Investor Info - Karratha

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Rapidly emerging as the production hub for LNG in Australia, Karratha is entering an exciting period in its development with plans for a new city centre and a major expansion in population which will create growing opportunities for astute property investors.
Situated 1557km north of Perth, Karratha is known primarily as a resources town but also has a tourism economy. It is the base for some significant natural attractions, including the Burrup Peninsula and the 42 islands of the Dampier Archipelago. The town of Karratha has been a focus of the WA Government who have launched exciting new plans to transform Karratha into a world-class City of the North. Karratha was established in 1968 to accommodate the workers mining iron ore in the Hamersley Ranges. In the 1980’s the petroleum and liquefied natural gas operations of the North West Shelf Venture was launched, which at the time was the largest engineering project in the world and the largest resource development in Australia’s history. The North West Shelf Venture (NWSV) has six giant industry partners, each holding a one-sixth share, being: Woodside PetroleumBHP BillitonBP plcChevron CorporationRoyal Dutch Shell plc . With Mitsubishi Corporation and Mitsui & Co. providing the domestic gas phase of the project. More recently the super projects Pluto & Gorgon, which have dwarfed the NWSV, have increased the demand on housing and infrastructure in the already pressurised market of Karratha and Dampier.
Mining Projects
The major mines and projects located in close proximity to Karratha, that make up the Karratha mining hub are, but not limited to:
Gorgon LNG Project
Pluto LNG Project
North West Shelf Venture
Cape Lambert South Projecthay
Cape Preston Project
Dampier Salt
The Gorgon project is one of the world's largest natural gas projects and the largest single resource natural gas project in Australia's history. This project will develop the Greater Gorgon Area gas fields, located about 130 kilometres off the north-west coast of Western Australia and has the capacity to provide 300 terajoules per day to supply gas to Western Australia.
The complexity and sheer scale of Gorgon is unprecedented. It is a modern-day equivalent of Australia’s iconic Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Scheme, tapping into about 40 trillion cubic feet LNG – that’s enough to power a city of 1 million people for 800 years. At peak construction Gorgon will employ approximately 10,000 workers and increase the demand for contractors in nearby towns.
Globally, the net impact of using Gorgon LNG will result in about 45 million tonnes less greenhouse gas emissions, when comparing against coal – and that’s the equivalent of taking about two-thirds of all vehicles off Australian roads.
The projects around Karratha and approved expenditure on mining expansions in the Pilbara region of Western Australia require a workforce increase of over 50,000 people in the towns of Port & South Hedland, Newman & Karratha in the next five years. These major mining projects will at some point be running concurrently which will mean a massive expansion in infrastructure, workforce and government spending in these localities. Because of Karratha's direct link to the vital towns of Newman, Dampier & Cape Lambert and its geographical proximity to the diverse range of mineable resources, Karratha will continue to be used as a main support town to supply workers and services to the mines close by and in turn be supported by that workforce for the local businesses and mine support industries in town.
The Market
Having the benefit of several mining industries, an active tourism industry and now being the focus of the West Australian governments ‘Cities of the North’ vision, Karratha looks to be positioned at the precipice of incredible growth prospects. With the lifespan of the Pluto project estimated to be 40 years and Gorgon at least 40 years, these two projects alone would contribute to a constant demand for housing, rentals and investment properties in the town of Karratha. Continual oversubscription of land releases illustrates the escalating market with house prices and rental returns in a constant state of flux.
The Tenants
The typical lease in Karratha is a mixture between corporate, government and a small number or private leases. The majority of residential properties are rented by mining companies and local companies, providing housing for their staff. These companies typically take a minimum 12 month lease with 24 month leases not being uncommon given the demand for housing and limited supply.
Government tenants include health, teaching & Police employees to name a few. These government leases are generally longer than a corporate lease however with the security of a longer lease comes the trade of a slightly lower return.
Private leases are held in an individual’s name and are more often than not subsidised by their employer.
source: Crawford Realty