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What a year 2016 proved to be




Lloyd Edwards, Ray White Buderim

The start of 2016 was seen by many as the year of the sold sign. It seemed like they were everywhere. As quickly as the for sale sign went up they were quickly swamped by a sold sticker. Of course the vast majority of homes sold, were within reach of the average buyers but where were the high end buyers? They were waiting, weighting up the market before pouncing in the second half of the year. Twelve sales over $1million dollars in my marketing place of Buderim in the last three months of 2016 as an example. So what will 2017 be known as for the high end?


The signs are there that this coming year will be defined by supply with huge numbers of buyers through open homes and only limited property numbers to consider. Definite signs of high demand and short supply has meant that sellers are now showing their confidence with truly special high-end properties coming to the market. Properties like 15 St. Martins Tce in Buderim; possibly one of the biggest and best residences I have seen in my real estate career. The quality of the finish, the volume and that ocean view over an elevated pool means the owner had to pick the right time to market and that time they decided is now. Is this the start of the high end recovery or has it already started in the middle of 2016? Either way 2017 is going to be driven by supply.

Other factors will also reduce supply in the high end. Take the acreage areas around Jorl Crt, Buderim, where re-development has meant that acreage homes have become townhouses close to the University. If you want acreage close to the private schools, then your possible selection has been reduced by up to 40% in recent years. Again this will add pressure to an already tight marketplace.

This pressure will continue over the next few years as the population growth driven into the area by large projects like the SCU Hospital, Aura, Palmview, Sunshine Plaza and the airport expansions. Blocks will get smaller, home builders will get smarter design but the high end buyer will be always be here, their choices will be limited and there is an opportunity here for the astute seller to capitialise on this part of the cycle. And so 2017 has to have the title of the year of high end opportunity.

Grant Smith, principal Century 21 Grant Smith Property

In 2016 Century 21 Grant Smith Property marketed a number of properties that were incomplete or required extensive work to make them habitable.

“It was extremely interesting to market these homes,” director Grant Smith said. “As they are uninhabitable it posed potential issues for financing and insuring the properties.

“These properties are difficult to price position due to lack of comparable data so we utilised the same formula on all three sales. This was to publically auction all three with no conditional offers accepted prior to.

“Each property attracted far more interest than our standard properties for sale, this ultimately draws down to the fact that each property in its own merit was an opportunity for the right buyer.”

Spurred along with strong campaigns, each property attracted between six and 14 registered bidders, an exceptional number of cash buyers in any market.

All three sold above their reserve prices which were set based on market and buyer feedback. All successful buyers were locals and they came from various sources, with print proving beneficial.

“The termite house, deemed uninhabitable by the insurance company and likely to be knocked down was purchased by local builder Muir Developments and has been completely renovated and extended, with all damage repaired.

“The unfinished dream home in Tommys Ct, Buderim, sold $50,000 above reserve by Russell Dell from our new projects division. The buyer intends to finish the dream as a project as does the purchaser of Dakara Ct, an unfinished Balinese renovation.

“Properties sitting outside the box require creative marketing and the right agent, and the flow on last year saw Century21 sell a few of these homes with overflows of buyers, and a surprising volume of new buyers.

“Our experience shows that with the cost of building, buyers are excited by the opportunities of an unfinished property. We may see a few of these properties come back to market, however surprisingly it was, the investors won out in all three auctions.”

Amber Werchon, director Amber Werchon Property

2016 was an extremely positive year for the Sunshine Coast property market. In a review of land sales it is clear there has been increased interest and record sales in the prestigious land market; for example, waterfront development; ‘Entrance Island’.

These level half acre blocks located in a private and secure gated community bring a whole new meaning to waterfront living on the Sunshine Coast.

Achieving an average sale price of more than $1m per block, reflects the dramatic increase in buyer confidence, that has been driven by the positive economic conditions on the Sunshine Coast and the impact of the large infrastructure projects currently underway.

These include the $1.8 billion Sunshine Coast University Hospital (only 700m from Entrance Island itself), surrounding health hub and Oceanside development, Maroochydore Town Centre and the proposed redevelopment of Maroochydore Airport.

