I’ve recently returned from the 2018 Property Congress in Darwin, the major annual event hosted by the Property Council of Australia. I attended with a 10-strong contingent of my colleagues from Holding Redlich, and we found it to be an insightful gathering. As the leading property gathering of its type in Australia, it attracts participation from thought leaders in the fields of design, planning, engineering, construction, development and law. The managing directors and CEO’s from major firms such as Stockland, Mirvac, and CBUS all gazed into their crystal ball to predict what lies ahead for the nation’s property market.

Good news

Let’s start with the good news: I was overwhelmed by the number of attendees at the conference who had an acute awareness of what was happening in Cairns. Projects such as the Queensland Government’s Global Tourism Hub, GA Group’s Crystalbrook Collection hotel developments and World Class Global’s Nova City towers were surprisingly familiar topics to many people I spoke to. There was also an appreciation of the appeal of our buoyant tourism industry, and people were keen to either visit Cairns to see what was happening on the ground or reminiscence about the great experience they had on a recent trip here.

Better news

Here’s even better news: there is growing pressure on Australian super and private equity funds from large overseas funds. Funds from the United States and Europe are cashed up and have an eye on assets in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. What does this mean? Australian funds will have to look to regional cities across the nation for investment opportunities. Whilst places such as Cairns may not have had the capital growth of the metropolitan capitals, there are excellent rental yields and returns on offer. In many cases, such returns are greater than those in other centres. I believe Cairns can present an opportunity for a new level of institutional investor to acquire (the right) assets in our city. At Holding Redlich, we act for some of the largest funds in the country. Over the coming days, weeks and months, I hope to be able to present local opportunities across our network of offices in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne to see what interest can be spiked.

Not so good news

Now for the not so good news: industry concerns regarding the availability of financial products for the investor market will continue to weigh heavily on the largest players in the property market in 2019. There were also concerns raised (as I’m sure most Australians have lately) as to whether we will see an Australian Prime Minister last a full term.

Confidence

As business owners, we can react to the scaremongering of bad news or take a positive approach and continue to look for opportunities. Judging by the view from the Holding Redlich office at the Cairns Corporate Tower, where we have an uninterrupted view of the six cranes on the skyline, it’s hard not to be empowered by the confidence from the hundreds of millions of dollars of investment under way in our city.

* A version of this article was originally published in TropicNow Magazine, published by TropicGroup.