Blackwater down

THE coal towns Blackwater, Moranbah, Emerald and Muswellbrook are considered four of the six towns most impacted by the mining bust, according to Propell National Valuers.
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Map courtesy of Propell.

Blair Price

The other two towns in the list were Western Australia’s Karratha and the Queensland’s Gladstone, which has lost its boom town status as LNG construction work on the nearby Curtis Island continues to wind down.

The Queensland collection of Gladstone, Emerald, Moranbah and Blackwater were considered the worst affected .

“Price increases of 10% per annum, 20% pa or more have been replaced by falls in the past two years of up to 38% pa,” Propell said.

“Muswellbrook made the list as the most affected in NSW with a fall of 13% in 2014 that seems almost modest in comparison. Karratha, at the hub of WA expansion, and with almost 3400 houses, has seen turnover fall some 45% with prices down -12% in 2013 followed by -26% in 2014.”

The report by the real estate consultancy included a map which revealed that Blackwater had 200 listings last year for an outcome of just 12 sales (6% success), Moranbah had 166 listings with 38 sales (23%), Emerald had 369 listings with 107 sales (29%) and Gladstone had 648 listings for 317 sales (49%).

Blackwater’s real estate market has been singled out by recent press coverage.

The Bowen Basin town was hit by a redundancy wave with Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance’s Blackwater mine being one of four mines expected to bear the brunt of BMA’s 700 job cuts announced in September.

Metallurgical coal prices for Wesfarmers’ significant Curragh Mine, 14km north of Blackwater, have are also continuing to slide seemingly each quarter.

Blackwater Real Estate sales consultant Gerard Eising told Bloomberg that investors who paid as much as $620,000 for Blackwater houses three years ago are cutting their losses and dumping them back on the market.

He said tenants who were previously outpriced were becoming new buyers at prices as low as $18,000.

“A lot of the sales are under pressure and mortgage payments are the biggest reason,” he told the newswire.

Figures from RP Data and have revealed than the median Blackwater house price was $450,000 in 2012 and had since fallen 57% to $193,000 in 2014.

Propell data had the average Blackwater price at $210,000 in 2014, considered a 38% fall from the previous year while Moranbah median prices fell 37% to $240,000.