ACCOMMODATION for trades and services suppliers is shaping up to be a key challenge of the New Bendigo Hospital project.
The $630 million project is expected to create more than 770 jobs during construction and is tipped to push demand for rental properties through the roof.
Bendigo Real Estate Institute of Victoria chairman Matt Leonard attended this week’s “Journey of a Generation” New Bendigo Hospital project community dinner and questioned where all the trades people would be housed.
“We saw the demand for accommodation when the Bendigo Bank was being constructed; it was huge,” Mr Leonard said. “We’ve got a division of our company now which is furnished accommodation and that was created out of demand during construction of the Bendigo Bank.
“We’re now talking about a project that is 10 times the size of the Bendigo Bank project.
“So my question was, ‘how much accommodation will be required throughout the project and will that be more furnished accommodation or longer-term rentals?’”
Mr Leonard said many people did not fully comprehend the scale of the project and the demand for housing it would result in.
“Without being able to give statistics, at the dinner, they were able to say there’s a lot of accommodation that is going to be required from furnished, normal rentals, caravan parks and shared housing,” he said.
“From a real estate point of view, yes, there’s pros and cons as a result of this.
“The pros are that this, generally speaking, will push yields up and rental returns.
“When that happens that also tends to push prices up and we would anticipate that for homeowners they could see somewhere between seven and 10 per cent growth over the next year.
“But the negative side is that is the vacancy rate at the moment, which is about one per cent, will definitely fall.
“So it can be harder for your mums and dads, university students, people who are relocating to Bendigo or renters in the Bendigo market to actually find a rental property.
“In a nutshell, property will be in very hot demand.”
New Bendigo Hospital project business broker Leah Sertori said accommodation was one of the key focuses of current discussion.
“We’re working with the accommodation services people in Bendigo and I’m just starting to work with real estate agents now because we really want to direct them to rental accommodation where they might be able to share a couple of them, or three of them, in a house,” she said.
“We’re also aware of the need to leave enough affordable housing for families and people on a low income in Bendigo.
“The only way to do that is having an organised co-ordinated approach and understanding where the opportunities are for the trades people coming in from outside of town to move where it’s not going to have a big impact on our community.”
An Exemplar Health spokesman said it was too early to determine how much accommodation would be required.
“It’s just not appropriate for us to be telling the workers where they’re going to live,” he said.
“It’s their responsibility to sort out where they’re living.
“And as the design process is not even complete a lot of the recruitment hasn’t even begun, it’s just not possible for us to tell at this stage how many workers would not be from the Bendigo or central Victoria region.”