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.
The leaf-blowing neighbour living in The Circle. Photo: Supplied
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?
It’s been a busy year for Noosa property. Photo: Supplied
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.
A house on Witta Circle designed by Brisbane-based architect Andrew Le. Photo: Supplied
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.
Noosa, from the air.
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.”
Interstate migration to the Sunshine Coast is tipped to help drive up property prices. Picture: Lachie Millard
INTERSTATE migration is once again driving up demand for Sunshine Coast property.
New analysis of the market by RiskWise Property Research predicts solid capital growth for the region as a result.
RiskWise CEO Doron Peleg said the area had experienced “consistently strong population growth’’ in the past five years and predictions were that this would continue.
The Sunshine Coast market has been widely tipped by real estate analysts to experience a lift in prices, after a series of lean years.
The high-end Noosa market in particular has fired up again with a series of record breaking beachfront sales, but it was also the affordability of many of the Sunshine Coast suburbs that Mr Peleg said was helping attract new residents.
“The area’s affordability has been a major drawcard behind this migration, especially for large numbers of interstate purchasers who can’t afford to buy such great lifestyle properties in places like Sydney and Melbourne,” he said.
Also helping drive demand and future capital growth, according to Mr Peleg was the low number of building approvals in the region.
21-23 Webb Rd, Sunshine Beach was listed for a massive $22 Million. Picture: Paul Smith
He said there were only 3323 house building approvals in the pipeline across the entire region and that would be quickly absorbed.
There are also approvals for 2581 new units to be added in the two years.
Mr Peleg said there had already been 7.1 per cent median house price growth for houses on the Sunshine Coast and 5.4 per cent median unit price growth in the past 12 months.
Sydney, you’re pretty, but let’s take your prices down a notch, eh? Picture: Destination NSW
IT’S no surprise to most Australians that the cost of living varies greatly from one city, state or territory to another.
But exactly which places are the most affordable when it comes to everyday expenses including rent, fuel, groceries, transport, utilities and education? And which ones will burn a hole in your pocket faster than the others?
The latest report from Numbeo, a cost of living website which collates prices of goods and services from hundreds of cities around the world, shows that almost everything is cheaper in Hobart compared to other major cities nationwide.
It also confirmed what Sydneysiders already knew: it’s the most expensive place to live in the country. Melbourne, Darwin and Perth trail closely behind.
Labor leader Bill Shorten said the government’s priorities – including the Australian mining sector – were out of whack. “I wish they’d just start talking about everyday Aussies in terms of cost of living,” he said on Wednesday.
While Sydney ranked 32 in the list of the world’s most expensive cities, it was the 16th most expensive city in terms of rent, according to Numbeo.
Sydney has this year risen to number 32 in this year’s Cost of Living Index, up from 41 last year, according to Numbeo.
Melbourne rose to 64, up from 77, while Adelaide, Cairns, Hobart and Canberra also moved up the list to 58, 69, 82 and 103 respectively.
Only Perth (56), Darwin (68) and Brisbane (93) have become more affordable, according to the site, which ranks the results based on information provided by thousands of residents.
RENT, CHILDCARE AND RESTAURANTS
A one-bedroom, city centre apartment costs an average of $2681.48 per month in Sydney.
That’s compared with Melbourne ($1767.60), Canberra ($1733.26), Brisbane ($1726.13), Adelaide ($1705.67), Gold Coast ($1568.92), Darwin ($1524.35), Perth ($1523.41) and Hobart ($1208.33). Those with kids can more than double their outgoing expenses if they live in Sydney with the cost of sending one child to childcare full-time for a month about $2038.27. Child care is even more expensive on the Gold Coast ($2250) but significantly cheaper in Adelaide ($1600), Melbourne ($1478), Brisbane ($1243), Perth ($1214), Darwin ($1,200), Canberra ($1168) and Hobart ($683.33), according to the site.
The data also showed that costs including groceries, rent and restaurant prices were most expensive in Sydney and Darwin, while cities like Hobart, Cairns and the Gold Coast had some of the cheapest.
COFFEE, PETROL, UTILITIES
But not all is lost for Sydney – while residents might be down thousands of dollars in rent, they’re up an entire buck or two when it comes to coffee. Sydney is home to country’s cheapest hot drinks with a regular cappuccino costing about $3.90, compared with the highest median price for the same item in Darwin, at $4.75.
The Northern Territory capital might be small in size – with a total population of about 250,000 people – but it’s also home to some of the highest prices for fuel and utilities nationwide.
The national average for unleaded petrol is 138.9c per litre. But in the NT, prices soar above the rest, with a median price of 183.9c per litre in the troubled town of Tennant Creek, 176.9c per litre in Alice Springs and 150.2c per litre in the capital of Darwin, according to 2018 NT government figures. The median price for monthly utilities – including power and water – in Darwin is $332.80. That’s compared with the cheapest average of $181.20 per month in Perth. Even a meal at McDonalds will cost about an extra $2 than in other states.
