For those of you who aren’t residents in south-east Queensland, you might have missed the story about land subsidence in the Ipswich suburb of Collingwood Park (click here to see a map of the subsidence area, provided by Queensland’s Department of Mines and Energy). Apparently there’s quite a number of old mines underneath the area, and over the past week or so there’s been a lot of land movement. This has lead to homes and roads cracking, and people being forced to leave their homes.
The Queensland Government has announced that it will buy back homes that are irrepairable, which is entirely appropriate. After all, it was the state government in the 1970s that allowed the suburb to be built, even though a report stated that there were issues with the mines. However, the government is unwilling to provide assistance to homes in the area that are undamaged, but have nevertheless dropped in value as a result of the subsidence (no pun intended). One elderly couple who until recently had their home on the market were hoping to get about $359,000 for the property, but they now estimate that they would get just $250,000. They have now withdrawn their property from the market, and that’s a real shame.
The Queensland Government reckons property prices will bounce back, although it will take people a while to forget this incident. On the positive, the Government has guaranteed that they will provide full assistance to all homes that are currently damaged by mine subsidence, and they will also provide for homes that might be damanged in the future. So at least there’s that confidence there that should anything unfortunate happen down the track, you will be covered. Unless, of course, a future government changes its mind, and then you’ll be up the creek without a paddle.
Homes currently for sale in Collingwood Park
I’ve just been taking a look at homes currently listed for sale in Collingwood Park at realestate.com.au. The subsidence issue certainly puts a different spin on some of the marketing statements. One could say that the market’s really moving in Collingwood Park (boom boom!). Check out some of these:
” Splendid split level double brick home …” – well, it is now! When the owners moved in it was all on one level.
“Slip Into Something New …” – like that giant new crack that suddenly appeared in the backyard.
“Roomy home with a large yard” – Large? Hey, they don’t call this place “The biggest little coal mine in Queensland” for nothing!
Seriously, you might pick up some really, really good buys now in the Collingwood Park area. Yes, there are some risks, but if the government is going to provide any necessary support (and they’d want to, if they really want another term in office), then I reckon you’d be OK. For further information, check out the Department of Mines and Energy, get informed, and buy wisely.
Note: Composite image created by Darryl Stringer … this is a photo from an earthquake in Peru, 1970.
Update: May 10, 2008 – Some Collingwood Park residents have been denied the opportunity to take out bank loans against the value of their property, with some banks allegedly saying that loan applications would be denied. I guess the banks assume that Collingwood Park property values have plummeted, and although prices might have dropped for now, I think they can and should climb back up to normal values fairly quickly. Maybe that won’t happen until people start seeing the Queensland Government take serious action (in terms of buying up or repairing damaged homes). Come on Anna Bligh, let’s get things happening in Collingwood Park so these people can get their lives back to normal again.
Update: May 21, 2008 – The Collingwood Park Subsidence Action Group met last night to discuss taking a class action against the Queensland Government. Good luck to them … it will be interesting to see how they go.
If any members of the Collingwood Park Subsidence Action Group would like to contact Real Estate Daily or leave a comment below, that would be great. I’d like to keep our readers informed on this issue, which I believe is an important one for all home owners in Queensland.
Furthermore, Premier Anna Bligh has confirmed that a seismological survey of the Ipswich area will take place:
“I understand that (local residents) were concerned about the wording of a letter. Can I reassure them, while the letter might have been worded more carefully, there is no shift to the Government’s commitment to this survey.”
– Anna Bligh
Update: June 7, 2008 – There was a news item on National Nine News this evening on the situation in Collingwood Park, and it’s not looking good for home owners in the area who are trying to sell. There was one home in particular which actually received a makeover from Foxtel’s Lifestyle Channel programme, “Selling Houses Australia”, and no-one’s interested. Click here to see what the Lifestyle Channel people did for the home … it’s pretty good! If you’re interested in picking up this great little 3 bedroom home in Collingwood Park, click here, or contact Michael Powell from Remax Revolution on 0404 490 922.
Apparently buyers are staying away from the entire suburb, including areas that have been left untouched by the mine subsidence. I can’t understand this. Seriously, the area affected by the mine subsidence is small (just a couple of streets), and the government has promised to provide assistance or buy your home if there are serious problems.