Queensland Treasury figures reveal the Gympie region is one of only a handful of areas bucking a statewide residential development slump.
Queensland Treasury figures reveal the Gympie region is one of only a handful of areas bucking a statewide residential development slump.

Gympie land stampede as subdivisions surge 300%

FORGET word of mouth about Gympie’s roaring residential development success, the proof is in the data, with Queensland Treasury figures revealing the region’s market is bucking the state trend in the biggest way possible.

QTC figures show residential lot approvals across the Gympie region surged 316 per cent over the past 12 months, from 44 in the year ending June 2019, to 183 in the year ending June 2020.

And the surge is even more remarkable given it is happening in a struggling market; approvals across Queensland dropped an average of 13 per cent over the same period.

The number of residential lot approvals for developments like St Andrews at Curra has surged 316 per cent.
The number of residential lot approvals for developments like St Andrews at Curra has surged 316 per cent.

In fact, Gympie was one of only nine regions on the QTC’s records to record an increase in the same period - only the Southern Downs jump was bigger.

The 183 approvals were also the region’s highest in almost two years.

It follows a slowdown in which approvals for the 12 months from September 2018 to September 2019 only totalled 43 – a figure that was itself a monstrous drop from 2016-17, when approvals averaged more than 275 for a 12 month period.

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Queensland Treasury says an increase in approvals “is generally a sign that the development industry anticipates a housing shortfall due to an impending imbalance between the supply of developed lots and market demand”.

The huge Greendale Downs estate off Eel Creek Road continues to be developed by Robertson Brothers. The surge in land subdivisins comes off the back of a significant downturn in the region.
The huge Greendale Downs estate off Eel Creek Road continues to be developed by Robertson Brothers. The surge in land subdivisins comes off the back of a significant downturn in the region.

More than half of the new lots were approved as part of developments of 20 blocks or more.

There was also 215 approvals for operational works on blocks in the year from June 2019 to June 2020, the highest year-end total in at least three years, and 70 lots more than the five-year region’s five-year average.

There had also been a significant drop in the number of lapsed lots across the region.

The 53 lots that lapsed in the period was the highest since the end of 2018, but still 32 less than the five year running average.

Developer Terry Hines said the Gympie region had one clear draw card above all others.

“It’s called price,” Mr Hines said.

Greendale Downs is another large subdivision continuing to be developed in stages at Pie Creek.
Greendale Downs is another large subdivision continuing to be developed in stages at Pie Creek.

The developer of the 165-block St Andrews estate at Curra said the region’s ability to offer residential land under $150,000 was head and shoulders above what was on offer in places like the Sunshine Coast.

Then there was the impact of COVID.

“Buyers have realised they can work from home and be remote,” Mr Hines said.

The other main trigger was the Federal Government’s $25,000 building grant.

“There was a lot of land still sitting around prior to (the grant),” he said.

“That really has kicked a lot of people into action … all that land has sold really quickly.”

He said one new Chatsworth development had sold all but two blocks in the past few months; his own Curra project sold 23 in less than three months.

“Once upon a time they didn’t want to go out to Curra, but once they looked at it, it was in the mix,” Mr Hines said.