Darwin: More fuel for Australia’s property hotspot

Japanese resources giant Inpex has made the long-awaited announcement that its $30bn Ichthys gas project will go ahead, fuelling speculation that Darwin’s property market is set to take off.

The project, which will see natural gas pumped into the city for processing into liquefied natural gas (LNG), is expected to boost the Northern Territory’s gross state product by 18% per year over the course of 40 years, says Inpex.

In dollar terms, Inpex expects the Ichthys gas project to boost the Australian economy by $3.5bn per year.

As well as the financial gains that are expected to be made in the Territory as a result of the project going ahead, population growth is on the agenda: 2,700 workers will be required during construction of the project and 300 for its ongoing operation.

“We’ve already got some favourable investment conditions in the Territory, and with an economic driver like Inpex into the bargain, we’re set for an unprecedented growth phase here, regardless of what happens in the global economy,” said Property Council Northern Territory division president Brendan Dunn.

The announcement comes hot on the heels of the results of the latest Property Council-ANZ Property Industry Confidence Survey, which found that NT is now the top ranked state or territory for property investor confidence.

The quarterly survey, which polled 2,800 property industry professionals across all Australian states and territories in December 2011, gave NT an index rating of 145. This beat fellow resource-led states Western Australia (127) and Queensland (113) into second and third places respectively.

A score of 100 represents a neutral level of confidence, with anything above this figure representing positive sentiment towards the prospects of the state or territory’s property industry. The national average was 107.

“These figures tell us that investors see a very healthy long-term outlook for the Territory’s economic future,” said Dunn.

ANZ head of property Paul Braddick added that this high level of confidence in NT’s property market is being fuelled by the Territory’s large number of resource projects.

“These projects should underpin solid growth in economic activity, employment and property demand through 2012,” he said.