There is a noticeable return of confidence in Port Hedland since the beginning of the year, with a widespread belief that we are at the bottom of the current economic cycle and the immediate future is brighter. Many of the bigger employers around town are recruiting after a number of years of budget restraints, and we are finally beginning to see an increase in the local population. Mining spending is increasing and vacancy rates in the industry have increased substantially over the last couple of months. We can gauge by the uptake figures on our residential property portfolio that significant numbers of new people have moved to town.
There is ongoing investment in the Port with a dredging program about to commence, new tugboat pens being constructed and record shipments of iron ore continuing unabated. The majority of our new leasings in Commercial/Residential have been to either transport companies or to companies servicing this busy sector. Increased production continues to be the main strategy of the miners in riding out the fluctuations of ore market, and carting from distant mine-sites to Port by road train has created the demand.
New major industries setting up locally are always welcome and two new and sizable additions are the lithium mine being developed on the outskirts of Port Hedland and the Bella Bella mine, out from Whim Creek have a stated policy of employing the required workforce of 3000 locally in the Pilbara.
A welcomed policy decision by big business to reside their staff locally as much as possible is adding to the current levels of activity in the property market. Whist FIFO is still a feature of the local landscape we see companies mobilising remote staff from Port Hedland residential addresses, or offering current FIFO staff the only option of residential positions.
Overall the Pilbara real estate market has been through a major downturn over the past couple of years, and although it is generally accepted that we have reached the ‘bottom’ it has to be acknowledged that mortgagee in possession sales can still be disruptive in establishing new market levels. The experienced, knowledgeable team at HFN are the market leaders in every aspect of real estate and are always available to share their information and offer their advice.
Principal/Licensee JANUARY – JUNE 17