Geraldton is about to undergo a population explosion – and maybe an apartment development boom – on the back of major mining projects including the $5 billion Oakajee Port venture.
It will face a housing shortage within three months – according to one builder – because of developer fears to adopt large-scale building in the remote area, 240 kilometres north of Perth.
Earthwork restrictions limiting the clearing of blocks to within six months (March to September) is also turning prospective developers off, Humfrey Land Development director Barry Humfrey said in an AFR item.
Australian Railroad Group has just bought 80 families into the town, which has taken up “all the slack in the rental market” he added.
Geraldton’s population is forecast to double in five years.
The executive said builders don’t have the capacity to deliver blocks quickly and are turned off by construction costs – about 26 per cent higher than in Perth.
“In the current climate, who would be game to put 300 lots on without pre-selling them,” he said.
Geraldton’s median house price fell five per cent last year to $395,000.
However the town has seen some development activity, including a luxury waterfront apartment complex with units marketed from more than a million.
Another major project, a $24m office and residential complex of four floors, was completed last year.
Fifteen of the 16 dwellings in that facility traded to owner-occupiers.
“There’s a lot of individual wealth in Geraldton…accumulated over generations by farming and fishing families,” Richard Patterson, of developer Kiama Holdings added.
He said many buyers were retiring farmers.
An eight-level mixed use project with apartments, is also earmarked for the area.