There’s one reason and one reason only why Roxby Downs is one of South Australia's best long-term performers for capital growth – and it’s called Olympic Dam.
Roxby Downs was purpose-built during 1987 and 1988 to service BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam mine, which produces copper, uranium, silver and gold. The town’s population is around 4,500, with an average age of 29 years, plus a further 1,000 fly-in, fly-out shift workers.
The unique nature of the town is its blessing – and its curse. Its location effectively means there’s a captive audience for property, and a very healthy rental market with 5%-plus yields (according to RP Data) and a practically non-existent vacancy rate.
However, it also means that its fate is tied squarely to the fate of the mine. As an example, when demand for commodities from the mine fell during the GFC, median property values plummeted by over $20,000 – and have only recently stabilised following resolution of the controversial mining tax issues. Vacancy rates during that time also rocketed to well over 10%.
Expansion is what’s on the cards, too. BHP Billiton is proposing to turn Olympic Dam – already the world’s largest copper and uranium mine – into the world’s largest open-cut mine. Assuming this takes place, the future outlook of the town is very rosy indeed.
Investors, therefore, would be well advised to keep a weather eye on progress with the Olympic Dam expansion – as Roxby Downs could well revive its goldmine reputation if and when further development gets the green light.