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Demand driving up real estate prices



They may quote slightly different numbers, but real estate market watchers seem to agree that the Sunshine Coast is starting to feel some of the heat from the Lower Mainland’s exploding housing prices.

Some analysts have also suggested the Sunshine Coast market, as well as markets in places like Qualicum Beach, Nanaimo and Victoria, is being driven by more than just high demand.  They’ve seen a demographic shift, as aging baby boomers “cash out” of their high-priced Lower Mainland properties.

Gary Little, a real estate agent who’s been closely tracking Sunshine Coast market statistics since 2009, says that matches what he’s seeing.

“In general, most of my clients tend to be in their 50s or more,” Little said. “That’s actually been quite common for some time. But I can tell you the last few deals I’ve done, the clients came from Vancouver, Port Moody, Delta and North Vancouver.”

Little also believes it’s driving up prices to their highest levels in years, with more properties going for prices above asking than before.

“They [Vancouver-based buyers] came over here and sort of caught us by surprise. They initially took up the best properties and the inventory goes down. And, there’s more people coming and they’ve got money, so it drives the prices up … I see it day-to-day,” Little said.

“What we’re seeing now is the asking price is starting to inch up, we’re seeing activity, we’re seeing quick sales.”

Realtor Kenan MacKenzie told Coast Reporter his experience has been a little different. He said he’s definitely seen a spike in activity, high prices and even bidding wars. But he’s not convinced older baby boomers selling expensive Vancouver real estate and using the profits to buy here is the biggest reason behind it.

MacKenzie said he’s seen younger buyers bypassing the overheated Lower Mainland market altogether and looking to the Sunshine Coast for more affordable options, and the hottest market segment is properties under $500,000. MacKenzie also said other factors are coming together to drive the Coast market higher.

“I think we’ve set ourselves up for the perfect storm,” he noted. “We have Chinese investors on the Sunshine Coast who have bought into business and are buying homes to live here, you’ve got young people trying to move [here], you’ve got the boomers trying to move [here], you’ve got Americans potentially coming back into the marketplace.”

Both men agree that the market conditions are unprecedented and it’s largely a case of simple supply and demand. MacKenzie and Little estimate the stock of detached homes on the market right now is about 300, which is fewer than needed to fill the needs of potential buyers.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver’s latest numbers show the benchmark price of single-family detached home on the Sunshine Coast hit $399,600 in February, up 13.8 per cent over last year. Little uses a slightly different method to crunch the data, and his analysis shows a median price (meaning half of the sales were higher and half lower) of $451,000 in February, with a “12-month rolling average” of $427,026.  No matter which number you use, it’s a significant increase.

“In 21 years as a realtor I’ve never seen a market as active as we have now, because basically there’s more buyers than we have product for,” MacKenzie said.

According to Little, one key difference between the Lower Mainland and Sunshine Coast markets is the motivation of the buyers. He said the fears over speculation being seen in the Vancouver area aren’t being reflected here.

“They’re actually moving, I don’t think we’re seeing any speculation over here. I don’t think anybody’s buying over here and saying, ‘I’m going to sell again in three months for more money,’” Little said. “Most people are coming over here to live.”

While an influx of buyers of any sort is good news for people with property to sell, the possibility that the trend-behind-the-trend is accelerating the growth of the 60-plus demographic on the Sunshine Coast creates challenges.

Projections from BC Stats say the proportion of people over 60 on the Sunshine Coast will hit 39 per cent by the end of this year, compared to 33 per cent in 2011. By contrast, the percentage of people 30 to 59 is expected to drop from 41 per cent in 2011 to 36 per cent by the end of this year.

Anne Titcomb of the Sunshine Coast Seniors Planning Table told Coast Reporter the demographic shift is something recent Vital Signs reports have predicted, and getting ready for it was one of the reasons the Planning Table was formed.

Titcomb said while the obvious impact is a need for more services for seniors and planning approaches that take an aging population into account, the change could also affect the younger demographic the area is trying to attract.

“With the rise in the cost of housing that seems to be happening here now, I worry about the tipping of the scale – it’s never good to have a big imbalance in population – but I’m more worried about the ‘worker bees’ being able to afford housing now,” Titcomb said.

“We want to have people available to support seniors.”

That’s a worry for MacKenzie, too. As increased demand leads to more construction, he said, builders could see a shortage of workers in the trades, and those who move here to fill the gap could have a hard time affording homes.

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Market Place

Home in blue-chip street sells for $4.1 million



Home in blue-chip street sells for $4.1 million

Home in blue-chip street sells for $4.1 million
Home in blue-chip street sells for $4.1 million
Home in blue-chip street sells for $4.1 million
Home in blue-chip street sells for $4.1 million

Home in blue-chip street sells for $4.1 million


The canal-front home at 59 Witta Circle, Noosa Heads, sold on April 30 for $4.1 million through Tom Offerman Real Estate.


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Market Place

Queensland’s population hits 5 million people today



Queensland's population hits 5 million people today
PHOTO: Is this Queensland’s 5 millionth person? Cordy Kerr-Kennedy was born yesterday in Townsville. (ABC News: Mark Jeffery)

Queensland’s population has tipped the 5 million mark today, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has told State Parliament.

