Stockland's $150m pitch: Build it and they will come
IF real estate agent and Gladstone local Steven James had one wish granted, he would love to see Stockland's $150 million development fire up.
Mr James says its the infrastructure like shopping centres and day care centres that will attract new families to Gladstone.
After a strong end to 2016, he's confident the property market has finally hit its bottom.
He says a combination of cheap prices, and looming interest rate hikes meant more people were looking to buy property at the end of the year.
But while property prices were luring new residents to town, Mr James says we need the infrastructure to seal the deal.
"You've got to build for the future and a good central shopping area is a huge thing for any town," he said. "It would attract families to Gladstone and would create a lot of jobs."
Residents have waited patiently for the upgrade, with still no start date in sight after the development was approved in 2014.
The upgrade, which involves adding 87 speciality stores to the centre, is also tipped to be a jobs boost for construction and retail workers.
"For a lot of families they're relocating to Gladstone because the property prices are at a 10-year low but we need to have the infrastructure," he said.
"So many times I've had someone in my office tell me their husband or partner has work here but they won't move their family here because there's not enough to do in Gladstone."
The region's average property price plateaued at the end of last year. After hitting a 10-year low, many are confident investors have seen the worst of the downturn.
Mr James, a Gladstone real estate agent of 10 years, says he's seen at least three "booms" for Gladstone.
But he thinks its time we really diversified from traditional industry and look to the commercial sector.
He said another positive was better quality houses were spending less time on the market, which Mr James said "thins out the market" because vendors want to "hold on".
"Prices are holding but I think this will be a good year for Gladstone," he said. "This will be our turnaround year," he said.