Planner says we need 1100 new homes -- now
It takes the average Gladstone home seller nearly a third of a year to get rid of their property - yet one real estate expert is recommending another 1100 new homes a year are needed now.
That's despite 2200 homes being listed for sale across the Gladstone region at the moment.
Gladstone is behind in new home development, according to a new report released by town planner Michael Matusik, from Matusik Property Insights in Brisbane, who has more than 25 years experience in the property industry.
The report says an average of 1100 new homes should be built in Gladstone every year for the next 10 years to meet demand.
The findings are based on independent research and take into account the State Government's estimated population increase of 2600 new residents per year.
Mr Matusik's report says the new housing market is actually undersupplied by 5% and lists one of the key findings as "there is now a need to start building more new homes in Gladstone".
But Ray White Real Estate agent and Gladstone branch president of the Urban Development Institute of Australia Andrew Allen said those figures don't quite add up.
He said existing stock, which were taking an average of 106 days to sell, could easily accommodate up to 1000 new families into the town this year and building 200 new homes next year would be more realistic.
"There is a niche market for new homes because some people are adamant they want a brand-new home," Mr Allen said.
"Right now there is a surplus of existing stock and given the current trend in town, with people leaving, I don't think there is a need for 1100 new homes in the next 12 months."
However, developer Grant Botica said in the long term 1100 a year was not "outrageous".
He agreed there would be minimal demand in the next two years, but it took 18 months to two years to have a new home approved, built and ready to move into, he said.
"Developers generally need about one year to get land on the market," Mr Botica said. "So it's not too early to be talking about new building new homes."
Mr Botica is expecting to receive approval for 500 new lots within the next few weeks.
But he won't start calling the builders until five people approach him each week asking about new homes; or a project worth more than $5 billion gets off the ground.
"Employment is the big driver for this town, so we are always looking for signs of job creation because off the back of jobs comes a need for new houses."
Last year there were fewer than 200 new homes built, the lowest for at least a decade.
The long-term average for Gladstone, before 2011, was 600 new homes each year.
Construction peaked in the 2011/2012 financial year when there were 1535 new homes added to the market to cope with the boom.
Gladstone Regional Council chief executive Stuart Randle said his council was expecting 925 new homes would be built each year for the next 20 years.
And despite the slump, Mr Randle agrees with the property experts who say things are on the way up again.
"The signs are that we have just turned a corner," Mr Randle said.
"But it is hard to predict. Last month was the best for quite a few months.
"It is still pretty low, but we can see it just starting to pick up."