An end in sight for sluggish SA growth?

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South Australia has many property forecasts predicting a dire market over the next few years, but there is enough in the project pipeline to suggest it isn’t over until the big mining companies sing

From a property investment point of view, Adelaide and South Australia as a whole have numerous factors working against them. 

First is the issue of growth – or the lack thereof. Property values have slumped over the last 12 months, in both country and metropolitan areas, across all dwelling types. 

Then there is weak overall confidence in the economy, and the deferring of BHP’s Olympic Dam project, and you can see why South Australia fails to top many investing hot spot lists right now. 

But the news isn’t all bad.

BHP may have delayed their intentions to extend their copper, uranium and gold mine in Roxby Downs, 550km from Adelaide – but they have until 2016 to progress with their billion-dollar expansion plans or they’ll be forced to start again with the government approvals process.

They’re not the only mining giants in town.

South Australian oil and gas company Santos is on track for a stellar production year in 2013, following a 10% rise in production last year, up to 52.1 million barrels of oil equivalent (mmboe) from 47.2 mmboe in 2011. Its annual sales revenues also hit a record $3.2bn in 2012, up 18% on 2011 figures. 

"Santos expects 2013 production to be in the range of 53 to 57 mmboe and capital expenditure, excluding capitalised interest, to be approximately $4bn," Santos said in a statement. 

While it may not pave the way for a property boom right away, it’s a positive sign that the economy in South Australia is moving in the right direction.

And for SA property, any movement is an improvement from the current state of affairs. Current stats for the regional property market remain dismal: residential values have slid 1.5% for houses and 7.4% for units over the past 12 months, and there’s no indication of a swift turnaround any time soon. 

Even Greg Moulton, president of the Real Estate Institute of SA (REISA), concedes that the regional market has been “through a tough 12 months”. 

“The past few years have been really tough in the regional real estate market and while the recovery may be slow, it should start to pick up as people return to the stability of bricks and mortar investment,” he says. 

“Regional markets often follow the metropolitan buying patterns and we are starting to see slightly increased activity, which is important, as there is a high level of stock on the market in all areas.”

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