THE lure of affordability, lifestyle and world-class beaches made southeast Queensland’s coastal markets the stars of the property sector in 2017, fuelled by a fresh wave of interstate migration.
While home values grew just 2.4 per cent in Brisbane over the past 12 months, they jumped nearly 7 per cent on the Gold Coast, while houses climbed in value by more than 7 per cent on the Sunshine Coast, according to the latest data from property analytics firm CoreLogic.
Half of the top 10 property sales in Queensland last year were made on the Gold Coast; totalling $48.9 million.
And some agents say the markets are set to strengthen further in 2018 as Sydney and Melbourne homeowners cash out of their million-dollar homes in favour of a more laid-back, affordable lifestyle in the tropical north.
The REIQ’s latest Queensland Market Monitor shows the median house price in the Sunshine Coast statistical division jumped from $557,500 in June to $570,000 in September, while the Gold Coast achieved a new house price record of $606,000.
The Queensland government recently declared the number of interstaters migrating to the state was at its highest level in eight years, with 15,716 people moving here in the year to March 2017 — most coming from New South Wales.
CoreLogic senior research analyst Cameron Kusher said both the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast property markets had benefited from that boost in interstate migration more than Brisbane.
SQM Research managing director Louis Christopher expects both markets to outperform the state’s capital in 2018, writing in his latest Boom and Bust Report that the Gold Coast had a diversified economy and had benefited from the lead-up to the Commonwealth Games.
Ray White Surfers Paradise holds its major auction event of the year later this month to coincide with the January holiday period when many interstate and overseas visitors flock to the Gold Coast.
More than 100 properties will go under the hammer at its annual ‘The Event’ on January 28, with many holiday homes and investment properties set to sell to interstate and local investors.
Ray White Surfers Paradise chief executive Andrew Bell said the region had recorded solid sales figures in 2017 thanks to economic stability, job creation and steady population growth.
Mr Bell said the property market at the northern end of the Gold Coast had strengthened considerably because of new medium and high rise development in areas like Southport and Hope Island.
“That’s where all the new development is and it’s given people a lot more opportunity,” he said.
Mr Bell said suburbs like Coomera and Pimpama were had also become “powerhouses” for house-and-land developments, attracting demand from interstate.
“It’s not just people buying holiday homes,” he said.
“It’s just getting so difficult to live in Sydney with the cost of living and the traffic.
“People are saying ‘it’s time to move!’ and I think they’re seeing the Gold Coast as being the best it’s ever looked.”
And with vacancy rates of less than 1 per cent on the Gold Coast, Mr Bell said an increase in home construction was more than welcome.
“We can have 20 plus people turn up to an open home, so we desperately need more investors to buy some stock to help with this huge demand from tenants,” he said.
Kollosche Prestige Agents managing director Jordan Williams said the Gold Coast property market experienced periods of strength and weakness in 2017, but he predicted a bigger year in 2018.
“I know for a fact that for the last half of last year a lot of buyers were sitting on their hands reading the negative articles that said the market was going to crash,” Mr Williams said. “They’ve bought off me since then and realised its actually going to continue to improve.
“I think it’s going to be an exciting year.”
Mr Williams also said the majority of homes he sold were cash contracts, unlike the pre-GFC days.
“We have very affluent local and interstate buyers who are fourth, fifth and sixth generation wealthy,” he said.
“Our vendors who own these homes are also affluent, successful people and they don’t muck around with finance and building and pest inspections.”
Kristian and Haley Hughes are selling their five-bedroom waterfront home at 31 Pilot Court, Mermaid Waters through Kollosche Prestige Agents.
They’ve lived their for nearly three years, but have decided to sell and rent in the area so they can use the capital to fund Mrs Hughes’ new make-up venture.
Mrs Hughes, who runs The Institute of Makeup beauty school, said Mermaid Waters had benefited from the growth in popularity of nearby Burleigh Heads.
“I feel it’s becoming the new central location — nestled between Burleigh and Broadbeach,” she said.
The Hughes are hopeful they’ll benefit from the growth in the market over the past 12 months, with the median house price in Mermaid Waters increasing by more than 17 per cent.
Their family home is decked out with floor-to-ceiling glass, which captures spectacular 180 degree views.
“For someone who wants to make it their forever home, they’ll never run out of room,” she said.
“It was hard finding a place to put an offer on even then, because (homes) were selling before they even went to market.”
Further north, Noosa was the standout performer in 2017.
REIQ figures show Noosa was the state’s top performing market in the three months to September, recording annual house price growth of nearly 10 per cent.
Over the past five years, Noosa’s median house price has jumped by more than 40 per cent.
Tom Offermann Real Estate principal Tom Offermann said the company ended 2017 with eight sales averaging $5.9 million each.
The agency sold a sprawling waterfront home with a drive-through boatshed, two jetties and a boat ramp at 29-31 Wyuna Dr, Noosaville, for close to $11.9 million late in 2017 — setting a new record for the area.
“It’s not just the prestige properties that buyers are targeting,” Mr Offermann told The Courier-Mail.
“There are good opportunities for buyers at all levels who want to invest or live here.”
Another driving factor behind demand for the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast markets is a lack of stock, but BIS Oxford Economics expects rising supply over the next three years to slow forecast price growth.
Another coastal market in Queensland that performed better than expected in 2017 was Cairns.
BIS Oxford Economics noted Cairns had benefited from improved tourism and a deficiency of dwellings, which was estimated to have pushed the median house price up by 20 per cent in the past five years.
It expects home prices to grow another five per cent until 2020.
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