Buyers are in awe of the lifestyle that Entrance Island provides with it’s prime location and a once in a lifetime opportunity to own level waterfront land within walking distance of the beach and one of the largest health hubs of the southern hemisphere.

With the Sunshine Coast University Hospital nearing completion and employing a total of 6,500 staff, we have seen a number of the Entrance Island blocks sold to health professionals moving to the area from Brisbane, North Queensland, Sydney and New Zealand. However, initially local buyers were attracted to the physical size of these level half acre lots starting at 2000sqm and the surrounding walkways, parks, bike-ways and recreational facilities, along with the lake where families can safely swim, sail, kayak, and enjoy all that coastal living has to offer!

With 17 original lots, only three remain.

While many purchasers have seen the potential for huge capital gain in such a prestigious development, and some are holding their blocks as an investment, construction is now underway on four lots allowing people to visualise their ideal lifestyle on Entrance Island. There has already been one re-sale on the Island which was a recent record sale for Birtinya waterfront.

According to the latest REIQ Quarterly Market Report, the Sunshine Coast has now been identified as one of the state’s key growth regions, with significant ongoing infrastructure projects injecting money into the local economy and creating employment opportunities; 2017 is shaping up to be an even better year.

Vicki Stewart, principal Stewart Property

Kawana Island, right in the heart of the Sunshine Coast, has become one of our favourite areas to sell.

We have made some long-term friendships with both our buyers and sellers. What a fabulous part of the Coast to retire to or bring up your family.

We first began our association with Kawana Island when a well-known developer approached our office looking for help to move some apartments he’d had on the market for some time.

Utilising our in-house data base of qualified buyers as well as using print media and internet marketing, we had his properties sold in no time.

Since then he has come back to us again and again, and thanks to our success, other sellers have appointed us to sell their homes, and the ball is still rolling. Kawana Island has been a huge success story for us.

Homes on Kawana Island attract a lot of activity, and continue to sell well. Homes offering 4bed,2bath,2car, sell from $650,000 plus and stock levels are very low, resulting in the ‘days on market’ becoming less and less. In fact a good home, well presented and well-priced can sell within a fortnight.

Where we have seen the major activity has been in the apartment sales with some record prices being set.

To give you an example, in that time frame, we have sold

ST. KITTS DOUBLE BAY: We have had 23 units sales ranging in prices from $490,000 through to $1m and we’ve seen prices increase in that time by around 20%.

A majority of buyers are owner occupiers, as opposed to investors, which has been interesting, as they all offer 3,2,2, and a majority are waterfront.

LEEWARD APARTMENTS: We’ve completed seven sales, mostly to investors, ranging from $400,000 to $550,000.

We are seeing prices rise in Leward, more slowly, but in the right direction.

OCEAN REACH APARTMENTS: It’ss just coming into its own, the grounds are incredible and we are seeing more activity than ever, and when you consider you can buy a spacious 3,2,2 apartment on the water for the low to mid $500,000s you can understand why.

AZURE: Flourishing in the investor market with prices rising, sales in this complex range from $315,000 for 2,2, with a spacious balcony through to $510,000 for a townhouse with private courtyard.

ISLAND QUAYS: Popular with owner occupiers and investors, we’ve completed seven sales here with prices from $480,000 to $600,000 for a 3,2 waterfront apartment.

The facilities feature a tennis court and pools. The complex is also pet friendly so you can see why this complex is so popular.

In total, in that time frame, we have sold over $25m worth of stock, just in apartments, and are currently negotiating three more.

Kawana Island is well worth looking at as your preferred part of the Sunshine Coast for living the perfect coastal lifestyle.

Greg Clarke of Ray White Mooloolaba

Unit properties on the Sunshine Coast in good locations are realising a resurgence in popularity compared to the previous four years.

Building appeal, location, views, and lifestyle are important factors for the genuine buyer.

Reducing the number of safe options for overseas holidaying and the lower value of the Aussie dollar, many people choose the Sunshine Coast as a holiday destination with not only the safety aspect, but also value for money. Resort managements are seeing strong growth and returns for their owners.

