Sometimes it takes a TV show to put a place on the map. Sylvania Waters is a case in point; suddenly everyone was talking about living in a canal estate in ‘The Shire’. And in the 70s, there wasn’t a kid alive who watched Skippy, that didn’t want a tour of ‘Waratah Park’ in Terry Hills.
Will The Circle do the same for Noosa?
The Circle is the brainchild of Felix Williamson, who also worked on Domain’s Avalon Now series. It’s a razor-sharp observational comedy, following the lives of two cosmopolitan couples from Melbourne and Sydney who have made the sea-change to Noosa.
But it’s The Circle‘s fictional locals who steal the show, especially Felix Williamson as Lesley, the sexually ambiguous New Zealander, and his partner Tonni (Rebecca Gibney). Chris Hayward is brilliantly cast as Gordon, a bloke who is always armed with a leaf blower. While Richard Roxburgh is fabulously gauche as wealthy South African alpha-male, Julius Du Toit.
While Hibiscus Circle featured in the series may be a fictional street, there’s little doubt it’s based on the real-life Witta Circle, Noosa’s most exclusive address, and surrounded by waterfront views.
And while The Circle pokes fun at Noosa’s fitness fanatics, lurid sarongs, lack of nightlife and monoculture, what’s living in the Circle really like?
Most of the series was shot in the house of writer/director Felix Williamson’s mother-in-law, who lives in Witta Circle.
“I’m very familiar with the whole area,” Williamson says. “My parents have a home in Sunshine Beach, and I have a number of relatives living up there, including my brother Rory.”
Rory says a whole new market is emerging in Noosa, comprising 35 to 45-year-olds who work as web designers and copywriters from Sydney and Melbourne who have cashed in their city apartments to work remotely.
When it comes to Witta Circle, he says it’s well out of his price range, but would make for an idyllic lifestyle. “There’s little jetties with boats, and it’s close to Hastings Street. It’s pretty nice,” he says. “A lot of the owners are cashed-up New Zealanders, like the character Felix portrays in the show … he hit the nail on the head there.”
One of the other periphery characters in the show is Gordon, a neighbour and avid user of the leaf blower. Turns out you’ll find plenty of types like Gordon in Noosa, too.
“I drove around Witta Circle last week and spotted a bloke with a leaf blower. He looked exactly like the one in the series,” said a Noosa agent who didn’t want to be named.
And he’s not the only one. Veronica and Peter moved into Witta Circle in 1970s. For the past 43 years, the Circle has been home. “We love it here and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else,” says Veronica.
“Do we have a leaf blower? Yes, and so does the lady next door,” admits Veronica.
Witta Circle comprises 16 internal blocks, and 30 blocks on the water. The dry blocks are around 900 square metres, while the waterfronts are 600 square metres.
Veronica and Peter purchased two dry -internal- blocks there for $10,000 each in 1974. Nowadays a dry block would fetch upwards of $2.3 million.
The property price record for Noosa Sound was set in Witta Circle, with No. 25 going for a tidy $8.25 million in 2009. Waterfront land alone is just a snip under the $4 million mark.
Their son, 42-year-old PJ, a Noosa real estate agent, said Witta Circle was a tight-knit community as he was growing up.
“There were about 30 kids in Witta Circle and we’d play together after school, riding our pushbikes to the end of Noosa Sound, having tinny races around the island, diving off the bridge, or swimming across the estuary to swing on the Tarzan ropes on the other side.”
“Everyone knew each other back then. Now it’s like one big holiday resort and a lot of the houses are empty, or rented during the holidays. My parents are two of the only original residents left there.
“The only problem now is that on weekends it’s a car park. People drive over to Witta Circle to park and go to the beach. Luckily, dad doesn’t mind, because he rides a motor scooter everywhere.”
Veronica says the biggest change she has seen over the years is the loss of permanent residents. “I like the idea of having a neighbour where I can pop in and have a cup of tea.”
The advent of holiday homes on Witta Circle has seen some impressive builds. Architects such as Ken Robertson, Tim Ditchfield, Noel Robinson, and Kidd and Co have all created a distinctive “Noosa style” on the island.
Andrew Le is an architect with Brisbane-based Red Door Architecture. One of his more recent projects is a home for the Daffy family in Witta Circle. The five-bedroom concrete and glass house looks out over the estuary to a protected coastal forest. Most of the spaces in the home, including the enormous bathrooms, take full advantage of the water views.
The home’s owner, Troy Duffy, says he used to holiday in Noosa as a teenager, and often wondered who could afford the lovely big houses on Witta Circle. After establishing a successful property development company in Brisbane, Duffy had his answer. He could.
“I was lucky enough to fulfil a dream and buy a block of land on Witta Circle four years ago,” he says. “We love the new house. It’s basically our sanctuary. I drive up with the wife and kids every school holidays; it’s about 90 minutes on the freeway.”
Originally Published: www.domain.com.au
How much does it cost to buy property at Australia’s best beaches?
Winter is coming, the property market is cooling and hot summer days spent at the beach are becoming a distant memory.
