Case Study: Mackay, QLD

It’s been quite a while since we last had a location case study, with Chinchilla on the spotlight. This time around, we move from the Surat Basin to a rather big country town near the Bowen Basin—Mackay in Queensland.

Profiling Mackay

To have a better understanding of an area as a potential investment site, it is important to know the statistics and characteristics of the location—where it is, who lives there, the industries that thrive, and other factors that drive the area. And what better way to understand the prospect location than to buckle up and have a go-see at it!

That’s what we exactly did for our Mackay case study. Aside from researching about the place, we actually drove along the streets of Mackay to have a “feel” of the different locations and assess the investment potential of this place. But before we get to those locations, let us get to know Mackay based on its demographics,  services and facilities available, industry of employment, and other factors that drive its economy.

Where it is


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Mackay is  on the eastern coast of Queensland. It is approximately 338 kms South of Townsville, 337 kms North of Rockhampton, and 971 kms North of Brisbane. On Mackay’s west is the Bowen basin, where the largest coal reserves in Australia can be found.

Economic drive

Being located near the mining area, Mackay has been benefitting from the mining-related activities in Bowen basin. In fact, coal mining generates the biggest source of job in Mackay, with 8% of employed people working in coal mines. This is followed by education at 4.5%. Tourism is also catching up to be a big economic driver in Mackay, the region being home to some of Queensland’s scenic and cleanest beaches. Mackay also has several sports and recreational facilities that attract tourists all year-round.

Not to forget is agriculture—particularly the processing and manufacturing of sugar— the industry that thrives in Mackay, being the sugar capital of Australia.

It is also important to note that Mackay is one of the few cities in Australia to have survived the global financial crisis well, with indications of  seeing strong growth, good rental yields and low vacancy rates.

The people

Mackay is big by country towns’ standards. With a population of more than 112,000, households are composed of  families with children (46.4%) or couples without children (39.1%). The median age of the population is 36 years.

Services and Facilities

Mackay is complete with services and facilities to serve such a huge population. Education, recreation, healthcare, shopping and dining facilities are conveniently sprawled all over the region.

For education, Mackay has campuses of the Central Queensland University, James Cook University and the Central Queensland Institute of TAFE.  For healthcare,  Mackay Base Hospital (public) and the Mater Misericordiae Hospital (private) provide 100-200 beds each in a range of medical and surgical specialities.

When it comes to recreation, like we mentioned earlier, Mackay has sports facilities and parklands aside from the region’s 31 pristine beaches.

Mackay’s dwellings

Around 85% of dwellings in Mackay are separate houses, 44.7% of which have three bedrooms and 32.9% have four bedrooms. Nearly 30% of dwellings in Mackay are rented, with average rent at $315.

When it comes to styles of housing, a variety can be found in Mackay. There are old-style houses using weatherboard, Queenslander type of houses, and 70s-90s types of abode.

What’s next

Having given you a profile of Mackay, what’s next is we present different suburbs in Mackay and their potential to be an investment location. Watch for it!

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