Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but there are just some things in life you can’t anticipate. Like the critically acclaimed Police Academy – who would’ve thought its sequels would fail to redefine cinematic brilliance to the same extent? Property is similar, albeit with less slapstick, in its ability to produce some truly “who knew?” moments.
BY SHANNON MOLLOY
The well-rounded and charming fellow whose words you read today was shaped in Queensland towns like Yeppoon, Rockhampton and Mackay. They were typically regional – relatively small, a bit out of the way and easy to forget.
Southern folk didn’t exactly plan a getaway to Rocky, despite the dozens of bull statues around town. Yeppoon was the epitome of quaint – if someone new moved to the area, we knew about it. The excitement was rivaled only by the arrival of a new fast food outlet. Or a set of traffic lights. Pandemonium. And Mackay? Cane – lots and lots of cane.
When it comes to real estate, there was no such thing as turning a quick buck. These locations were hardly the focus of big-time investors. You bought a property to live in and never expected to flog it off a year or two later for a profit.
Oh, how things have changed. The flow-on effect of the resources boom is seeing these towns rise to the top of the “hot” list. Mackay is close enough to major mining projects, Rocky is now home to new service industries and Yeppoon is where the fly-in, fly-out workers want to live.
Who knew? If I had, I might’ve snapped up a couple of those houses on massive blocks that went for $100,000 a few years back.
Some spots you can pick, like inner-city suburbs undergoing urban renewal or small towns with new booming industry, while others floor you. Gladstone – most people saw that coming, thanks to an explosion of liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects and thousands of new workers to house.
Then there are accidental hotspots like Hervey Bay and Bundaberg. It seems a flood of former Gladstone locals, escaping the sky high rents and rising cost of living, are staging an exodus. The rush is seeing supply tighten and prices are starting to rise.
Every investor wants to get in before the rise begins and get out at the peak. In most cases, the writing could be on the wall – you just need to know what to look for.
Helen Collier-Kogtevs of Real Wealth Australia says it takes some research to pick which spots are on the cusp of being hot. If you’re chasing the next big thing, here’s what you should keep watch for:
• Infrastructure projects – big ticket investments that provide new jobs and increase the local population, therefore growing the demand for housing.
• Civic projects – local councils with a big agenda, like roads, bridges and public transport projects. With a bit of research, you should be able to identify which councils like building things.
• Neighbours – take a look at what’s over the fence. If there’s a place that’s already hot, could it have a ripple effect on surrounding areas?
Have you successfully picked a hotspot before it heated up? Are there boom spots that took you by surprise?
Shannon Molloy is the deputy editor of Australian Property Investor magazine, www.apimagazine.com.au