Queensland is in the middle of a series of massive infrastructure projects that will pour billions of dollars into the state and set it up for a post-Covid boom, a roundtable of the state’s most influential leaders say. The Inland Rail project will soon cross from NSW into Queensland with $7 billion being spent and creating 12,000 jobs. Tunnel work continues on Cross River Rail, with 12 work sites going full bore across the city centre while construction continues on the $3.6 billion Queens Wharf and The Star precinct. Linked with Brisbane Airport’s second runway completed last year, business leaders say Queensland looks well-positioned. The Star Entertainment Group chairman John O’Neill says his organisation is ready for when borders re-open. “The Star is a massive believer in Queensland,” he says. O’Neill says the Gold Coast airport had its busiest day since Covid recently while the Sheraton Mirage, The Star Grand and The Darling were all 100% full on weekends.
Gold Coast Building Recovers
New research shows the Gold Coast’s development industry is in recovery after Covid-19, with development applications on track to top those recorded in the 2016-17 financial year. Council planning chair Cameron Caldwell says the city’s latest development activity report confirms a likely record return to the number of projects to be assessed by officers. The report for the first quarter of 2021 reveals that development applications are up 17.5% on the same quarter in 2020; building approvals up 23.8%; plumbing approvals up 21.2% on 2020; and Planning and Environment Court appeals are tracking at well under 1% of decisions made. Cr Caldwell says: “Council welcomes the strong volumes of development activity for the first quarter of 2021. The increase in building and plumbing approvals indicate that the upswing in construction activity continues. Positive sentiment in the property market means developers are looking to activate approvals and deliver housing product.”
Quote of the Week
“There are more buyers than sellers in the market, which is fuelling the property boom. This is contributing to strong growth in prices, particularly in regional and coastal locations. The trend is also pronounced in the inland regions.” SQM Research managing director Louis Christopher.
15% Rise In Prices Forecast
House prices will rise 15% by the end of the year before slowing to more moderate growth in 2022, a Westpac Housing Pulse report says. The forecast appears conservative, given that prices have risen 11.3% in the first five months of the year (CoreLogic data). The Westpac quarterly report says capital city markets are in a “fully fledged, broad-based boom”. Senior economist Matthew Hassan says all aspects of the market are showing strength, with turnover 30% above the national pre-pandemic peak. “Everyone is out there looking for any hint of a moderation to this boom,” Hassan says. “So far, there is nothing really that convincing – auction clearance rates have come off slightly, but are still running at around 80%.” Hassan says strong price gains are happening in all cities, setting it apart from other housing booms. “In previous price rises, 2-3 cities propelled the gains each time,” he says. “One cycle was Sydney and Melbourne, and the cycle before that was the mining states. That’s just not happening now because all cities are booming.