Property investors who may have missed the best opportunities for growth in the Queensland mining town of Gladstone and should instead consider investing in an up and coming investment hotspot like Geraldton in WA, says hotspotting.com.au’s Terry Ryder.
Ryder urges caution when considering investing in Gladstone and says it's property market is at risk of oversupply.
He says developers have been desperate to get into Gladstone, but because of the time it takes to get approval, they have been a couple of years behind the market, up until now, with projects starting to come on board.
“If you fly into or over Gladstone, you see there are just new housing estates and earth-moving machinery everywhere,” said Ryder in a recent Property Observer webinar looking at investment hotspot opportunities in 2013.
Ryder says the best growth opportunities in Gladstone were two year's ago.
Rather, he suggests investors take a good look at Geraldton, which he says has the potential to evolve into a Gladstone.
Geraldton is a coastal town of about 35,000 people about 430 kilometres north of Perth.
“It’s a city with a nice diversity (agriculture, fishing, tourism, mining, ports) to its economy and it receives a lot of benefit from iron-ore mining to the east.
Ryder says there have been delays in getting the $6 billion Oakajee port off the ground, but believes it will happen.
“And when it does go ahead, it will take Geraldton to another level."
Another project which Ryder says tends to be overlooked is the $3 billion Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project, which will be the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope, to be designed and constructed in the desert to the east of Geraldton (alongside a twin project in South Africa) between now and 2024.
“This will make Geraldton a city of international importance,” Ryder says.
Looking back over the success of Gladstone and other established hotspots, Ryder says the trend witnessed in boom markets is that rents are the first to rise, before prices go up.
“We noticed this in Gladstone in 2011, where there were massive rental increases but prices did not move at all."
Ryder says the prices rises in Gladstone happened this year with price growth in various Gladstone suburbs of 16% to 17% - about one year after the rent rises.
He says a lot of people have been emailing him about Gladstone asking if it is too late to invest.
“I think it is too late to get the best growth prospects, although there still will be growth.
“You still have $70 billion worth of LNG projects under construction, a $5 billion steel mill is still to start and there is the expansion of the port and rail, which will bring lots of jobs to Gladstone.
“But my point is that the best time to invest in Gladstone was two years ago.
“When that new [housing] supply comes in, there is the risk there will be too much – and one for investors to be cautious about,” he says.
For more on Terry Ryder's hotspots selections for 2013 and the three other regional locations that could be the next Gladstone, watch the full free webinar - Regions versus capital cities - where to invest in 2013?