As published by Herron Todd White Valuers
Toowoomba’s economic drivers are quite varied and diverse in comparison to other localities around Queensland. This is most likely due to its central hub location being within close proximity to the state’s capital and being the major regional centre servicing the agricultural sectors of the Darling Downs to the west and the Lockyer Valley to the east.
Traditionally, Toowoomba has not been subject to volatile market movements given the diversity and relatively stable workforce underpinned by large government employers including numerous schools, the University of Southern Queensland, TAFE College, three large hospitals and the Oakey and Cabarlah army bases. The major industry sectors by employment in Toowoomba include healthcare and social assistance, education and training, with manufacturing and agriculture also being significant employers.
Toowoomba has also proven to be a popular location for retirees from the broader south-west Queensland area. At the last census, the proportion of 60 plus year olds in Toowoomba was 23.6% versus 18.8% for Queensland and 19.6% for Australia. This demographic mix supports the health sector which, along with the education sector, is forecast to enjoy continued strong growth in the region.
With a strong health sector, it is no surprise that medical professionals have dominated the prestige Month in Review April 2018 Residential 46 market in recent years and this trend is likely to continue. Professional workers tend to occupy areas such as the eastern suburbs while manufacturing workers and retirees tend to be widely spread throughout all suburbs of Toowoomba.
The majority of new investment tends to be concentrated in the western suburbs. Vacancy rates across Toowoomba are approximately 2.6% as at February 2018. The Toowoomba Second Range Crossing project under construction appears to have assisted in maintaining low vacancy rates, with many workers residing in the region. Vacancy rates and the impact on the investment market will be closely monitored when the Second Range Crossing nears completion at the end of 2018.
West of Toowoomba, the coal seam gas sector heavily influenced the main Surat Basin centres including Chinchilla, Miles and Roma. When the industry transitioned from the construction to production phase, many workers exited the region and a subsequent oversupply of accommodation emerged, with a major downward effect on property values and rents. These towns appear to have stabilised and returned to historic levels which are more aligned with their predominantly rural-based economies.