There is land for 860 dwellings in various stages of development in Alice Springs, yet if you wanted to buy a residential block you'd be pushed to find one. And this is counting only 150 dwellings in Kilgariff which will ultimately provide 4500.
Nothing illustrates more how dysfunctional the town's land development "system" is, a key reason for the current exodus of productive, middle-class families.
The biggest major projects – Coolibah Estate, Emily Valley and White Gums – are foundering or are being delayed while at the other end of the spectrum are projects that would make a mining camp appear a leafy suburb (see drawing).
What is a housing block worth? There are so few available that it's difficult to tell.
The hard numbers are for blocks in Stirling Heights, says veteran real estate man Doug Fraser, which went for an average $120,000 in 2006, and Albrecht Drive for an average of $150,000 in 2009.
He says most of the world's towns and cities grow from their fringes: Alice did with Larapinta, Morris Soak, Dixon Road, New Eastside, Sadadeen.
Native title put a stop to this process although the government – as the Opposition tirelessly pointed out – had options of putting the public good ahead of the demands of a minority.
Instead of taking advantage of the vast amount of space around the town, developers had to buy up "infill" such as old caravan parks, at a massive cost, and the residential land crisis was born. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.