IT'S official - Gladstone rents were the lowest in the nation last year.
Property data analytics firm CoreLogic has released its Best of the Best 2017 report, examining a range of trends across the real estate industry.
The report identified three different suburbs in Gladstone as having the lowest median advertised rents in Australia for houses and units in 2017.
You could rent the average house in Barney Point for $150 a week last year, while renting the average unit in South Gladstone or Clinton would set you back just $120 per week.
Remarkably, six of the top 10 suburbs in Australia for cheap unit rentals were located in the Gladstone Region, with the remainder in South Australia.
Gladstone zone chair for the Real Estate Institute of Queensland Alicia Williams said the figures were no surprise given the events of the previous few years, which saw the housing and rental markets plummet.
"What led to this particular incident was unprecedented," she said.
"We had three LNG plants built at once and a declining resources industry - there were a lot of variables in play that no one forecasted."
Gladstone's rental prices dived by 18.8% to a median price of $130 per week across the board over the 2017 financial year, according to the Residential Tenancies Authority - the largest drop in Queensland.
Ms Williams said while Barney Point and South Gladstone were older areas of the port city, the figures pointed to a rental market across Gladstone that responded to broader macroeconomic influences, rather than anything specific about those areas of town.
"If you look at Catalina Heights, that's included in South Gladstone... so it's important to make sure we're comparing apples with apples," she said.
Though the figures revealed in CoreLogic's report cover the 12 months to November last year, real estate agents in Gladstone have been talking about a turnaround in the market since around September, a view Ms Williams said was borne out by the data.
Bonds lodged in Gladstone between September 2016 and September 2017 were found to have risen by 4.1%, while three-bedroom town-house median rentals rose slightly over a similar period.
"All the agencies I'm aware of had our biggest month for the last five years in November," she said.
"Not in terms of dollar values, but in terms of the number of transactions.
"That's a really good indicator of where the market's going... there is a lot of confidence in the resources industry.
"Certainly now with the workers' camps outside of town, as much as they were probably detrimental at their inception... now if there are any significant project announcements we know we can deal with it without it having a large impact on our housing market."
Ms Williams said it wasn't just agents and buyers who had noticed the market starting to shift.
Renters who weren't willing to commit to long-term leases just a year ago were now eager to do so, she said.
"They're trying to lock in those prices because they feel the market has changed," she said.
Raine & Horne predicts steady growth in Gladstone property market
Raine and Horne Gladstone principal Mark Patton has cited Australia's rebounding mining sector, the LNG industry and a spike in cruise ships docking at Gladstone Harbour as likely contributors to an improved outlook for Gladstone's market in 2018.
"Gladstone provides commercial and industrial services to the mining sector, along with engineering, and these companies are ramping up their workforces," Mr Patton said.
"Some of the mines are coming out of mothballs too, because of higher commodity prices."
Mr Patton said the Gladstone real estate "sweet spot" was in suburbs such as Telina, Clinton and Glen Eden, with houses going for between $150,000 and $300,000.
"Modern town houses are selling for less than $150,000, which is very affordable," he said.
"Gladstone has fully developed infrastructure, including a regional airport, that offer regular commercial flights from Brisbane, and one of the best port facilities on the Australian east coast.
"In combination the port and airport are helping Gladstone become a more economically diverse regional city."
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