Auswide Bank managing director Martin Barrett says the housing market is going “gangbusters” with significant growth in the Bundaberg Region.
Speaking on the bank’s 2020 financial year results Mr Barrett said there had been positive growth coming from Bundaberg.
“The last number of years have been a tough market here,” Mr Barrett said.
“Our growth has primarily come from South East Queensland or other states. This year we’ve had a nice level of growth come from Bundaberg.
“We’ve seen our deposits from our three branches in Bundaberg increase significantly and we’ve seen our lending increase significantly too.
“I for one have just noticed that in the seven and a half odd years that I’ve lived here in Bundaberg that the housing activity with land sale and construction and so forth seems to be more significant than it has been for a long time.”
Mr Barrett said a number of factors had contributed to the increase in activity in the housing market locally, including government incentive packages introduced to offset the impacts of COVID-19.
“I think it’s been a good trend over the course of the last 12 months but since the government put in some of these initiatives across Federal and State and have improved some of the offers … we have seen a lift come from that as well.
“We’re pleased to be part of the first home owners scheme from the Federal Government that basically means that for those first homeowners that want to get into the property market for the first time that don’t have the 20% deposit they don’t have to pay mortgage insurance.
“We’re going gangbusters on that across the country actually.”
Housing growth felt by local builders
Residential building approvals for new dwellings are trending upwards, with 143 recorded in the Bundaberg Region for January to June 2020 compared with 141 in the same period last year.
Kleidon Masterbuilt Homes owner Brett Kleidon has firsthand experience that the Bundaberg housing market is booming, with his business up by 20 per cent.
“We’re probably the busiest now we’ve been for a lot of years with enquiries,” Mr Kleidon said.
With many residents awaiting the outcome of grant and loan applications he said he believed the growth would continue.
“I can’t see it easing up in the next 12 months.”
UDIA Bundaberg president Nathan Freeman said housing growth was being seen in the region, bolstered by recently announced government incentives.
“There is certainly a high demand for housing and land,” Mr Freeman said.
“We’ve got very high occupancy rates on rental properties and very limited stock on the market so that’s also translated into the sale of other houses as well, so not just brand new homes but existing homes.”
He said the construction of new homes was providing a boost to the region’s economy.
“Across the board its always highly beneficial for our builders and our subcontractors and it has quite a flow on effect in the community.”
While the effects of the pandemic are still being felt across the country, Mr Barrett remained positive about the Bundaberg Region’s outlook.
“In a market like Bundaberg fingers crossed we can avoid the worst of the COVID outbreak,” Mr Barrett said.
“Businesses here should continue to do okay and confidence should be able to be okay.
“We know that regionally we’ve got some of the best value housing in the state.
“Hopefully that will also mean that those seeking some sort of life change… will think about Bundaberg as the place to come.”
Auswide reports positive results for 2020 financial year
Mr Barrett said Auswide’s results had stacked up against the big four banks.
“Comparing it to the big four and also, if you like, comparing it to the big regionals, we’re the only ones that have announced a profit improvement,” Mr Barrett said.
“We’ve seen an increase in profit by 7.6%.
“Our shareholders I think are somewhat more insulated than the shareholders of these other organisations.”
Auswide’s net interest revenue was up 11.6% year on year to $70.516 million, reporting a Net Profit After Tax of $18.504 million.
Customer deposits grew by more than 10% with its final dividend per share, fully franked, coming in at 10.75 cents.
While the Central Queensland market has been flat or has marginally declined from a lending perspective in recent years Mr Barrett said that wasn’t the case in Bundaberg this year.
“We’ve seen the Bundaberg market grow … around about 4 to 5% over the course of the year which is good, that’s a nice turnaround.
“We’ve got a good market share here in Bundaberg.”
Now looking forward to another 12 months of growth and business development, particularly in the areas of technology and customer service, Mr Barrett thanked the Bundaberg Region for its support.
“I’d just like to thank the Bundaberg community for their ongoing support and just reconfirm the fact that Auswide’s home is Bundaberg.
“This is where our head office is and we enjoy supporting the community and we enjoy the support of the community.”
He said Auswide’s Bundaberg operations continued to perform well and that opportunities existed for “people with the right sort of attitude” to join the team which offered a more “conversational and friendly approach”.
“We are constantly on the lookout for people with technology skills.
“We are constantly on the lookout for people who can bring really good talent to us from a customer service perspective.
“We pride ourselves on the fact that our team has a closer relationship with our customers.”
Auswide Bank’s full financial year results can be accessed here.
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