What's next for Gladstone's property market?
OPINION: I keep getting asked by people "what will the market do over the next 12 months?"
I assume they know I don't have a crystal ball.
However, they also know I have up-to-the-minute information relating to the Gladstone market, and that can provide some guidance to making an informed prediction.
First we need to look what is happening globally, nationally and statewide and, of course, locally, and at the key pointers.
We currently have market commentators making sweeping comments about the Australian housing market.
These opinions are skewed by the Sydney market that is absolutely flying in terms of competition for property.
Interest rates are at record lows with no imminent talk of that changing, and the south-east corner of our state is travelling along nicely, yet in central Queensland there are caution signs everywhere.
The feel locally is that business in general is very tough and the cost of business is affecting employment.
This affects confidence and the housing market, which then affects all the associated industries and trades that are required to buy, sell, rent and build homes for our residents.
Our latest commercial property figures confirm this as there are several vacant commercial spaces around town.
We don't see much changing in the short term due to a political landscape that is still uncertain and a massive debt that our previous governments have allowed to spiral out of control.
So enough negatives - what about the positives?
We all know that the property market moves in cycles and now we are seeing some very interesting sales numbers come through, highlighting that more and more people are seeing our market as a good buying prospect with heaps of upside.
Have we conceivably transitioned from an overpriced market to an undervalued one in super-fast time? Time will tell.
But our number one indicator locally is our rental market, and that has stabilised over the quarter, so that's a positive for everyone in the market and has been a long time coming.
Mark Spearing is Real Estate Institute of Queensland Gladstone chairman.