Governments clearly understand the importance of transport and accessibility, making significant investments in infrastructure.
Last year the New Zealand government unveiled its plans to invest a record amount in land-based transport systems over a three-year period, with most road investment going to the regions rather than the big cities. New state highway projects on the list included Puhoi to Warkworth, the Waikato Expressway, the Mt Messenger bypass, the Manawatu Gorge replacement, Transmission Gully, and the Christchurch Southern Motorway. Billions would also be invested in road maintenance. Overall, the investment in New Zealand’s transport system is intended to help grow its regions and make it easier to get around cities.
This year, Infrastructure Australia released the 2019Infrastructure Priority List with some inclusions focused on getting the most out of existing infrastructure through smart technology. Projects include the Monash Freeway Upgrade Stage 2 and North East Link in Victoria, Adelaide’s North–South Corridor, Sydney CBD motorways, and theCentenary Motorway, Warrego Highway east corridor and Broadbeach–Burleigh Heads public transport connectivity in Queensland.
Congestion in cities and faster-growing regional centres not only has significant consequences for the economy, but also impacts on communities, reducing people’s access to education, health services, employment and other opportunities.
Transport infrastructure projects respond to the challenges of population growth in both cities and regional centres, and particularly address the need for frequent and accessible public transport to reduce city congestion and maintain world-renowned liveability.
New transport infrastructure can play a part in generating demand for housing and may even lead to price rises in adjacent suburbs.
Sometimes the benefit to an area is obvious. Other times there is more of a flow-on effect. There are property investors who keenly watch transport projects with a view to determining future property ‘hotspots’.
Generally, an area’s proximity to major centres, its facilities and lifestyle attributes affect its ‘value’. When new transport infrastructure improves these factors, the value of the area may increase noticeably.
Major connecting roads do a lot to alter people’s perception of distance and in some instances, an outer suburb may have better access to a CBD than suburbs closer to the city because of better roads.
New infrastructure can also increase a market’s attraction through improving its livability in many ways, such as better safety, allowing access to areas of beauty and increasing green space.
Projects involving rail networks, new major roads and significant improvements to existing roads have the potential to impact on property values. Extensions to an existing rail line, for example, may improve the prospects of outlying suburbs by providing better access to the city.
Similarly, a light rail system may provide suburbs that previously relied on buses with direct rail links to the CBD and other major centres.
New bridges and even the widening of roads can impact areas by reducing congestion and reducing travel times.
Those investors on top of their game will hope to take advantage of transport infrastructure developments and invest in the relevant areas before other buyers realise the full benefit of the projects.
Good transport infrastructure, and good public transport, is vital for a thriving economy.
Property investors are wise to research on what projects are in planning stages; and with the next announcement of a new transport infrastructure plan, think about how it will affect surrounding suburbs.