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Health precincts

Remember when a visit to the doctor could result in a series of appointments all over the place, such as going to get an x-ray, or a blood test, maybe see a physio and then the pharmacist?

That need to travel far and wide to receive comprehensive health care for any one complaint is becoming rarer.  In many areas around Australia we are seeing a clustering of medical services, and it’s not just for user convenience.  It makes economic sense for these professionals to be co-located.

So, for example, in the Western Sydney suburb of Westmead, we see both a public and private hospital, recovery and rehabilitation, a pathology provider, psychiatric services, and so forth.

The Westmead precinct is transforming through the Westmead Redevelopment.

These health hubs result in a large number of jobs, and many of the people employed in them are shift workers.  After all, we get sick at all hours of the day and night, not just regular week-day business hours.  And so, these precincts become communities, operating 24/7.  They need to provide the regular amenities required by visitors and residents in ordinary suburbs, such as child care facilities and parking stations.

As a result of observing this outcome, we are now seeing the first of these health precincts being constructed virtually from the ground up, instead of health services aggregating over time in an unplanned way.  We are creating mixed-use precincts based on health and wellbeing, such as Oceanside on the Sunshine Coast, which includes both private and public hospitals, a retirement village and medi-hotel for patients who don’t require hospital admission. As well as a range of other support services such as dining and shopping.  And, of course, residential dwellings for key workers, retirees and aged care.

These types of projects have very good long-term fundamentals for investment.  Because they attract professionals and sessional workers, they can deliver good rental outcomes, particularly where there is a limited amount of housing within walking distance.  More and more people want to live close to their employment, especially if there is out of hours commuting involved.  Some will even choose to rent an apartment near to work, but return to a permanent home elsewhere – perhaps a rural property – at the end of their work week.

As the investors better understand what the opportunities look like, we think there will be market interest in more than just residential investment in health precincts.  There will be those wishing to purchase smaller office-type accommodation for rental to professional service providers of which there are now a wide range in the health area as well as associated facilities such as medi-hotels, childcare and serviced apartments.

It should be noted that health is in fact the fastest growing employment sector in Australia, including retailing.  We only have to look at the endless increases in our private insurance premiums to get a sense of that.  And with the extent of ageing in our population, it’s highly likely that these specialised precincts will provide great opportunities for those wishing to invest in property.


Get it touch

For more information or to discuss your property research requirements, please contact Amy Williams on 02 9221 5211 or amy.williams@macroplan.com.au.

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