Queensland's Energy Bonanza

The Surat Basin area and established Queensland regional towns of Chinchilla and Miles are set to undergo substantial growth as the world’s leading energy companies stake their claim on what is tipped to be a Queensland energy bonanza lasting for decades. And according to one major property company active in the area the opportunity for investors in both the residential and industrial property sectors is substantial. For example, a house and land package in Miles provides $223 per week in your hand!

Surat Basin Property Group was started by Chinchilla local Greg West and a number of other directors in 2005. They have family ties with the Chinchilla community going back to the 1920’s. SBPG’s chief operating officer, Jason van Hooft, said the company is the largest builder and developer in the Surat Basin area and its clients for both residential and industrial property stretch across the country.

“What is happening less than four hours west of Brisbane is a largely untold story and it has only just begun,” he said. “The world’s leading energy companies are operating there and they have plans to double and triple the size of the wells and operations in that region. This means that towns like Chinchilla and Miles are set to experience considerable growth and derive enormous economic benefit from the resources boom.”  

He also said there is a severe shortage of industrial land in the Surat Basin and companies servicing the resources sector have trouble finding suitable industrial buildings for their needs. The company’s Surat Basin Industrial Park, on the Warrego Highway, just west of Chinchilla has been rushed by buyers and there are a limited number of investment opportunities available from $650,000. The SBIP is virtually the only available industrial land in the region.

He added that the evolution of the Surat Basin provided a unique opportunity for individuals to capitalize on the resources boom and to build their personal wealth base. SBPG statistics show that in 2003 the average price of a standard detached house in Chinchilla was $90,000. By 2011 that figure had increased to an average of $335,000. The average median house price growth between 2003 and 2011 was 16.36 percent per annum. Mr van Hooft said the demand for rental accommodation in the Surat Basin was high and it was tipped to increase substantially as more of the major operators increased the size of their work forces.

 “Rents in Chinchilla range from $450 a week for an older style, two bedroom, one bathroom house to  between $500 and $600 a week for an unfurnished brick home,” he said. “For a newer brick four bedroom and two bathroom home the rents being asked range from $500 to $850 a week if you can find one.” He said history had shown that in places like Port Hedland, Karratha and Moranbah the value of residential property had risen significantly and all the signs were there to indicate that the same was possible in the Surat Basin.”

The rental vacancy rate for houses in Chinchilla is currently 0.59 percent and price growth in the last 12 months has been 17 percent.

The group also has its own real estate agency responsible for marketing and managing the rentals of the homes that it constructs and sells. Mr van Hooft said, “Anyone considering investing in property to capitalize on the resources boom should look at who is going to be there to support them after their purchase and they should also look at areas where the local economy is not purely reliant on one drive such as coal. The Surat Basin is different to many other resource driven areas in that we have coal, we have natural gas, we have agriculture and we are only a bit over three hours from a capital city.”

By Paul Wilson
Promedia on behalf of Surat Basin Property Group