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Narrabri, situated approximately 400km Northwest of Newcastle in the fertile plains of Namoi Valley, is well known for its quality beef, wheat, lamb, wool and cotton. Other major industries include mining and tourism.
As is the case with a number of regional towns, Narrabri is benefitting from the resources boom; however, much of its success is tied to its agricultural strength.
Concerns have come to light about the impact that extraction of coal seam gas (CSG) will have on the local environment, with many activists and protesters attempting to impede the mining industry’s efforts in the area.
Despite all of the negative press in the media, property values over the past 10 years have done quite well:
In the news:
Property investing gurus like Terry Ryder and Nila Sweeney, are bullish on this regional town. Says Mr. Ryder, “In regional Australia, selected cities and towns have done very well this year,  including a few where annual growth has topped 20 per cent, among them Miles and Cloncurry in Queensland and Narrabri in NSW.”
Recently it’s been announced that Santos’ coal seam gas-drilling project is one step closer to reality. According to Ben Cubby, Environment Editor with the Sydney Morning Herald, “The NSW government has moved to fast-track a giant new coal seam gas-drilling project, to be operated by Santos in the Pilliga woodland, near Narrabri in the state’s north-west.”
In efforts to temper the expected backlash from angry dissenters, Andrew Stoner, the Deputy Premier, has assured all concerned individuals that “…the agreement does not pre-judge or bypass the state’s rigorous assessment processes for projects of this nature.”
Coal seam gas is not the only profitable mining venture in Narrabri. Whitehaven Coal’s Narrabri North mine is performing well and delivering “record production.”
Australian Mining’s Vicky Validakis reports “the success at Narrabri was impressive for a mine that had only been operating commercially for just eighteen months.”
Whitehaven Coal’s managing director and CEO Paul Flynn told Ms. Validakis that, “Narrabri has reported strong performance with record production and sales for the half.”
What Does The Market Say?
Narrabri is a favourite among many property-investing experts because the market drivers indicate the region is on the cusp of growth.
- Narrabri LGA population is approximately 12,925 individuals, with the North West Slopes and Plains area (encompassing the LGAs of Moree Plains Shire Council, Narrabri Shire Council, Gunnedah Shire Council and Liverpool Plains Shire Council) including about 55,000 residents.
- As of 2012, the population grew by 21.25%!
- Just some of the mining projects, both ongoing and planned include:
- Whitehaven Coal – Narrabri North coal mine
- Aston Resources – Maules Creek Project ($2 Billion)
- BHP Billiton – Caroona coal lease (near Gunnedah)
- Santos – Coal seam gas project in Pilliga woodland
- $210 Million Hunter Rail Expansion
Agriculture products include items such as wheat, cattle, sheep and cotton. Per the Gunnedah Shire and Council, “Gunnedah Saleyards is one of the top four in NSW, consistently yarding over 120,000 prime beef cattle per annum. The yards inject around $80M into the district’s economy.”
- Supply and Demand:
- New housing supply is low – only 18 homes were listed for rent on realestate.com.au. The number of approvals for new dwellings as of February 2014, for Narrabri is 3.
- Billions of dollars are being expended on improvements and upgrades to mining, transport and rail infrastructure in the area.
- Air – Aeropelican provides flights between Sydney and Narrabri seven days a week from the Narrabri Airport.
- Coach – Greyhound services Narrabri on the Melbourne-Brisbane route.
- Bus service – (HACC) community bus service. Route between Wee Waa/Narrabri/Boggabri and Tamworth available fortnightly on Wednesdays.
- Train service – CountryLink: Daily Explorer passenger service round trip between Sydney and Moree going through Narrabri and Boggabri. Monday and Friday a rail coach is available to and from Wee Waa.
- Shopping: Main street and surrounding neighbourhood (walking distance); McDonalds Fashions; Authentic Trademarks; Barrakets Fashion Centre.
- Art/Antiques: Johanne Jessen; Graeme Compton; Tracey Holcombe; The Patch Work Shed.
- Entertainment/Dining: Narrabri RSL Club; Crossing Theatre; CSIRO Australia Telescope; Nelson’s Honey Factory; Seplin Estate Winery; Narrabri Museum.
- Outdoor attractions: Namoi Valley Aqua Farm, lots of great fishing holes in and around the Shire – most are accessible on black soil access tracks; Mt. Kaputar national park; Barber’s Lagoon and Pinnacle; Pilliga Hot Bore Baths; Dripping Rock; Yarrie Lake; Rocky Creek Glacial Area.
- Average growth over the last 10 years is 8.35%.
- A majority of the households comprise of couples with children (42%) and couples without children (27%). The bulk of individuals in Narrabri are aged from 0 to 14 years.
Your Investment Property Online,. (2014). NSW Excerpt From The 2013 June Market Report. Retrieved 3 June 2014, from http://www.yourinvestmentpropertymag.com.au/market-report/nsw/nsw-excerpt-from-the-2013-june-market-report-176039.aspx
News.com.au,. (2014). Coolest hotspots in 2014. Retrieved 1 June 2014, from http://www.news.com.au/finance/real-estate/coolest-hotspots-in-2014/story-fndban6l-1226783727619
Sydney Morning Herald Environment, NSW government to fast-track Santos’ coal seam gas project near Narrabri. Retrieved 2 June 2014, from http://www.smh.com.au/environment/nsw-government-to-fasttrack-santos-coal-seam-gas-project-near-narrabri-20140221-337ge.html
Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census Data 2011, Retrieved 2 June 2014, from
NextHotSpot.com.au, Census Data – “The Good, The Bad and the Obviously Untrue”, Retrieved 7 June 2014, from http://www.nexthotspot.com.au/page/property_hotspot_5th_july.html
Australian Bureau of Statistics, ABS Statistics, Retrieved 8 June 2014, from http://stat.abs.gov.au/Index.aspx?QueryId=541
Narrabri.net, Narrabri Transport, Retrieved 4 June 2014, from http://www.narrabri.net/Document1.aspx?id=1896