IN DEMAND: First National Real Estate Chinchilla's property manager Teddi-lee Church and property manager assistant Matthew van Gaalen are excited about the rising demand.
IN DEMAND: First National Real Estate Chinchilla's property manager Teddi-lee Church and property manager assistant Matthew van Gaalen are excited about the rising demand. Jessica Schremmer

Housing market hopes

MILES and Chinchilla's rental housing markets have seen slight upward trends within the last month, according to real estate agents.

With the lowering of vacancy rates in both towns, hope is rising for the future of the housing market, which was severely affected by the CSG boom and its end, as an ongoing study by the University of Queensland found.

Ray White Rural Miles sales consultant, David Sweetapple said the the closure of Origin's camps and and influx of people from outside the region caused the demand on the rental market - but the Median Sales Price for houses was still dropping.

Mr Sweetapple said it was in December 2013 when the housing market fell overnight due to resource companies pulling their staff from the communities into camps.

Mr Sweetapple does not blame the companies for their action but said the decision crippled the town of Miles.

"Since then we went up to 45 per cent vacancy and property values dropped by 80 per cent,” he said.

"It is a direct result of poor planning and poor government. We should never have been in a situation, where 90 per cent of equity has been eroded due to poor government decision. We have been a social experiment.”

However, Mr Sweetapple said the future looked promising with the new Strong and Sustainable Resource Communities Bill 2017 being endorsed by both sides of parliament.

"However it will not be proclaimed until March 30, 2018,” he said.

"No future projects can have construction camps out in the scrub. They must support a town that is within a radius of 125 km from their project,” he said.

First National Real Estate Chinchilla Principal Rebecca Gurski said there has been a gradual change in the housing market, especially since the closure of the Origin camps that really boosted the town.

"It's taken up quite a bit of the oversupply and definitely helped us,” Ms Gurski said.

"I think we are down to about 52 properties available in town at the moment to rent, where at one stage we got up to 300, so it is looking quite promising.

"We have had quite a few good months selling houses in Chinchilla as well, probably the last three months have been really good. There is quite a bit of interest, still in a lower bracket though, around that $200,000 mark.”

Ms Gurski said the the housing prices during the CSG boom were unsustainable and once the construction had finished, a mass exodus occurred affecting everyone.

"It affected investors, home owners plus the pricing going down affecting everybody,” she said. Miles business owner Rachel Kerwick said we needed to see a serious change of attitude and thinking in the way resource companies did business in the future.

She said there was room for optimism at the moment but business confidence, profitability and sustainability in regional communities needed to be restored to get back business and investor confidence.


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