Ms Palaszczuk said several expectant families were on standby to welcome the state’s five-millionth resident.

“Somewhere today a brand new mum and dad will be eager to meet their new arrival,” she told the house.

“The whole family will want to know: is it a boy or is it a girl? And the doctor will say, ‘congratulations, it’s a Queenslander’.”

Ms Palaszczuk said the two main drivers of the increase were migration growth, particularly from New South Wales, and from 60,000 babies being born in the past year.

Queensland's population hits 5 million people today
 The state’s five-millionth resident was born today.(ABC North Queensland: Nathalie Fernbach)

“Overseas and interstate migration is up by 50,000 people in the past year, 19,000 came from interstate … more than 12,000, or 230 a week, move from New South Wales to Queensland,” she said.

ABS data also revealed the fastest and largest-growing area in Queensland in 2016-17 was Pimpama on the Gold Coast, which grew by 3,000 people.

Large growth also occurred in Jimboomba on Brisbane’s south side and in North Lakes — a suburb north of the city — which both increased by 2,100 people.

Coomera on the Gold Coast and Springfield Lakes in Ipswich also experienced large growth up 1,400 people.

The State Government’s population counter gives a “synthetic estimate” of the number of current Queenslanders, assuming a total population increase of one person every 6 minutes and 22 seconds.

Earlier this year the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said Queensland’s population was growing at 1.7 per cent and was projected to tick over to 5 million in May.

ABS data released in March also revealed Brisbane was one of the country’s fastest-growing cities and had increased by 48,000 in 2017, hitting 2.4 million people.

 Queensland's population hits 5 million people today
PHOTO: The ABS estimated Queensland’s population was growing 1.7 per cent a year. (AAP: Dan Peled)

ABS demography director Anthony Grubb said the state’s population had “come a long way” in the last century.

“In 1901 the population was half a million; a tenth of what it is today… it took 37 years to hit the 1 million milestone in 1938 and another 36 years to reach 2 million in 1974,” he said.

But Mr Grubb said population growth “picked up the pace” after that, taking just 18 years to reach 3 million then only another 14 years to hit 4 million in 2006.

Queensland could be leading growth state in future

Population demographer Dr Elin Charles-Edwards said although Queensland is not currently the fastest growing state, it is possible it could top the leader board later down the track.

‘Not in the short-term, but Queensland is coming up off a relatively subdued growth so perhaps we might be entering an era of more rapid growth,” she said.

Dr Charles-Edwards said the challenges that generally come with increased population could be managed in Queensland.

“As long as we keep up and don’t take our eye off the ball we can continue to absorb quite high levels of growth… but really it’s keeping up with the infrastructure that’s the key challenge,” she said.

Dr Charles-Edwards said it was important to note some parts of the state, particularly in western Queensland, were experiencing population decline.

“While the south-east corner is growing and also many Indigenous communities are growing, other parts of the state are shrinking,” she said.

“Perhaps we could do more to encourage people to move outside the south-east corner.

“If we were able to work out some way to decentralise our population, growth a little bit further up into the northern regional centres, I think that would benefit the growth of south-east Queensland.”


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Market Place

APRA to end cap on property investor loan growth



APRA to end cap on property investor loan growth

APRA is removing the 10 per cent ‘speed limit’ on investor loan growth.
Photo: Louise Kennerley

The banking regulator is axing a 10 per cent speed limit on bank lending to property investors, saying the cap has served its purpose and improved credit standards.

With Sydney house prices falling and credit growth slowing, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority on Thursday said it would remove the cap for bank boards that could prove they had been following its guidelines on prudent lending.

In late 2014, amid a surge in borrowing by property investors and rapid house price growth, APRA took the rare step of setting a 10 per cent limit on the annual growth in banks’ housing investor loan portfolios.

The measure has rocked the mortgage market in recent years, prompting banks to jack up interest rates for housing investors, and demand borrowers stump up bigger deposits.

But on Thursday, APRA chairman Wayne Byres said it was prepared to remove the measure because there had been an improvement in lending standards and a slowdown in credit growth.

“The temporary benchmark on investor loan growth has served its purpose. Lending growth has moderated, standards have been lifted and oversight has improved,” Mr Byres

Even so, the regulator will retain a separate 2017 policy that requires banks to limit their new interest-only lending to less than 30 per cent of all new home loan approvals.

APRA also said there was “more to do” in improving other aspects of banks’ lending, including how they assessed borrowers’ expenses, their existing debts, and the approval of loans that fell outside of banks’ formal lending policies.

APRA said it expected banks to introduce limits on the proportion of new lending that could be done at “very high” debt-to-income levels.

“In the current environment, APRA supervisors will continue to closely monitor any changes in lending standards,” Mr Byres said.

“The benchmark on interest-only lending will also continue to apply. APRA will consider the need for further changes to its approach as conditions evolve, in consultation with the other members of the Council of Financial Regulators.”


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