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AU Karratha leads growth in nation’s mining towns

Property Here - Saturday, April 13, 2013

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KARRATHA’S town population has grown faster than any other Australian mining community, according to property analysts.

LJ Hooker Karratha Principal David Hipworth said statistics showing the town’s population grew faster than any other Australian mining community underlined the area’s investment potential.

Karratha’s population grew at a rate more than five times above the national average between 2006 and 2011, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The township grew from 13,257 residents in 2006 to 20,061 in 2011 according to Census figures – an average annual increase of 8.6 per cent – while the national average stood at 1.6 per cent.

The Pilbara region accounted for three of the top 5 mining growth areas, with Newman (7.3 per cent) and Port Hedland (4.5 per cent) ranked third and fifth, respectively.

The population growth, fuelled by the region’s employment generating minerals projects, had contributed to rents reaching $1800 per week for low-set three bedroom houses in Karratha, while the sale prices for the same home would be in the order of $800,000.

“At Newman, you could expect to pay between $1500 to $1800 for a basic three bedroom home. Yields have lessened a little lately, but investors currently field around 9 per cent  to 10 per cent returns.’’

Mr. Hipworth said while the fast-paced population growth may have slowed in the last 12 months, as mining companies took stock of their project pipeline, but he believed that Karratha still had significant opportunities to come.

He said the exponential growth had transformed a township which he has sold real estate in for more than 20 years.

“The minerals sector will push Karratha along for some time yet, but between 2006 and 2011, the town, and the wider Pilbara for that region, recorded significant population growth,’’ he said.

“The rate of growth since 2011 probably slowed a little bit but, in comparative terms, it still has a dynamic feel and energy about it that any regional town would want.

“There are new resources sector projects proposed, and as long as the demand for well-paid jobs exists, strong population growth will continue

“Karratha, Newman and Port Hedland will continue to attract ambitious men and women seeking the lifestyle the mining sector affords.’’

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