Melbourne Airport rail link a game changer for commercial property

Melbourne’s airport rail link could be a boon for commercial property in the city’s west.

Melbourne’s proposed airport rail link – set to go via Sunshine after backing for that route from the Federal Government earlier this week – could be a “game-changer” for commercial property in the city’s west.

REA chief economist Nerida Conisbee says the long-mooted link, which is tipped to cost between $8 billion and $13 billion and now has support from both major parties in Victoria and the Federal Government, could deliver “big pluses” to current and potential commercial investors in the area.

She says the link, running fast trains from Melbourne’s main airport at Tullamarine to Southern Cross train station, through the western suburbs, with a stop in Sunshine, is well overdue.

“It’s worth noting that as a growing, thriving city, Melbourne absolutely needs this rail line from the airport into the city. Melbourne is clearly lacking in that transport infrastructure, especially when compared to Sydney or Brisbane,” Conisbee says.

“In this busy, competitive business world, it’s vital people are able to get off a plane in a major city and easily be able to get a train into the city that’s super-quick.”

Qantas, Melbourne Airport

Melbourne Airport passenger traffic is tipped to continue to increase. Picture: Getty

While Sunshine and the western suburbs more generally “don’t have much of a commercial property market at present”, the proposed link could change all that, Conisbee says.

“Thinking specifically about the commercial side of real estate, it will absolutely be a good thing. It could be a game-changer, for sure,” she says.

“While most of the commercial property in Melbourne is currently in the south-east and the east, maybe this will kick it off for this area, especially with a designated stop in Sunshine. We know of course that commercial property with good transport infrastructure does well.”

Local authorities may also look to amend planning rules to make commercial development in the area more attractive, Conisbee adds.

“Potentially, they might look at allowing designated areas for higher levelled office developments and then there would be a push for offices, for example.

“The link will probably lead to greater investment in Sunshine more broadly, which is only a good thing for the local economy too.”

The link, which would deliver passengers from the airport to the city in about 20 minutes, was first discussed in 1958, years before the airport was even built.

The Andrews government is currently working on a full business case for the link and if re-elected on Saturday, would start construction by 2022. It would be open in 2026