Why Ipswich is back in fashion

Posted in Investment

In the late 20th century, the Ipswich area in South East Queensland faced an uncertain future.

Following the economic challenges which arose as a result of the decline of first the coal mines across the region, and then the manufacturing plants in the area including the Ford Motor Company plant, Ipswich faced significant social and economic issues, a high

unemployment rate, and falling property prices.

Fast forward three decades and Ipswich is well and truly back on the radar, with the city officially the fastest growing city in Queensland. By 2026, the local Ipswich economy is projected to be worth $12.7 billion.

There’s been significant investment in infrastructure, education and tourism over recent years, while the city has diversified its economy, and is now home to a range of industries including health care, education, and technology. As a result, Ipswich has become a vibrant and dynamic city with a bright future.

Why is Ipswich back in vogue?

The primary driver in migration to a particular area is job opportunities, which goes hand in hand with economic growth. Completed and planned infrastructure, combined with more industry, breeds population growth.

According to the 2021 Census, Ipswich had a population of 229,208, an increase of 12.7 per cent over five years. Population is forecast to grow to 521,000 by 2041, around 4.6 per cent growth per annum forecast compared to Queensland’s state average of around 1.7 per cent (OESR). The population is expected to double and overtake the Sunshine Coast within 20 years.

“Jobs, access to excellent health services, schools, and entertainment make Ipswich a very attractive region and are some of the reasons we’re the fastest growing city in Queensland,” Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding says, adding that 70 per cent of the population growth forecasts will occur between Ipswich Central and Springfield.

In recent years, numerous national businesses and government departments have moved to Ipswich, including SEQwater, Bendigo and Adelaide Banks, GE, and Bunnings. There’s also the new $250 million Nicholas Street dining precinct, undertaken by renowned architect Buchan Group.

There’s also a large market for tourism, with Tourism Research Australia data showing Ipswich was one of just three Queensland regions to experience year-on-year-growth, with 1.7 million visitors in FY2021. Tourism contributes over $160 million to the economy each year.

What further infrastructure is planned?

The $1.7 billion fast rail link is one of the largest government-funded projects across the whole of South East Queensland. The rail link will reduce travel times from Ipswich to Brisbane by 66 per cent to just 20 minutes.

There’s also the $1.5 billion Spring rail link, as well as the $12 billion Springfield community which will see the development of Idea City, the Springfield precinct which has been designed to engage and encourage innovation, design, entrepreneurship, and art.

The Australian Government has also made a commitment to expand the RAAF Base Amberley with $1.2 billion in new investment. The RAAF Base Amberley is already Australia’s largest military installation and the largest airbase in the southern hemisphere. It pumps $560 million into the local economy annually and provides 5,200 jobs.

Another long-term Council project is a motor-sport precinct master plan. There is also significant new sport and leisure infrastructure targeted in the Springfield area.

What about the property market?

One of the most attractive propositions of Ipswich compared to some of its neighbours is its affordability. Veteran property expert and researcher Terry Ryder says key criteria for buyers includes affordability and proximity to employment nodes.

“Despite recent price growth, affordability remains the key appeal of Ipswich properties,” Ryder says.

“Many suburbs still have median house prices below $500,000 - despite major price growth recently. In the 12 months to September 2022, most suburbs recorded growth of 30 per cent and above in their median house prices.”

Ryder says buyer demand in Ipswich was boosted in 2020 and 2021 by first home buyers helped by high levels of government assistance.

What are the forecasts for the Ipswich property market?

The Ipswich LGA is experiencing a significant supply imbalance of vacant land, and that’s expected to help continued growth in the local property market. That’s the view of Colliers Queensland, whose Land Market Overview shows land prices in the Ipswich LGA are to exceed $300,000 by the end of 2023, taking new house and land packages to over $650,000.

Colliers Queensland Director of Residential Jon Rivera said as a result of the decline in land sales, there had been an imbalance in supply and demand, which had driven land prices to soar over the past two years.

“Land prices have increased by 100 per cent on the Gold Coast and 57 per cent in Brisbane,” Rivera noted, adding however that Ipswich is the only council in the region where sales below $300,000 were still being recorded in 2022.

The report further demonstrated the Ipswich LGA is experiencing a significant supply imbalance of vacant land, as indicated by a 26 per cent increase in median land price since September 2020, when sales peaked at 641 settlements.

Where are my opportunities to buy?

Gallery Group has been invested in the Ipswich area for a number of years. They have 65 homes available at Habitat Ipswich, in the tight knit Blackstone community east of Ipswich city. They’re offering family sized blocks of land ranging from 450 sqm to 2,388 sqm, starting from $310,000.

Habitat is located 15 minutes from Springfield, the epicentre of growth and employment for the Ipswich region. It’s just two minutes from Bundamba train station, a 45-minute train commute to Brisbane.

Ipswich Grammar and Ipswich State School are just 10 minutes away, making Habitat a popular choice for established families, while Raceview, Silkstone and Bundamba State schools are all within five minutes from the development.