But dreams of a sea change could still keep you warm for months to come and looking to one of Australia’s coastal markets now could have you sitting beachside by summer.
The location of that home and beach will depend on your budget. Here’s what it now costs to buy in some of Australia’s top beach locations.
If you’ve got serious cash to splash, then real estate by Sydney’s Bondi Beach — arguably Australia’s most famous strip of coast — could be within your reach.
With a median house price of $2.675 million and a median unit price of $1.2 million, buying into the beachside suburb does not come cheaply, but it’s more affordable than Sydney’s other top beach contender – Manly.
While house prices in the northern beaches gem dropped 11.5 per cent in the year to March, according to Domain data, the median house price still sits at $2.955 million. Meanwhile, the median unit price dropped 3.7 per cent to $1.315 million.
If Sydney’s not your cup of tea, you can cast your gaze west, far west to the other side of the country, where you’ll find the turquoise water and white sand of Perth’s Cottesloe Beach.
Despite Perth’s market downturn – house prices are down 14 per cent and units down 16.6 per cent from the 2014 peak – Cotto will still set you back a pretty penny, with a $2,147,500 median house price. Units are more affordable with a median of $780,000.
Northern NSW and south-east Queensland offer up the top rated beaches in Australia for those looking to spend about $1.5 million or less.
Byron Bay, Noosa and Surfers Paradise have long been favoured spots for holidaymakers and are increasingly attracting people looking to make their favourite vacation spot their hometown.
While about half the out-of-towners snapping up real estate in popular Byron Bay were once only looking for a holiday home, that’s no longer the case, said Ian Daniels of McGrath Byron Bay
“Half the houses were holiday houses before, now you can see how many more people are living here,” Mr Daniels said.
Byron Bay has the highest median house price of the three at $1,562,500. It’s followed by Surfers Paradise and Noosa Heads, with respective medians of $1.55 million and $1.145 million. Meanwhile, the median unit price is $850,000 in Byron Bay, $890,000 in Noosa Heads and $380,000 in Surfers Paradise.
Mr Daniels said there had been “no let up” during cooler winter months in recent years, but noted buyer demand could be a little weaker this year due to the broader property market downturn.
While there tended to be less stock in winter, Mr Daniels said, it could be a great time for both vendors and buyers to be on the market because there was less competition.
The Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast are again the best beachside bet for buyers in this price range, with Burleigh Heads and Mooloolaba offering house prices of $865,000 and $837,500. Unit medians sit at $535,000 and $424,750.
While investor activity has dropped off, Josh Willatt of Ray White Robina said, there is still good demand from locals and buyers looking to make a sea change.
“We’re still seeing buyers come up here in droves from Sydney and Melbourne … and we also see good inquiry from Brisbane, ” Mr Willatt said, adding they were drawn to the area for its great beaches, strong village atmosphere, restaurants and cafes.
Mr Willatt said the Gold Coast and south-east Queensland was still extremely affordable for what it offered. He noted buyers had more choice in late winter and spring as more stock hit the market, but that there was still a steady stream of buyers over the cooler months as the market was less seasonal than others.
$500,000 or less
Buyers who want to purchase near a well-known beach for less than $500,000 should cast the net wide, looking to Broome, Darwin and Victoria’s Phillip Island. However, swimming year round won’t be an option, due to cold temperatures in some cases and box jellyfish in others.
For $494,500 you can buy a house by Cable Beach in Broome, or an apartment for a little under $300,000.
Apartments near the famous Mindil Beach Sunset Markets in Darwin have a median of about $380,000 as do units in the suburb of Cowes, near Kitty Miller Bay on Phillip Island.
Michael McLeod of First National Phillip Island said those looking to buy on the island might be best doing so in winter.
“[Island living] is not all glamour, there is rain,” Mr McLeod said. “We’re still quite consistent in winter, [but] there’s fewer people around and [buyers] have the time to make decisions.”
“The time a property is on the market [varies greatly] … when it’s extremely busy places can be snapped up … or we have things that can take two years or a year to sell,” Mr McLeod said.
While retirees cashing out of Melbourne still make up a bulk of the population, Mr McLeod said, a growing number of younger families were moving to the area and commuting to Melbourne or working remotely.
How good an investment is south-east Queensland
Why do we believe we’ll see increasing investor interest in this market? Strong population growth, a diversified and growing economy, and substantial investment in infrastructure should combine to boost demand.
We expect that these factors will swell the number of white-collar jobs – increasing demand for office space, which in turn will push down vacancy rates and raise rental incomes. This should be good news for office property investors – especially those like Centuria Metropolitan REIT (CMA) that are already well-positioned in the market.
A significant and growing population
South East Queensland (SEQ) stretches from the Gold Coast up to the Sunshine Coast and across to Toowoomba in the west. As Australia’s third-largest population zone, the region has been growing significantly, particularly Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Interstate migration figures show a pattern of steady net migration, with Queensland the only Australian state with consistent net inflows of people from other states. In the five years prior to the 2016 Census, over 220,000 people moved to the Sunshine State – mainly to SEQ where nearly 90% of population growth occurred. This is important for property investors because of its implications for demand, but the trend is interconnected with other favourable factors.
