Mackay is a pretty big place, as far as ‘country towns’ go.  In fact, you’d say it’s more of a city than a town, with over 112,000 people living there.

In part 3 of our case study, helping Serg to purchase an investment property in Mackay, QLD, we’ll take a closer look at Mackay as an investment location to help us determine which parts of Mackay may be suitable.

If you haven’t yet, check out:

Whenever you’re looking into an area as a potential investment location it’s important to have an understanding of that location – where it is, who lives there, what drives it, the individual pockets within the location, the facilities and services….you get the idea!  Mackay is a big place and in order to really understand the location well, we undertook both desktop analysis of the location as well as some real life ‘pounding the pavement’.

Ok, ‘driving the streets’ is probably more accurate!  We spent four days on the ground in Mackay getting to know the location and the types of properties available in Mackay.

Where is it?

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Mackay is located in Central Queensland on the East Coast, approximately 338km South of Townsville, 337km North of Rockhampton and 971km North of Brisbane.  It’s nearby to the Bowen Basin mining region and therefore supports a good deal of mining related activity.  In addition to mining related industry, Mackay has a strong agricultural industry, particularly related to sugar and some tourist activity as well.

Who lives there?

According to the 2011 census data the population of the Mackay area is 112,798.  The majority of households in Mackay are families with children (46.4%) or couples without children (39.1%). The median age of the population is 36 years.

What drives Mackay?

Mackay is one of the few cities in Australia to have weathered the global financial crisis well, seeing strong growth, good rental yields and low vacancy rates.

Coal mining is the largest industry of employment in Mackay with 8% of employed people working in the coal mining industry.  Whilst some people work in coal mines located in the region, coal from nearby mines is transported to Mackay for export from the Hay Point and Dalrymple Bay coal terminals, some of the largest coal export ports in the world.


Processing and manufacturing of sugar is a large part of Mackay industry, with six sugar mills and a sugar refinery in Mackay.

There has been strong economic growth over the past years and the demand for housing has increased.  Much residential development is occurring in the suburbs of Mackay.

The second largest industry of employment is Education, with over 60 schools in the area as well as university and TAFE campuses.

Services and Facilities

Being a large regional centre, Mackay has all of the major facilities related to education, parklands, healthcare, eating, shopping and infrastructure.

There are campuses of the Central Queensland University, James Cook University and the Central Queensland Institute of TAFE.  There are 12 private schools, 3 state secondary schools, 25 state primary schools, 20 state pre-schools and 27 day care facilities.

Mackay Base Hospital (public) and the Mater Misericordiae Hospital (private) provide 100-200 beds each in a range of medical and surgical specialities.

There are several shopping centres in Mackay.  The largest being the Canelands shopping centre, a major shopping centre in the middle of Mackay’s CBD precinct.  Several other shopping centres are located in surrounding suburbs, such as Andergrove and Mount Pleasant.

Types of Dwellings in Mackay

According to the national census data from 2011, 85% of dwellings in Mackay are separate houses, with 44.7% of occupied private dwellings having 3 bedrooms and 32.9% having 4 bedrooms.

67.1% of occupied dwellings were owned or being purchased by the occupier, whilst  29.5% of occupied private dwellings are rented, this is in on par with the national figures for rentals.

There is a variety of old style housing, both high set and low set, often with weatherboard or cladding.


There are many examples of old Queenslander style houses in various parts of Mackay.


There are also homes from the 70s, 80s 90s brick and tile/ brick and colorbond type era.


There are also  many areas of housing where the housing developments are quite new or only just underway.


Local research has indicated that there is a high prevalence of asbestos in older style homes, so this is something to watch out for.


So there is a brief snapshot of Mackay, giving you an understanding of the overall location.  In the next part of our case study, we take a look at some of the individual suburbs of Mackay to help determine the best locations for properties which will suit Serg’s needs for his investment.

Stay tuned!


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