Once a property darling, Mandurah’s been off the boil for some time – but it’s still looking like a good option for investors seeking affordable properties with excellent long-term growth prospects.
The key to Mandurah’s long-term appeal is its jet-propelled population growth. ABS figures show that the city’s population grew by a staggering 19% between 2005 and 2009 – that’s nearly 4% a year. That growth is set to continue, too: projections from the City of Mandurah forecasts the population for the metropolitan area alone to increase from 72,722 to 116,134 over the next 20 years – an increase of 59.6%. That population growth is potentially also one of the reasons that the HIA listed Mandurah the location which will have the eighth-largest shortfall of properties by 2020 (a projected shortage of over 6,200 dwellings).
What’s the attraction? Well, Mandurah forms the southern end of a stretch of towns south of Perth (also including Rockingham, Port Kennedy and Secret harbour) that provides both affordable housing for people moving from Perth – particularly young families and sea changers – as well as a service centre for mining industries in the hinterlands to the east of the city and a thriving local economy.
While the city is 72km from Perth, the Perth-Mandurah line – completed in 2007 after lengthy delays – provides transport to the centre of Perth in 48 minutes. Road access to Perth is also relatively quick via the Kwinana Freeway.
Mandurah’s amenities are plentiful: there are five shopping centres, a number of public and private schools, a hospital, a campus of Murdoch university, a TAFE, two zoos, and plentiful parks and sporting facilities. It’s also renowned for its foreshore, protected waterways such the Peel Inlet and Harvey Estuary and ocean beaches, making it a popular tourist and lifestyle location. Whale and dolphin spotting, boating and watersports are all being well catered for. It’s also acts as the unofficial gateway to the south-west, with national parks, the Dwellingup state forest and the Margaret River within driving distance.
Local employment is driven by tourism, manufacturing, retail and a number of local mines: the Huntly mine in Pinjarra is the largest bauxite mine and alumina refinery in the world, and the Boddington gold mine has recently become Australia’s largest gold mine.
In response to the projected population growth, Mandurah’s also undergoing civic improvement, with a major revitalisation of Mandurah’s city centre and foreshore precincts, better transport linkages to the City’s foreshore and greater tertiary education opportunities – while still preserving bushland and waterways Significant housing development opportunities have been identified in almost all areas in the City of Mandurah, most notably Lakelands, Dawesville-Bouvard-Herron-Clifton, Mandurah and Halls Head. Mandurah is also one of the early locations to benefit from the National Broadband Network.
Now may be a good time to buy, too: the Mandurah market has followed Perth in seeing value falls after a period of strong growth up to 2008, although RP Data figures suggest only the unit market in Halls Head has seen large falls. Long-term growth figures vary between 12% and 18% pa, but properties are still affordable, with median prices typically between $280,000 and $450,000. This is likely to stand Mandurah in good stead with buyers priced out of the Perth market. Rental yields remain robust, and are typically between 4% and 5%. Vacancy rates are relatively tight at 2.4%.
Overall, Mandurah ticks an awful lot of boxes when it comes to investment fundamentals – particularly diverse industry, closeness to the state capital and surging population growth and lifestyle benefits, while still being affordable and having excellent long-term growth potential.