It may have been named Australia’s “Sh*t Town of 2022” but this major regional Queensland city has some cracking real estate at prices that will make cityslickers stuck in gridlock start frothing at the mouth.
Townsville, the unofficial capital of the North, was given the controversial title by satirical Facebook page ‘Sh*t Towns of Australia’ for the second year in a row.
“Brownsville won in an absolute mudslide, registering more than twice the votes of its nearest competitor,” the announcement on the social media site said.
“This is Towntown’s second successive brown crown, capping another successfully sh*t year for the Queensland craphole.”
Townsville secured 30 per cent of the vote ahead of Mount Druitt (14%) in NSW and Alice Springs (12.7%).
Other towns to make the list included Port Pirie (SA), Frankston (Victoria), Port Hedland (WA), Fyshwick (ACT) and Queenstown (TAS).
But is Townsville really that sh*t?
Sure, the youth crime rate leaves a lot to be desired and there are murder logs (crocs) in some waterways, ninja stingers at the beaches in summer and a mystery dome that often sits over the city and propels away rain on oppressivley hot days, but there is also a lot to love about this often overlooked metropolis.
Firstly, its tourism slogan is “find your shine”, and a recent campaign pointed out some local “doppelgangers” that mimick other global destinations such as the Amazon (Hinchinbrook Channel), Costa Rica (Maggie Island), Peru (Wallaman Falls) and Texas (Charters Towers), to name a few.
Townsville is also the HQ for the Great Barrier Reef so offers heaps of diving opportunities, and there are sailing adventures around a host of islands.
It is also home to the North Queenland Cowboys, and a wide array of heritage places.
But let’s talk real estate.
For starters, Townsville’s most expensive house sold in a secret deal for $6 million in 2021.
That sprawling mansion has five bedrooms and five bathrooms over multiple levels with fantastic views over Magnetic Island and the Coral Sea.
For about that same price you can get a 220sq m unit in Sydney.
But in Townsville, a massive Bushland Beach residence on a 1007sq m block that was listed between $2.5m and $2.99m is under offer
A beachfront Rowes Bay residence is listed for sale by expressions of interest, as is a residence high on the ridge in Townsville’s blue-chip suburb, Castle Hill.
And a stunning CBD Balinese-inspired house is listed for $2.25m negotiable.
Under $2m gets you a holiday house on Magnetic Island, or a brand new four-bedroom luxe residence in North Ward.
There is also restored Queenslanders in Belgian Gardens, and acreage in Alice River, all available at prices that buyers interstate, or southeast Queensland for that matter, would fall over themselves to sign on the dotted line.
Herron Todd White Townsville valuer Hayden Lynam said the number of high-end sales in outer suburbs of the city had been surprising.
“The sale prices being achieved in these locations are at levels generally not seen outside the
inner city,” he said.
“This along with the level of increases still being experienced in rental rates are some
of the surprises playing out in the current market.
“Inflation and increasing interest rates will continue to impact our market, however Townsville has yet to see the significant market downtown that the major cities have recently experienced.”
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So its controversial title doesn’t appear to be deterring the big sales, and the low vacancy rates suggest there is no great flow out of the garrison city.
The latest Canstar Rising Stars 2023 report also pinpoints Kirwan as a suburb to watch in the new year.
And it would seem there are plenty of supporters of The Ville, as many locals call it.
“Townsville is home and I’m more than proud to join the throngs in congratulating us all on another sh*t win. Looking good for 3 in a row,” said one follower of the Facebook page.
While another said: “I am happy for everyone to think its sh*t here then they won’t move here…. our little secret hey Townsville”.
Ray White’s Julie Mahoney summed it up best, saying she had done five inspections within 24 hours, taken calls from a buyer wanting to move from Canada and from an investor looking to buy with the plan to move back at a later date.
“I have travelled the globe and moved my family back here to raise my kids,” she said.
“We have freedom, a sense of community, and how dare they judge us on a minority.
“Stop being woke. We can’t be that sh*t. Lots of people are moving here.”