Townsville’s property market on the slow road to recovery, according to John McGrath


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CEO of McGrath Estate Agents, John McGrath spoke at a breakfast held at The Ville. Picture: Scott Radford-Chisholm.

REAL Estate veteran John McGrath visited Townsville recently and shared his perspective and predictions for the local property market.

Mr McGrath, founder of the ASX-listed company McGrath Limited, said the region should look to Brisbane for hope that the market would recover after this year’s flood event.

“Townsville has been through a tough period and it hasn’t seen the same growth as many other parts of Australia, but it’s due for its growth cycle to kick in, and I think that was delayed by the floods,” Mr McGrath said.

Townsville floods. Aerial damage from a helicopter. Picture: Zak Simmonds

“Our experience in Brisbane when it went through similar chaos created by the floods was that it took about a year to let the dust settle and get things back to normal.

“But remarkably quickly after that people started to get back in the game of buying, selling, growing, and developing.

“I understand that people right here in the middle of it might not feel like that’s ever going to happen, but as I said on the Gold Coast a few years ago and in Brisbane — it is going to happen, it’s due for a change.”


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Mr McGrath said there was activity happening in the Townsville property market, and he believed interest from southern states as well as the continued development of technology and infrastructure in regional areas would help boost this.

“We will start to see the natural cycle … there is interest in Queensland coming from the southern states generally, and I’d say that southeast Queensland as well as areas like Townsville will be major beneficiaries,” he said.

“I think a lot of people will discover that the development of technology and infrastructure — like airports becoming international as opposed to domestic, and things like high speed internet connection — is all going to allow areas that are traditionally considered remote, more opportunities.

“Despite the challenges, there is still activity happening; there’s definitely green shoots, buyers are starting to come back, multiple numbers of people are interested in properties and we haven’t seen that for a while. So it feels like we’re already on the road to recovery but it will probably be gentle for the next six to 12 months.”

With the LNP returned to government in the federal election last weekend, there was a higher likelihood that the Adani Carmichael coal mine would go ahead in North Queensland, which Mr McGrath said was another positive for the property market.

“From an economic standpoint, (the mine) will definitely benefit the local area significantly,” he said.

“I don’t think property values here will double as a result of it, but I think it will bring people, tenants, buyers, investors and awareness into the economy, which will all be positive economically.”


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