Gympie's slice of Coast property explosion could last years
FORGET reading omens to predict Gympie's housing future - all you have to do is look at what is happening on the Sunshine Coast.
Herron Todd White property valuer Paul Nelson said the region's market was closely tied to its southern neighbour's.
The good news was major projects like the airport and submarine internet cable will likely keep the market in good shape for the next decade.
"There should be some life left (in it)," Mr Nelson said of the Sunshine Coast market which according to HTW's August month in review is sitting at its peak.
And the Gympie region was one of the big winners, especially among those willing to commute.
"Gympie's got a good, strong market," he said.
"First-home buyers see it as an affordable option."
Mr Nelson said the hot spots were rural residential markets with close highway links like Pie Creek, Araulen, Tamaree and the Mary Valley.
"Character residential properties" were on the upswing, too.
"The ones people don't have to do too much with," he said.
The news was less positive for older houses in need of "significant work", which he said were "struggling".
In fact, one hugely popular market in the region had fallen off a cliff.
"The rural lifestyle market all but ceased once the banks started tightening up.
"The brakes went on in that space of the market relatively quickly. It's still struggling," Mr Nelson said, with sellers forced to drop their prices to make a deal.
"They have to be pretty special blocks with good water to get a look-in," he said.
Unfortunately the close connection to the Sunshine Coast's market was not going to be celebrated if the market there reaches "critical mass".
"It is a double-edged sword."
Gympie needed to open up its job diversity to insulate itself against the inevitable decline, he said.
"It needs to broaden its market appeal to investors."
The USC's expansion was a plus, he said, and investments in the growing aged care, education and health industries would help too.
There was still room to move in the commercial area, too. The August report said the Gympie retail market "has noted some sales" but was "still subdued, with yields generally flat over the past two-year period".
"This market had a range of sales, though generally below the $600,000 mark."
The big mover in the Gympie and Sunshine Coast retail market were shopping centre sales.
These were in the $20 million-$30 million ballpark, "indicating yields in the 5 per cent to 6.5 per cent range".