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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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
Value gap – median apartment prices
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!
Why Brisbane property is set for great capital growth
Over the last 10 years, Brisbane has suffered the GFC and floods. As a result, prices are now extremely affordable for a capital city. The Brisbane market has some of the best growth prospects nationwide, so let’s explore why this market is set to take the gold medal for capital growth.
Since the GFC, net migration levels have been very poor for Queensland. However, net interstate migration to Queensland has tripled over the last three years. Interstate migration to Queensland fell to a low of 5,753 in 2014, increasing to 11,581 in 2016 and 15,716 in 2017.
The majority of these people are moving from Brisbane, theCoast and the Gold Coast. This increase in migration levels is due to housing affordability compared to other states, improving employment markets and the lifestyle factors that come with those two factors.
There is a surge of major development and infrastructure projects currently underway in Brisbane, to the sum of $12 billion.
Examples of these major projects are:
- Queens Wharf ($3 billion) – Comprising of 1,000 hotel rooms across five hotels, a residential precinct of 2,000 units, a 100-metre sky deck, 50 bars and restaurants and a pedestrian bridge connection to Southbank. This will completely reshape the Brisbane’s river CBD precinct.
- Cross River Rail ($5.4 billion) – The project will deliver a 10.2-kilometre rail link from Dutton Park to Bowen Hills, with 5.9 kilometres of tunnel under the Brisbane River and CBD, connecting to both northern and southern rail networks in and out of the CBD.
- Brisbane Quarter ($1 billion) – This project is a mixed-use precinct incorporating office, retail, hotel and residential uses.
- Brisbane Live ($2 billion) – A new entertainment precinct located on top of the Roma Street rail interchange hub. Facilities include a $450 million, 17,000-seat arena along with multiplex cinemas, an amphitheatre and proposed commercial, residential and hotel towers.
Last year was one of the strongest years for job growth in Brisbane’s history. In the last 12 months, Brisbane’s jobs growth has increased by 7.6 per cent. As a result, unemployment has fallen across the board to 5.5 per cent.
Recent jobs growth has been driven by Queensland’s service industries. While the resources sector has cut 22,000 jobs over the past two years, four other industries each created more jobs than were lost in the resource sector over that period: health, education, professional services and accommodation and food services (which is closely related to tourism).
The median dwelling across Brisbane cost 6.3 times higher than the median household income. As a comparison, Sydneywas ranked the second worst most unaffordable market in the world. House prices are a whopping 13 times higher than the median household income.
These factors are significant for Brisbane’s capital growth prospects over the coming years. Well-located houses (not units) are expected to be some of the best preforming sub-markets in Australian real estate.
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