A diversified economy poised for growth
Queensland’s economy is diversified across a range of industries including agriculture, resources, construction, tourism, manufacturing, and services. Over the past two decades, its economic growth has consistently exceeded the national average – and in our view this is likely to continue.
The resources sector is gaining momentum, and a significant pipeline of major infrastructure and development projects is helping propel economic and jobs growth, in turn increasing interstate migration and driving demand for both residential and commercial property.
Investment in infrastructure
A strong infrastructure program delivers more than business and consumer amenity – it generates jobs, drives investment, and facilitates population growth. The pipeline of infrastructure and development projects announced in the past few years is likely to have a material impact on the region – substantially improving its accessibility and amenity – most notably, Brisbane’s Queen’s Wharf precinct and the Cross River Rail.
Queen’s Wharf, touted as a “world-class entertainment precinct”, is an integrated resort development costing $3.6 billion and covering over 26 hectares with retail, dining, hotel and entertainment spaces. As Queensland’s biggest ever tourism project it will be a game-changer for Brisbane, attracting overseas as well as local visitors. Estimated to contribute $1.69 billion annually to the economy, it will employ more than 2,000 people during construction and an estimated 10,000 once operational.
The Queensland Government’s number one infrastructure project, the $5.4 billion Cross River Rail, comprises a new 10.2km rail line between Dutton Park and Bowen Hills, which includes a 5.9km tunnel under the Brisbane River and CBD. It’s the first major rail infrastructure investment in the inner city since 1986 and is set to generate urban renewal, economic development and the revitalisation of inner-city precincts.
Outlook for commercial office property investment
These factors indicate a region poised for growth – and for growing commercial property demand. CMA’s portfolio has a significant exposure to the area in general (six SEQ assets with a combined book value of over $480 million), with many of the individual assets located in those parts of Brisbane set to benefit most from these developments.
Our view is that Brisbane office markets, where five of CMA’s assets sit, are continuing to improve, with vacancies hitting a five-year low – indicating increasing tenant demand – and continued yield compression, demonstrating strong investment demand. Office sales hit the highest level in a decade during 2018 (at $2.35 billion), increasing 60% from 2017.
With the strong outlook for SEQ, we expect the region will continue to attract tenants and investors alike.
Queensland’s 100,000-property public housing shortfall revealed
Queensland has a severe shortage of social and affordable housing, an issue that is projected to get worse by 2036 according to new research.
More than 102,000 additional social houses are currently needed across the state, and 54,700 affordable houses are also needed with nearly 13 per cent of Queenslanders spending more than 30 per cent of their income on rent.
By 2036, Queensland is projected to need 254,300 more social and affordable houses – the second-highest unmet need behind NSW, the report found.
The new figures come from a UNSW City Futures Research Centre report on social housing shortfall across Australia.
Regional social housing shortfalls are higher than in Brisbane, the data shows, but Brisbane residents are slightly more likely to be spending more of their income on rent.
Housing Minister Mick de Brenni said housing affordability was a “big issue” for Queensland.
“Through the Palaszczuk government’s $1.8 billion Queensland Housing Strategy, Labor is driving key reforms and targeted investment across the housing continuum,” he said.
“The Strategy commits us to build more than 1000 affordable homes for Queenslanders, as well as a further 4522 new social homes to help ensure everyone has a safe, secure and stable place to live.”
Lead researcher Laurence Troy said 22.5 per cent of Australia’s entire housing growth must go to social housing to meet demand into the future.
“Our analysis shows that the sheer number of households in rental stress across the country means that if we’re going to meet the need, at least 12 per cent of all our housing by 2036 will need to be social and affordable housing – which is a very reasonable ambition in global terms,” Mr Troy said.
“To cover the backlog of unmet need and future need in Australia two in 10 new homes will need to be for social housing over the next 20 years, and a further one in ten for below-market affordable rental housing.”
Mr Troy said the research’s financial modelling found the “best and cheapest way” for governments to meet the need for social housing was to fund it through upfront grants and low-interest government financing.
“Delivering below market rental housing through the not-for-profit sector, as opposed to the private equity model, will save $3 billion a year by removing developer mark-ups and shareholder returns,” he said.
The financial modelling was commissioned by the NSW community housing sector.
Mr de Brenni said the state government was “listening” through its recent public consultation on rental reform and was committed to investing in affordable housing in partnership with community housing, to provide more subsidied homes for low income earners.
“We heard Queenslanders are struggling to afford rental properties in the suburbs close to where they work,” he said.
“Through our Build-to-Rent pilot project, we are seeking to work with the private sector to increase the number of long-term, affordable rental properties for low to moderate income earners, including key workers in health, early childhood and hospitality.
“Internationally, the Build-to-Rent model is delivering fantastic outcomes and facilities for tenants and we’re looking to see what the market is open to delivering here.
“The pilot, if it proceeds, will see $70 million invested towards delivery of hundreds of affordable rental properties for key workers in inner-city areas where affordability has been identified.”
Mr de Brenni said the registrations of interest for that pilot had seen strong market interest, and the department was considering the responses before calling for expressions of interest.
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