MILK, BREAD AND BEER
The Gold Coast is also where you can find the country’s cheapest bread, at $2.12 a loaf. Brisbane follows closely behind ($2.14), with Sydney selling the staple food at the highest average rate of $2.80. And if you’re up for a good time at the lowest price possible, the Gold Coast is also where it’s at, with the nation’s cheapest in-restaurant domestic beer ($5.75). That’s compared to the most expensive average of $8 in both Melbourne and Darwin.
For the more straight-laced, Hobart could be a better option, boasting the cheapest milk at $1.11 for one litre. In Perth, the same product costs consumers about $1.59 – the highest average in Australia.
But the most isolated city in the world makes up in electricity prices what it lacks in cartons of milk, offering the cheapest average price for utilities in the nation. The average monthly cost of a power and water bill in a 85m2 apartment in Perth is $181.2. That’s compared to
Darwin ($332.80), Adelaide ($297.95), Melbourne (214.82), Sydney ($176.69), Brisbane ($212.60), Hobart ($236.99), Canberra ($184.73) and the Gold Coast ($184.41).
Hobart is the most southern of Australia’s capital cities, its harbour is the second-deepest natural port in the world, making it a popular destination for boaties. It’s also one of the cheapest capital cities in the country although wages are also below the national average. Hobart is also known for its arts and culture, its majestic scenery such as Mt Wellington, picturesque waterways including the Derwent River and rich cafe and restaurant scene. With a median house price of $402,000, strong capital growth and good long- term projections, the area presents a solid market.
Even suburbs that are located within less than 2km from the CBD, including North Hobart and South Hobart, with median houses prices of $582,000 and $631,000, respectively, are relatively affordable compared to cities like Sydney, where the median house price is upwards of $1 million and Melbourne where it has pushed past $840,000.
In Victoria, households are shelling out almost $75,000 a year on general living expenses, a major study of spending habits reveals.
The 2017 Household Expenditure Survey found that in 2015-16 essentials cost $843 of the average $1430 Victorians spent on goods and services each week.
Housing costs – on rent, mortgages, rates and home-and-contents insurance – were the biggest drain ($257), the Herald Sun reported.
Food, including meals out and non-alcoholic drinks, cost $244, and transport – driving, taxi fares, and train, tram and bus fares – cost $218.
A buoyant Canberra housing market is leading to healthy long-term investment options for savvy homebuyers, according to RiskWise Property Research.
While the Sydney market goes flat, many Sydney-based investors and buyers’ agents are looking to Canberra – which has a median house price of about $750,000 – as a solid long-term property market that delivers both capital growth and solid rental return.
Less than 300km southwest of Sydney, Canberra has enjoyed solid capital growth of 23 per cent over the past five years and 10 per cent in the past 12 months.
RiskWise Property Research CEO Doron Peleg said it was a trend set to continue.
“This will be driven by ongoing population growth due to the strength of the local labour market and its growing status as a city of choice for a growing number of Australians,” Mr Peleg said.
“Canberra is a rapidly expanding city with a stable property market that offers relatively affordable housing (in house-to-income terms). In addition, ongoing infrastructure projects, such as the Canberra Light Rail Network, will bring significant benefits to the area.”
An hour’s drive from the state capital Brisbane, the Gold Coast is the sixth largest city in Australia and is forecast to have 1.2 million residents living there by 2050, according to demographer Bernard Salt. The region has a stable property market that offers relatively affordable beachside suburbs, such as Miami which has a median house price of $749,000, according to industry experts.
CoreLogic’s regional market update to December 2017 places the median house price at $634,423, while the median unit price is $411,229.
RiskWise CEO Doron Peleg said that despite gaining infamy for violent incidences and drunken behaviour in Surfers Paradise, the Gold Coast was one of the most popular destinations for both owner-occupiers and investors in southeast Queensland.
“It has beautiful beachside and waterside suburbs, an unrivalled lifestyle, good infrastructure, a large number of well-off residents and locals who describe the Gold Coast as ‘heaven for children’,” Mr Peleg said.
“The Gold Coast has a stable property market that offers both affordability and excellent access to superb beach and coastal areas, and that is very appealing to buyers.”
But there are fears about what will become of the glitter strip’s property market once the Commonwealth Games, set to start this month, are done and dusted.
Collier’s Gold Coast International director Darrell Irwin said property market indicators showed the region had a “healthy sector” that would survive the exodus when the curtain closes on the Games.
“The Games has brought forward infrastructure investment in projects such as the light rail construction, and upgrades to the aquatic centre and Carrara Stadium, which have helped fuel demand across the board in the residential, commercial office, retail, and industrial sectors,” he said.
“We’ve seen commercial office vacancy rates continue to fall over the last three years to the current level of 10.3 per cent as reported in the most recent Property Council of Australia figures.
“With no new office buildings under construction, we expect to see that vacancy rate fall further.
“Similarly in the industrial market, there’s been strong demand, a falling vacancy rate and limited land supply.”