Time to buy a holiday home?

INVESTORS who own holiday homes in Queensland are tipped to reap the financial rewards this summer with new figures revealing strong demand for the prized beach shack.

Lured by the promise of capital gains and a steady income stream via the share economy, agents are seeing an increase in investors looking to the coast as occupancy rates rise during the peak period — and sellers are also looking to cash in on the rise in inquiries.

LJ Hooker holiday managers in Currumbin on the Gold Coast reported an occupancy rate of 98 per cent over the Christmas/New Year peak, with nine out of 10 bookings coming from domestic travellers.

“We already have 85 per cent of our holiday rentals booked out for the next Christmas and New Year season,” LJ Hooker Currumbin principal Alex Passos said.

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It’s even better just south of the border in Byron Bay and Kingscliff, where 100 per cent of houses and apartments the group manages are rented for the holiday break.

“Depending on where you live in Brisbane, you can be at Kingscliff within an hour, which is why it’s such a popular option for purchasing a holiday investment,” according to LJ Hooker Kingscliff principal Paul McMahon.

“For most holiday home purchasers, it’s a serious investment.

“They want to optimise the returns around the Easter and Christmas period, when you can make half your yearly income, so they avoid staying there at those peak periods, and instead choose to visit and enjoy their investments outside of those periods.

“Averaged over a year, we aim for 65 per cent occupancy.”

December and January are usually busy times of the year for holiday home buyers who combine their annual leave with securing a new property.

According to LJ Hooker research, affordability is the main priority when it comes to choosing a holiday rental.

But holiday homes can bring headaches such as ongoing cleaning and maintenance costs, management fees and the volatility that comes with investing in coastal markets.

Real Estate Buyers Agents Association of Australia QLD representative Zoran Solano warned buyers not to get caught up in the holiday hype.

“It’s definitely a phenomenon we see influencing the market while people are on holiday,” Mr Solano said.

“Try and maintain that enthusiasm, but maybe not do it at that time of year — head back there in winter.”

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Mr Solano, who is a buyer’s agent with Hot Property Buyers Agency, said coastal property markets were notoriously volatile.

“Although we are seeing a lot of positivity around the Gold and Sunshine Coast markets, historically those markets do ebb and flow a lot more than capital city markets,” he said.

“I do still think certain investments in those coastal areas are speculative and higher risk.”

Mr Solano said beachside homes often required more maintenance and there was a risk of other holiday makers’ bookings dashing hopes of a spontaneous weekend away for the property’s owners.

But if your heart is set on a holiday home by the water, he advises buying a property in a complex with plenty of amenities and which will generate a consistent rental return.

Mr Solano suggested looking in areas that had a life outside of tourism, such as Main Beach and Broadbeach on the Gold Coast, and Noosa on the Sunshine Coast.

“We’re seeing a lot of activity in Broadbeach and seeing a bit of a decline in the appeal of Surfers Paradise,” he said.

“On the Sunny Coast, you can’t go past Noosa. It’s an area where we’re seeing a lot of opportunity.

“It’s somewhere that’s always top of mind for interstate visitors and internationally has a profile as well.”

Kollosche Prestige Agents managing director Jordan Williams said the holiday letting business on the Gold Coast was going gangbusters.

Mr Williams said demand for rentals from high profile, high net worth individuals was particularly strong, prompting he and his business partner to set up a boutique holiday rental division this year for exclusive, high-end homes and apartments.

“We have people contacting us willing to pay $50,000 a week for some residences,” Mr Williams said.

“We find a lot of our high net worth clients who are looking for executive holiday rentals are from Sydney, Melbourne, Hong Kong and Singapore.”

Mr Williams said Broadbeach Waters, Mermaid Beach, Isle of Capri and Paradise Waters were popular destinations.

He advised investors considering buying a holiday home on the Gold Coast to look for something brand new, facing north or east to the water and with an occupancy rate of around 80 per cent.

“You also need to have the kayaks and other little bits and pieces for guests.”

Sydney-based property investor John Collis owns a number of holiday units on the Gold Coast and is about to settle on another five units in a block of eight apartments in Surfers Paradise.

Mr Collis said he did his research before buying the properties and made sure they could generate returns of between six and eight per cent.

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He rents them out himself via Stayz.com.au or Airbnb, including a unit with water views in the Chevron Renaissance building at https://www.stayz.com.au/227841.

“The aim is for me to buy two or three apartments per annum for the next five to six years so that way when I relocate from Sydney when I eventually retire, I’ll have a great rental return,” Mr Collis said.

“With Sydney, you’re paying triple the price for the same returns, and while you don’t get the capital growth on the Gold Coast that you do in Sydney, the market there is starting to ease up so I think investing on the Gold Coast and getting an eight per cent return is pretty good.”

At a time when family members take advantage of jointly owned holiday homes, buyers are also being warned to establish the rules of engagement for the use, management and maintenance of a shared investment property.

Raine & Horne executive chairman Angus Raine said it was important for all parties to agree to an accommodation schedule for the holiday home to manage peak periods, as well as responsibilities for cleaning and maintenance.

“Some weeks such as Christmas and Easter, which is just 12 weeks away, are more prized than others, but by taking a common-sense approach, it’s possible to come to a solution that’s suitable to all parties,” he said.

HOLIDAY HOTSPOTS FOR UNITS

Suburb Median Asking Rent 12 month change

BROADBEACH WATERS $450 15.4%

BILINGA $450 12.5%

SUNRISE BEACH $450 12.5%

PALM BEACH $400 11.1%

TUGUN $418 9.9%

PORT DOUGLAS $360 9.1%

CURRIMUNDI $420 9.1%

MERMAID BEACH $430 7.5%

SUNRISE BEACH $430 7.5%

GOLDEN BEACH $363 6.6%

(Source: LJ Hooker Research / CoreLogic)

HOLIDAY HOTSPOTS FOR HOUSES

Suburb Median Asking Rent 12 month change

PORT DOUGLAS $550 22.2%

MAPLETON $450 21.6%

SUNRISE BEACH $573 19.9%

DOONAN $750 17.2%

SURFERS PARADISE $700 16.7%

CURRUMBIN $670 14.5%

MAIN BEACH $698 14.3%

TUGUN $570 14.0%

AIRLIE BEACH $430 13.2%

PEREGIAN BEACH $600 9.1%

(Source: LJ Hooker Research / CoreLogic)

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