Increased interest and subsequent sales in the unit market shows an increase of between 5% and 10% in volume and price.

I’ve recently sold six units in Sebel, Maroochydore from $510,000 for a 2,2,1, through to $700,000 for a 2,2,2, penthouse.

Three units in Aqua Vista sold for between $645,000 and $865,000 a piece.

While we’ve seen less than satisfactory results in the past, we now view a positive forecast with the number and value of recent sales in buildings such as the Sebel and Aqua Vista.

I currently have a rarely opportunity to purchase a penthouse with private rooftop deck and spa. High occupancy rates for those looking for an investment property are evident, with the unit unavailable for an inspection until January 14 due to holiday bookings.


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Queensland is the next property hotspot, experts say



Queensland is the next property hotspot, experts say

As New South Wales and Victoria continue to experience weakness. Queensland is expected to take the lead, a National Australia Bank (NAB) poll of property professionals revealed.

According to the survey, industry experts project house prices in Queensland to increase by 0.7% next year and 1.3% in two years.

Some areas seen to perform strongly over the next year include Brisbane, Cairns, the Gold Coast, and the Sunshine Coast. Out of the suburbs, Coomera and New Farm are expected to realize robust gains.

Meanwhile, Queensland’s rental market is also poised to enjoy an upward boost, growing by 1.3% next year and 1.9% in two years. This is despite the stricter rules on housing investment.

The respondents of the survey also expect Queensland to retain foreign buyer interest. In fact, the share of foreign sales hit a four-year high of 22.8% over the previous quarter.

The results of the survey go against NAB’s own projection of the market. For instance, the bank expects house prices to remain flat in Brisbane over the next three years. Unit prices, on the other hand, is seen to fall by 4.5% over the next year.

NAB chief economist Alan Oster said Brisbane’s housing market seemed to be going sideways and its unit market still creates concern.

“It hasn’t peaked yet, so that’s good. We’re seeing quite strong economic activity in Queensland, so that always helps,” Oster said, as quoted by The Courier-Mail.


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Gold Coast house values record the biggest growth in Queensland



Gold Coast house values record the biggest growth in Queensland

The Gold Coast has recorded the strongest growth in house prices in Queensland over the past 12 months.

GOLD Coast house prices are leading the way in Queensland, up six per cent in the past 12 months to an average $620,000.

The latest figures by the Real Estate Institute of Queensland show homes on the Glitter Strip are $35,000 more on the same time last year.

Unit prices are up 1.9 per cent to $428,000.

Gold Coast house values record the biggest growth in Queensland
REIQ data reveals houses on the Glitter Strip are worth $35,000 on the same time last year.

REIQ’s Queensland Market Monitor for March said the strong population growth came on the back of infrastructure projects such as the $550 million Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct and M1 upgrades.

“The property market has been one of the big winners from the sporting event as the $1.5 billion infrastructure investment has boosted confidence and demand for housing in the region,” the report stated.

“We expect house prices will show an upward path in 2018. However, this growth will most likely be more moderate.”

A quiet real estate period leading up to, and during, the Commonwealth Games likely contributed to a slight drop (-0.3 per cent) in the March quarterly median sales price, the report reveals.

Gold Coast house values record the biggest growth in Queensland
Andrew Henderson says a growing population and employment opportunities were contributing to a strong property market. Picture: Jerad Williams

REIQ Gold Coast zone chairman Andrew Henderson said he expected interstate migration to continue to benefit the city.

“I expect the market to remain strong,” he said.

“There is a heavy amount of interstate buyers moving here.

“I was at an auction recently where the winning bidder was from Sydney and the underbidder was from Melbourne.”

Mr Henderson said growing employment opportunities were also attracting homebuyers to the city.

Gold Coast house values record the biggest growth in Queensland
The Gold Coast property market is expected to remain strong.

“We have some of the best health facilities in the country and our universities are world recognised.

“Those two things alone complement the tourism industry and the lifestyle aspects that the Coast offers.”

The report found the fastest-selling suburbs on the Coast included Worongary, Merrimac, Highland Park, Mudgeeraba and Carrara.

It also revealed the rental vacancy held tight throughout the first quarter of the year at 1.1 per cent.

