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Regional markets thrive despite drought

19 February 2014 Staff Reporter

The drought in regional Queensland and New South Wales has not slowed property market activity in major towns, according to a national real estate network.

In Charters Towers, QLD, market activity has remained buoyant despite the 18-month drought.

Data from Raine&Horne shows sales are up by 50 per cent for the December/January period compared with the same time last year, while buyer enquiries have increased by 30 by per cent.

According to Raine&Horne Charters Towers principal Lisa Palmer, economic diversity played a critical role in minimising the impact of extreme weather conditions.

"Charters Towers doesn't simply rely on agriculture; it has one of Queensland's biggest Local Government Areas, which employs plenty of locals, while there is a very strong education sector thanks to having nine schools located in the town," she said.

Mining is also a major employer, with gold and coal mines in the close vicinity of the town.

"While not every worker from the mines lives locally, many carry on regardless of the drought and these projects underpin long-term real estate growth in Charters Towers," Ms Palmer said.

Meanwhile, in the New South Wales town of Moree, high investor interest has kept the market afloat.

"Around 30 per cent of buyers are investors, and many of these individuals don't live in Moree," principal of Raine&Horne Moree Kelly Atkins said.

Low prices and high rental yields made the town attractive both to interstate and overseas investors.

Raine&Horne CEO Angus Raine said investors in country areas should consider how natural disasters might affect the local property market.

"Seasonal challenges like drought, bushfire and floods are part and parcel of living in country areas," he said. "It's for this reason that it's generally sensible to look for property in regional towns with robust economies, strong employment prospects and population growth.

"These factors can help underpin decent long-term growth and rental yields and provide some cover against the effects of environmental influences that are often out of our hands, such as flood and drought."

Regional markets thrive despite drought
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