Rockhampton, famed as the beef capital of Australia, has been one of the main beneficiaries of the Queensland coal mining industries – not least due to its proximity to coal port Gladstone.
The city has a diverse economy, encompassing agriculture, the rail industry, military and (of course) mining: this led to robust growth in population and house prices in the late Noughties.
It’s one of the most accessible of Queensland’s regional resources towns, being 521km north-east of Brisbane: Mackay is another 300km further north, and Bowen nearly 1,000km from the state capital. It is also located at the junction of the Bruce Highway and the Capricorn Highway leading west – a key juncture for heavy traffic.
Its airport is Australia’s twelfth busiest domestic airport, and handles commercial flights to other major Queensland hubs, as well as Sydney and Melbourne. Amenities within the city are good, with several supermarkets, shopping centres, schools, cafes and restaurants, and hospitals
Rockhampton is also benefiting from government and private infrastructure spending, which is also likely to boost prices. Much of the public expenditure has focused on improving road and rail access; meanwhile, mining company Xstrata is deep into the planning stages of building a deep water coal export wharf on nearby Balaclava Island, as well as recently revealing plans to build a second $1.2bn project at Port Alma.
Values have been hit since the GFC, with central Rockhampton units being hit particularly hard: however, rental yields have remained robust. It’s worth noting that extensive flooding in January 2011 hit the city hard, and any prospective buyers should check flood maps very carefully before purchasing.
Even so, properties in the Rockhampton area are currently very affordable, with houses typically below $400,000 and units under $300,000. It’s a perfect time to buy, too, as values are expected to recover in coming months and years along with the resurgence of the mining industry, further investment and ramping up of activity in Gladstone.
Therefore, as it currently stands, Rockhampton not only offers some very affordable properties, high yields and significant scope for capital growth.