Gold Coast house values record the biggest growth in Queensland
Andrew Bell says the Coast had evolved from a tourist town into a vibrant city with an expanding economy. Picture Mike Batterham

Ray White Surfers Paradise Group CEO Andrew Bell said the Games heralded the next chapter for the Coast, as it evolved from a tourist town into a vibrant city with an expanding economy.

“The city’s property market is riding the irreversible momentum that has now come to the Gold Coast in terms of economic diversity and with more employment options we will need more housing options for people,” Mr Bell said.

“We are no longer going to be subject to tourism upsides and downsides as we were in the past because our economy has well and truly diversified beyond just tourism.”


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Australia’s golden triangle of opportunity



Australia's golden triangle of opportunity

It was great to be back on the Gold Coast for the 21st annual Australasian Real Estate Conference (AREC), attended by over 4,000 of Australia’s best industry professionals.  While I was there I was once again reminded of how much potential the South-East Queensland property market is offering both sea changers and investors at this stage in its market cycle.

In my view, Brisbane is the best market in Australia currently for short to medium term price growth, with the value gap between it and the other big East Coast capitals as large as I’ve seen it in many years.

When you factor in the key drivers for future growth – liveability, affordability, scale and future economic prospects, they all suggest that Brisbane is a market to invest in.  Check out the latest statistics from CoreLogic below.

Value gap – median house prices 

Brisbane $536,286

Melbourne $821,006

Sydney $1,019,093

Value gap – median apartment prices

Brisbane $385,121

Melbourne $573,673

Sydney $749,765

I’ve been bullish on Brisbane for many years and in hindsight, I called its next growth phase a couple of years too early. It’s had some growth in recent years but there is a lot more to come over the next few years.

According to McGrath’s top prestige agent in Brisbane, Alex Jordan, one of the dominant trends today is downsizers buying up luxury apartments.

Alex says: “Despite the reported oversupply in Brisbane’s inner city apartment market, we are seeing great strength in the prestige apartment sector.

“The luxury apartment market ($1M+) is driven by owner occupiers, particularly baby boomers and empty nesters, who are attracted to less maintenance and better accessibility.

“Popular suburbs include New Farm, Newstead, Teneriffe, Kangaroo Point, South Brisbane, St Lucia, Paddington and the Brisbane CBD. These areas offer a desirable lifestyle with an abundance of shopping, dining and entertaining precincts at their doorstep.”

South East Queensland has so many options for asset-rich, cash-poor southerners. Many of our customers in Sydney and Melbourne are looking closely at South East Queensland both for investment and a potential sea change. I believe its affordability will continue to attract record levels of interstate migration.

If you live in Sydney or Melbourne and you’re struggling with the mortgage and cost of living, Brisbane is a fantastic alternative. It offers big city job opportunities, high quality education options and the chance to transform your financial future.

The boom delivered Sydney and Melbourne home owners a capital gain of up to 75% – that’s enormous new equity that could be cashed in to fund an amazing new lifestyle with far less mortgage stress up north. Plus, you’d be buying in just before Brisbane’s next wave of price growth. It’s the perfect scenario.

I believe the area from the Gold Coast to Toowoomba and up to the Sunshine Coast is Australia’s golden triangle right now.

Toowoomba, with its expanded airport facilities which have opened up easy access to the south, is the perfect and affordable treechange destination. Known as Queensland’s Garden City, about 2,300 people moved here from Brisbane last year for its cheaper house prices and enjoyable regional city lifestyle.

Both the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast are also appealing sea change options benefitting from a raft of new infrastructure that will drive further population growth and generate more local jobs.

Brisbane is one of the world’s great cities but I don’t think this is fully realised as yet. If you haven’t been to Brisbane for a number of years, get on a plane. This is a thriving city that offers many of the lifestyle amenities you love about the southern capitals but at a much cheaper price.

I think Brisbane will also become very attractive to migration and investment from Asia in the years ahead.

South East Queensland is offering opportunity everywhere for both owner occupiers and investors alike. Now’s the time to consider what Australia’s premier lifestyle market can do for you!


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