The month in review: Gold Coast
By Herron Todd White
The Gold Coast was one of the hardest hit regions of Australia following the GFC, with mortgagee in possession sale rates running above 6%. With the world financial situation, banks tightening their lending and LVR parameters, the Australian dollar soaring in value, the commodity boom and tourism being particularly hard hit, the perfect storm was unleashed.
However, that all seems to be well behind us now as the property market has recovered and turned upwards. Prices are well off the bottom across all residential property categories.
Land values on the God Coast are reported to have increased by 10.7% over the past year according to the Queensland Valuer General’s 2015 annual report dated 5 March 2015.
Very positive economic changes have been driving the property market on the Gold Coast including:
• Increasing population. Current Gold Coast population is now at 535,000 (source: Gold Coast City Council web site) with projections of a population of circa 680,000 by 2021 (source: Queensland Office of Economy and Statistical Research Population Prediction Report dated 2011).
• Tourism is back stimulated by the lower Australian dollar and strengthened by new international flights direct to China and other parts of Asia.
• Increase in building development and infrastructure projects.
• Increase in number of new homes being built and apparent increase in number of substantial renovations of dwellings.
• Increased international investors including the very influential and growing Chinese investment market and cashed up Auckland based Kiwis.
• Increased interstate buyers with many cashed up investors from the very buoyant Melbourne and Sydney markets.
• Predictions of improving employment in the tourism sector and also boosted by the impending 2018 Commonwealth Games.
The increase in volume of transactions is particularly evident since the September 2013 federal election.
According to our data, purchasers still favour the sub $500,000 price bracket which accounts for 71.5% of transactions, compared to 23.5% for $500,000 to $1 million and 5% over $1 million.
While the prestige residential market proportionately accounts for a small part of the market in terms of number of transactions, the prices are on the rise on the back of overseas investors, locals and interstate buyers taking a shine to mostly waterfront houses and a limited number of luxury high rise units.
CENTRAL GOLD COAST
Growth has been solid throughout 2015 in the central areas of the Gold Coast as a result of increased demand across all property types within the area. The main reasons for this increased demand include the reduction of interest rates, improvements in rental returns and increased overseas investments in new developments.
Broadbeach Waters, Mermaid Beach and Mermaid Waters have seen strong growth (25% to 35% increase in land values). An example of this is 145 Allambi Avenue, Broadbeach Waters which sold for $760,000 in August 2013 and was recently resold for $1,015,000 with no improvements to the property. The unit market in Broadbeach and Surfers Paradise has seen improvement in the lower price points in smaller developments. Most of these sales were to local and interstate investors as the rental returns were covering mortgage and body corporate costs. The larger high rise developments are still seeing limited growth due to the high body corporate rates restricting the overall investment appeal. We should see increased growth in holiday units as building managers are reporting a decrease in vacancy rates as more tourists come to the Gold Coast.
Robina, typically a popular location for young families, has also seen strong growth as it is within close proximity of amenities such as schools, shopping centres and transport. In recent months demand for rental properties has increased and vacancy rates have dropped as more construction jobs are available on the Gold Coast due to new developments. For example the average townhouse rental rate has increased $20 to $30 per week across all developments.
The majority of new developments across the central areas are showing high sale rates with developments like Sunland’s Concourse Villas/Marina Residences and Robina Land Corp’s City Village and Riverlilly selling out within a few months. The majority of buyers have been overseas investors, although we are seeing an increase in owner occupiers looking to downsize from the family home and first home buyers.