As featured in CQ News by Kristen Booth.
BUSINESSES doing well is a positive sign for the Central Queensland property market, according to local real estate agents.
Adams & Jones Property Specialists managing director Scott Gooderham said he had seen a shift in the market, with many vacant houses filling up.
"There has been a real shift and we are seeing confidence back with people buying houses,” he said.
"The average price is currently $370,000, up from $180,000.
"It's still below where it needs to go but the very encouraging thing here is there is confidence in the market.
"The fact that people are buying a residential house means that they've got work.”
Mr Gooderham was instrumental in the purchase of the old Emerald Home Hardware, now revitalised by local business owners Katlin and Stuart Curtis.
He said the site was once a "hive of activity” but was forced to close its doors during the downturn.
"This building was such an iconic part of Emerald,” Mr Gooderham said. "It was broken and no one saw its potential but it's getting a second lease of life now.
"The fact that people like Katlin and Stuart are confident to go and buy this site and invest hard earned money is because their business has grown and they are employing more people.
"It's really positive seeing the cycle, it's encouraging.”
Over the last two years, Mr Gooderham said the vacancy rate had dropped from 16 per cent to less than five per cent.
"Our vacancy rate for a very long time has been around 16 per cent,” he said.
"I got excited when it got to 12 per cent, I got ecstatic when it got to eight per cent and currently we're running around three to four per cent.
"There's some good energy in town at the moment, it's a good thing.”