FionaStan

Health precincts equals healthy profits

When investing in property, we look to specialised areas which the rest of the market doesn’t understand so it’s possible to make that extra dollar.

One such specialised area is known as a health precinct and these are becoming quite differentiated in what they offer. Many of them include the whole gamut of medical services from public and private hospitals to allied health professionals, as well as aged care, medical hotels, retail facilities, and even child care.

You think I’m kidding? Well, I’m not.

If you took a drive to the Oceanside precinct on the Sunshine Coast, you’d see all of the above, including the Thompson Institute, a mind and neuroscience research body which has moved up there to take advantage of proximity to two private hospitals – including a brand new one with 750 beds – as well as all the other available facilities. Retirement living and aged care options are also being constructed, as are a significant number of town houses and smaller dwellings.

So investment opportunities exist here for purchasing residential or health-related commercial properties for rental or to live in.

These types of projects should be looked at closely because the health precincts of the future are highly labour intensive and also accommodate shift workers who like to be close to work, especially at night for their personal safety, so proximity is a huge advantage. Apart from workers, we might expect that up to 20% of the residential market will be made up by older people who also wish to enjoy ease of access to the full range of medical services.

In Australia, it’s not just happening on the Sunshine Coast. The Gold Coast has an important new hospital and the whole area of Southport is becoming health and education related. Given that a new casino might join the larger precinct in the next 5-10 years, there’s great investment potential in Southport.

Health precincts provide the convenience of visiting your GP or specialist, and being able to go straight from their rooms to the referred allied services, such as X-ray, pathology and physio. There can also be the further synergy between universities working side-by-side with teaching hospitals in the same area. So the whole of these precincts is definitely greater than the sum of the parts.

The Sunshine Coast University has a medical faculty at Oceanside, and Griffith University has its medical faculty next to the new hospital at Southport. The number of jobs to be found in these intensive environments is enormous. They really are the cities of the future.

Sunshine Coast University Hospital is a tertiary teaching hospital designed to meet the growing demand for hospital services as well as offer further opportunity to train local residents to be the health workforce of the future.

Precincts are emerging all over Australia: in Newcastle, around the John Hunter Hospital, Perth around Fiona Stanley Hospital, and in Melbourne we have the Monash Medical Centre and Monash Children’s Hospital. Of course, we mustn’t forget Australia’s premier health precinct, Westmead in Sydney, which has the highest concentration of health professionals in the whole country.

Historically, investors haven’t looked closely at the stability and long-term potential of these types of precincts. But with a fast ageing population – the latest census figures say one in every 6 of us is over 65 – there is an increasing demand for medical services – perhaps now is the time to invest.


Get in touch:

To understand more about investing in this sector or for more information, please contact Amy Williams, National Marketing Manager on 02 9221 5211 or amy.williams@macroplan.com.au.

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