Article By Julien Mougenot
Thursday, September 5, 2019

A Clear Win for TUDI

56% growth in 16 months. This is not a typo. In our own test case using the insights from our algorithm, and using our own cash. Purchased in September, 2017, five months later the suburb (Moranbah) was featured in the AFR as one of Australia’s fastest booming communities. With the algorithm now alerting us to sell, the bank valuation came back at $327,000 versus a purchase price of $210,000.

Queensland mining towns reaping the benefits of coal price surge

By Mark Ludlow
Feb 13 2018

Re-published from

Moranbah – the mining town in Central Queensland at the heart of the last mining boom – is making a comeback.

While southern investors lost a truckload of money in the town when the bottom fell out of the property market after the end of the boom, the upturn in the coal price and renewed activity in the resources sector has seen property prices in Moranbah surge 22 per cent in the past 12 months.

But in 2018 it’s mostly locals buying into the market, trying to gain a foothold before the next boom gains traction.

The median value of a house in Moranbah in December last year was $215,083, according to figures from CoreLogic. This is less than half of the median value from 2012 ($566,963), but the 92 houses sold in the same month show the market is starting to move again.

The “high-vis” brigade is returning to the Bowen Basin. Glenn Hunt In the wider Isaac Regional Council region – which includes other mining towns such as Dysart, Claremont, Nebo and Coppabella – there was more modest growth of 6.8 per cent to a median value of $221,677.

‘Growth we can handle’
Locals in the Bowen Basin are quick to talk down another coal boom, but say the burst of activity has been welcomed in a region that had been hanging its economic recovery on Adani’s controversial $16.5 billion Carmichael coal mine, a few hundred kilometres to the west.

“The downturn is well and truly finished and we are back on track,” Mackay Regional Council Mayor Greg Williamson told The Australian Financial Review.

“This is a community which has seen it all before, albeit the last boom which was unbelievably high which made the drop off more painful. But we have recovered now. This is growth we can handle. The big dollars are still being paid in the mines but it’s nowhere near like it was.”

Mr Williams said Mackay – which serves as a mining services town for the Bowen and Surat Basins – was experiencing a surge in economic activity as mining companies increased production and hired more workers.

Moranbah real estate agent Bella Exposito said while house prices were moving in the right direction in the mining town, 210 kilometres south-west of Mackay, no one was getting too excited. She is selling only about three houses a month, when during the height of the last boom she could clear 10 houses a week.

“There is definitely more action in town, you can see that driving from Mackay to Moranbah,” Ms Exposito said.

“But the prices are still on the low side. It is coming back again but never to what it was because we still have lots of supply.”

Whereas Ms Exposito was swamped by southern investors in 2011 wanting to invest in Moranbah, she said she had received only one call from a potential investor in the past 12 months. The buyers snapping up bargains in the current market are young locals moving back to the region to gain a foothold in the market.

“It’s not investor purchasing, it’s the local community coming back. They are probably worried that when it booms again [they won’t be able to afford it] but it will never be the same as 2011,” she said.

Rental vacancies down
The economic pain of the last mining boom was still being felt, according to Ms Exposito, with an auction from a bank repossession being held on Saturday. She said decent three and four bedroom houses less than three years old could be snapped up for $280,000 to $300,000.

Mr Williamson said Mackay Regional Council’s rate base was growing and rental vacancy rates are now down to 2.8 per cent, when they were previously at 10 per cent. The stream of workers in “high-vis” gear flying up from Brisbane has also increased in the past year.

At a recent mining industry breakfast in Mackay, attended by 135 businesses, the biggest gripe raised by locals was labour shortages, according to Mr Williamson.

“The main complaint is they can’t find enough people. We’re back to labour shortages again – how quickly it turns. But I’d rather be on that upward slope than the other one,” he said.

Mackay’s median house value has remained flat at $332,352 in December, down 20 per cent from the peak of $411,854 in 2012