About 300km inland along the banks of its namesake river, Katherine is fast becoming a hotspot for property investment in the Northern Territory.
Katherine is supported by a vast and well-established economy. Agriculture, mining, and defence are thriving industries in the township, while the area’s ancient limestone formations and subterranean caves keep a strong tourism industry afloat. A recent report by Tourism Research Australia found that a total of 308,000 people visited the region in 2009/10, pumping $93m into the local economy.
From an investor’s perspective, the town offers strong growth and high returns. In the four years to 2009, Katherine’s population increased 4% to 10,095, according to ABS estimates. Incomes in the area are also on the rise, increasing by $3,746 between 2005 and 2008 to $41,985, using ABS estimates.
The median house prices is affordable at well under $400,000. Katherine also offers investors high rental yields of 6% or more, with extremely tight vacancy rates that have remained below 1% for over five years, according to SQM Research.
Government plans to release blocks of land for housing development are in the pipeline, but concerns relating to Aboriginal land rights issues and flood-prone areas are yet to be resolved.
Nevertheless, local Elders sales specialist Alison Ross says Katherine’s rental market has enjoyed steady growth over the last ten years.
“With government departments providing a subsidised rental for staff, it is expected the rental market in Katherine will sustain its current level,” Ross said.