Nila Sweeney

Spotting a boom is easy. In fact, your local daily newspaper will be quick to point out the latest boom towns both near and far. However, by the time you've read about it, by and large the opportunity to make the largest gains will be long gone according to Flynn de Freitas, principal of boutique property research and investment firm Omega Investments.

"Infrastructure spotting is no different," de Freitas writes in the latest issue of Your Investment Property magazine. "Towns that become infrastructure towns follow a six-stage pattern of growth, from the project's initial announcement to its peak and finally its wind-down stage. Anyone can pick the peak - the real money is made by picking the town before the initial announcement or confirmation of project."

Creating your short-list of potential towns
The most important step in finding infrastructure towns is to create a 'short-list' of potential towns. This enables you to prioritise which towns you will do your due diligence on, prior to searching for suitable investment properties.

There are five key steps to creating an infrastructure-spotting short-list:

1. Top 20 resource companies
More than 95% of infrastructure projects in Australia are privately funded, so to find the golden egg - look for the goose. An excellent place to start is to scan the websites of the top 20 resource companies on the stock exchange (

2. Industry magazines and websites
The next stop is to scour resource industry magazines and websites, as many projects (particularly those in the 'pre-feasibility' stage) are not detailed on company websites. Other projects are predominantly funded by state or federal government money. To find these projects, you'll need to get to 'know' the industry - and this is where the real work begins.

3. Research reports
There are virtually no specific research reports on infrastructure towns in Australia. For investors, this is both a challenge - you will need to read more generic reports - and an opportunity - you can identify great investments before other investors.

4. Population and growth trends
Last month, I described an attractive infrastructure town as having a population of less than 30,000 people (and a population of more than 5,000). Following this, the next step in creating your short-list is determining the population of the potential infrastructure town you have identified.

To read the full article, check out the latest issue of Your Investment Property, on sale now.

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