255,000. While the median price is still almost 30 per cent below the level five years ago, we are optimistic that a recovery has begun.
It is a renewed sense of confidence in the area that Professionals Real Estate Bowen partner Brian Sellars said would be the main takeaway from the approval of the mine.
"There have been some enquiries that have been motivated by the Adani approval, but there hasn't been heaps," Mr Sellars said.
"People still have to see the return on the investment.
"The best way to explain the mines approval for the local market is that there has been a confident, positive shift in the psychology of the town, which will create a more favourable state of mind.
"We do expect to see some change, but we wouldn't expect to see anything for at least 18 months to 2 years."
Mr Sellars said there were more than 220 local dwellings that would need to be absorbed before any shift in the market.
CoreLogic senior research analyst Cameron Kusher echoed that properties would need to be absorbed before any shift in the market, adding it was hard to say what the approval of the mine would mean for the surrounding regions because there was still a lot of contention around how many local jobs would be created.
"If you assume job creation is significant, it will increase demand for housing both from a purchase and rental perspective," Mr Kusher said.
"The challenge will be that since the end of the mining boom these areas have seen very low demand for housing so, if demand exceeds supply you would expect rents and prices to increase, however, I can't say with any confidence whether that will or won't be the case.
REIQ said that broadening the first home owners grant would assist areas like Bowen in recovering their local property market.
"The First Home Buyers Grant offers $15,000 to first home buyers if they build a new home and is only serving to add supply to stock levels in areas like Bowen that don't need more supply," a REIQ spokeswoman said.
"Broadening the grant to help regional Queenslanders get their foot on the property ladder with an established home will help areas like Bowen."