Elders Real Estate Katherine ended 2018 in fine style, taking out the Small Agency of the Year award at the Real Estate Institute NT Awards for Professional Excellence.
The triumphs have continued into 2019, with Principal Alison Ross winning the Elders National Award for Number 1 Rural Salesperson. She was also a finalist in the 2019 Telstra Women’s Busi-ness Awards in the Small Business Category. In addition, her team were finalists in the REIA Na-tional Awards for Excellence for Small Residential Agency of the Year.
We spoke to Alison about what’s behind her team’s success.
“Our local knowledge”, she says without hesitation. “I’ve lived in Katherine for 18 years, and I em-ploy local residents who have built their own futures and careers here”.
Real estate runs in Alison’s blood, with her mother teaching her the trade over 20 years ago. Alison got her start in Ceduna, gaining valuable experience before accepting an offer to head north. “I was up here on holiday in September 1999”, she remembers, “and I knew that the previous agent had been successful. Then I moved just as the market crashed, so there were a few hard years before I got my head above water. By then I’d established a social circle and made some great friends to go fishing and camping with so I stayed and made my life here”.
Times may have got easier from that rough start, but Alison never stops working hard. “We stay up to date with the market, but we look beyond that as well”, she says. “We look at what’s happening politically and economically, including the influence of the Federal Government, and we make sure we know what’s coming next. We like to be honest with our clients. If it’s a quiet market, there’s no point pretending that it isn’t. You can work with what you’ve got, but you have to be straightfor-ward”.
Despite its relatively low population of around 10,000 people, Katherine extends from Flora River Junction in the west to Maranboy in the east, and is bounded by the Fergussion River in the north and Sturt Plateau in the south. The township sits along the banks of the Katherine River from which it gets its name, with the central business district just 350 metres from the water.
The population is roughly one-quarter Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and three-quarters white Australian. The typical resident is unmarried, male, with a median age of 33. In contrast, the typical Australian is female, 37 and married.
That’s reflected in the types of property that are popular in the area, says Alison.
With a high transient population of government workers, including RAF officers, police, social ser-vices and health workers, there’s a high demand for good quality rental accomodation and lots of opportunities for investors.
Lifestyle properties are also popular, with Elders Katherine selling a lot of rural living properties spanning between five and 20 acres.
First home buyers and families moving into town from cattle stations complete the picture.
What to do
Unsurprisingly, Katherine’s location means tropical weather year round, averaging 35-39 degrees between October and February, and dropping only slightly to 30-32 degrees between May and Au-gust. The wet season runs from November to April and features monsoonal storms, sporadic cy-clones, and humidity over 80%. In the dry season, from May to October, the area is more habitable with clear blue skies and warm days.
If you’re visiting, time your visit for the Dry and you’ll see how vibrant Katherine becomes. The Ba-runga Festival is held in early June, celebrating Indigenous music, sport and culture with an em-phasis on culture and exchange. The Katherine Show and Rodeo puts rural fun on the agenda in July, while the Katherine Bird Festival aims to raise awareness of local birdlife and endangered species in particular – come in September for that one.
The Northern Territory is known for its natural beauty, so make sure you set aside time to explore. The Nitmiluk Gorge offers hidden waterfalls, Aboriginal rock art and sandy freshwater beaches. Canoe up the gorge or take a helicopter ride to see the whole system from the air.
Hikers will love the world-famous Jatbula Trail. At 58km and five days, it’s not easy – but it will re-ward you for the effort. Camp alongside swimming holes, trek through monsoon rainforests and take in stone country and waterfalls along the way.
With a fierce unmatchable beauty, Katherine is a place to fall in love with. And for Alison, selling real estate is part of that love. “You certainly get some lows”, she admits. “But when it’s good, it’s great. I love completing the negotiation, and feeling the satisfaction of wrapping up the sale and giv-ing the new owners their keys.
“Plus, I get to fly in helicopters”.