09/10/2007 - 22:00

Land releases to ease housing crisis

09/10/2007 - 22:00

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With a median house price in excess of $610,000, rents for three-bedroom houses up to $1,000 per week and more workers yet to arrive, the Shire of Broome and the state government are trying to get more land onto the market to ease the housing crisis.

Land releases to ease housing crisis

With a median house price in excess of $610,000, rents for three-bedroom houses up to $1,000 per week and more workers yet to arrive, the Shire of Broome and the state government are trying to get more land onto the market to ease the housing crisis.

Both stakeholders are in the process of rezoning a massive parcel of unallocated crown land along Cable Beach in the north of the town from tourist to development zone, in anticipation of the development of between 700 lots and 1,000 lots, a primary and high school and local shopping centres. 

The shire expects to begin releasing the land within the next two years, subject to heritage and native title approvals.

Shire of Broome president, Graeme Campbell, said depending on how recent billion dollar deals to sell oil and gas to China from the region play out, Broome could experience an influx of over 2,000 people during the project’s construction phases.

“In any instance, Broome will need to cope. The demand [for housing] will depend on if the workforce is fly-in fly-out and if so, there will be a far greater impact on Broome,” he said.

“The other issue we’re facing, of which we’re at an advanced stage, is federal native title negotiations and getting more land re-zoned…there needs to be a real will from all parties to sign off.”

While the major re-zoning at Cable Beach is pending, Landcorp is gearing up to release 50 single residential lots in stage five of its Januburu Six Seasons estate by ballot on November 5, priced from $280,000 to $380,000.

It is also planning to release six group housing sites in stage three of the estate, which will eventually produce about 25 dwellings.

Manager of the stage five ballot and Hutchinson Real Estate principal, Tony Hutchinson, said preference would be given to local residents and Broome business people.

“The land is really coming on in dribs and drabs and we’re noticing demand has slacked off because affordability has hit the ceiling,” he said.

Despite the slowing of sales activity, the agency has handed out 600 ballot papers for the 50 lots and expects to receive about 120 ballots back.

In the meantime, significant interest has been expressed in 12 lots to be auctioned at the popular Roebuck Estate on October 20.

A further 10 to 12 lots are expected to be released in the estate early next year.

Broome First National principal, Allan Griffiths, said listings of existing properties had increased dramatically, while actual sales activity had slowed with properties taking five to six weeks to sell instead of days.

“The asking prices of some properties are coming down. Prices have reached the affordability barrier and buyers are resistant,” he said.

Proving the high-end market in Broome exists in a bubble, the agency has sold several prestige rural living properties in the past few months, including one on Lullfitz Drive Cable Beach for $3 million and a property at Coconut Wells for $2.7 million.

Mr Griffiths said it had also negotiated the sale of a “traditional” residence on Walcott Street on 3,234sq m for approximately $1.6 million off market which was about to settle. 

By far Broome’s most expensive property on the market at present is the fully-furnished home of Broome identities Graeme and Heidi Robertson, located on a historic mango plantation on Williams Road, Coconut Wells.

Priced at $5.25 million, the fully-furnished property is 16km from Broome and features a caretakers’ residence and heated infinity pool.

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