Simon Lloyd

They don’t have coastal cache, but regional investments carry bragging rights all their own.

Striking gold in Emerald

Investing in property carries a certain image imperative, don’t you think?

After all, if you’re sinking a wad of your bank’s capital (along with a bit of your own) into, say, a nice little portfolio of units, you want the potential for capital growth and you want a decent return on your investment.

But you also want the transaction to do something for your image, to give you conversation kudos at those gallery openings or charity dinners.

It goes something like this: “Yes, we bought off the plan in Port Douglas five years ago. It’s a seven-star resort development called Shambooboo, and we couldn’t be happier – and nor could our accountant, come to think of it!”

Or this: “Well, of course, the body corps are very steep but, sweetie, where else would you buy on the Gold Coast but in Q1 – on a clear day the tenants can almost see our townhouse at Ocean Shores, and so they should, the amount we’re charging them!”

What you’re less likely to hear as the waiter tops up your flute of Laurent Perrier is this: “We’ve just bought a brick and Colorbond lowset family home with a double garage on the outskirts of Emerald, and we’re thrilled to bits.”

That’s not to say that if you HAD bought such a place you shouldn’t be tickled pink.

Why? Because clever investors whose vision extends a couple of hundred kilometres or more inland from the Queensland seafront are picking up some fabulous bargains in regional centres.

Take Emerald – it’s a prime example of what can be earned by smart people not obsessed by coastline. Do a quick search on one of the real estate search engines and you’ll see what I mean.

Four-bedroom family homes (“brand new and neat as a pin” goes the real estate agents’ blurb) in Emerald can be had for well under half a million smackers, and because you’re buying them as house-land packages, they come with those extremely handy things you don’t often see attached to houses: depreciation schedules.

With the rental squeeze worse in regional towns than in the cities, you’ll be fighting off prospective tenants, more than willing – and able – to pay the going rental rates for such houses; $700 a week is commonplace. What’s more, land values in places like Emerald are soaring by more than 30% a year.

So if you’re overlooked for that Fashion Week invitation because your property holdings sound so pedestrian (“further west than Rockhampton?? Good God!”) at least you’ll be adding up their value with an emerald-encrusted calculator.


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