CHANGE was the name of the game in 2015 as the Sunshine Coast property market went from indifference to buoyant activity.
Much of the momentum that had built up toward the end of 2014 was not realised in the early part of this year.
National Property Research director Matthew Gross attributed much of this malaise to the fatigue and uncertainty the population was feeling from failed Federal budgets and political uncertainty.
This was due mainly to the changes of leadership in the Federal and State Governments since the GFC.
But the ascent of Malcolm Turnbull to Prime Minister and the business-as-usual approach of Annastacia Palaszczuk as Queensland Premier seemed to bring new-found confidence.
While Sydney and Melbourne property markets have been recording double digit lifts in house prices, it hasn’t been the same for the rest of Australia.
BT Financial Group chief economist Dr Chris Caton called for laser surgery to be performed on the Sydney and Melbourne markets to limit the risks of a housing bubble. At the same time he warned that regional Australia needed CPR to encourage growth on the back of the switch away from mining construction to production and the associated down
swing in property in those areas.
Yet the south-east Queensland property market is seeing value rewarded with strong, sustained growth that is expected to continue into 2016-17.
Interest rates dropped to a record low of 2% and Coast real estate agencies saw higher than expected prices being achieved for house sales.
While 2014 was dominated by the sub-$500,000 market, as buyers hunted for value and yield from an extremely tight rental market, the early part of 2015 saw the top end re-emerge, particularly in Noosa.
Ken Guy Buderim principal Danny Redman said the increased level of interest in the property market was highly predictable.
“Two years out we thought properties would return to value at this time,” he said, “but the confidence wasn’t coming from locals.
“They are seeing it now, they are realising it will be hard to find value in replacement as there will not be the stock levels they are used to.
“They have got some reference points now, the signal is supply may not match demand so it can only get better.”
The second half of 2015 has been extremely buoyant with numbers of sales increasing dramatically and days on the market decreasing.
Changes in the Sunshine Coast infrastructure are the main drivers of the economy, particularly the $1.8 billion Sunshine Coast University Hospital at Birtinya and the surrounding health hub.
Then there is the education and research hub at Sippy Downs with the University of the Sunshine Coast expanding, along with private and state schools and colleges.
The Maroochydore Principal Activity Centre is becoming a reality with development taking place on the fringes.
Infrastructure on the near-60ha greenacre site in the heart of Maroochydore is expected to start early in 2016 with the first lots set to be released soon after.
Aura, Stockland’s new residential community at Caloundra South, will be home to 50,000 people, while Palmview will see another 17,000 people being housed to the south of Sippy Downs.
The expansion of the Sunshine Coast Airport to include a second runway will boost the Sunshine Coast’s tourism sector that is already showing a 9.2% increase in visitors to June 30.
This is in response to the lower Australian dollar and the work of Visit Sunshine Coast, not only throughout Australia but in Europe and the UK.
Flights from Auckland have resumed and Qantas has re-introduced direct flights to Sydney.
Auctions were strong through the year as buyers and sellers struggled to put a true value on property.
Sunshine Coast Daily auction writer Sue Custance said competitive interest and bidding became the rule rather than the exception.
Ray White Caloundra co-principal Andrew Garland said the return of the top end of the market was not so much a surprise as a pleasant development.
He said the $3 million-plus market had struggled post GFC but recent beachfront sales included $4.25 million and $3.5 million at Dicky Beach and Shelly Beach.
In the hinterland, Mike Burns of Elders Palmwoods and Woombye said the buyer pool for acreage buyers has dropped back as people look to downsize.
“It’s a buoyant market but people are conscious of val
ue,” he said.
“Sellers think activity means price rises but it will be a long time before we see the heady heights of 2007-08.”
Commercial property has been reinvigorated in line with the changes the Sunshine Coast market is undergoing but also riding on the success of the Sydney and Melbourne markets.
National as well as international companies are setting out to establish themselves in prime locations, around the Maroochydore CBD, at the Kawana Health Hub and at the Sippy Downs education precinct.
At the same time existing businesses are looking to expand or re-position themselves in prime tourist areas such as Noosa’s Hastings Street, The Esplanade at Cotton Tree and at Mooloolaba, as well as Caloundra’s key precincts.
Two of the biggest moves were Bunnings and Officeworks relocating to Dalton Drive in Maroochydore, opposite the new Suncentral Principal Activity Centre that is expected to see initial works early in 2016 and the first lots released to market.