Cairns October 2017

The month in review: Cairns

By Herron Todd White
October 2017

The traditional housing style in Cairns has always been the Queenslander dwelling built on a quarter acre (1,000 square metre) block. These were typically high set for the extra ventilation and were essentially timber dwellings.

All that started to change around the 1970s with a move to slab-on-ground masonry block construction. Though driven by lower cost construction, these dwellings also had the advantage of improved cyclone resistance, however at the expense of reduced ventilation. Despite the hot tropical climate, air conditioning was a complete rarity in the mainstream Cairns property market right through to the 1990s, but now, integrated air con is an essential component of all newly constructed houses across all levels of the market.

The property market trend these days is for bigger and bigger houses on smaller and smaller blocks. Sub 600 square metre block sizes were unheard of prior to the mid 1990s, but have progressively become part of the urban landscape over the past 20 years. The average new estate block size in Cairns is now down to around 670 square metres.

Recent years have seen significant restoration and renovation of original Queenslanders as well as the emergence of some replica Queenslanders in the original Queenslander precincts. However outer suburbs are almost exclusively low set masonry block housing.

One issue for the future of housing in Cairns will be population ageing. Cairns used to be a location that people retired away from, but is now attracting more and more people who are ageing in place. The double whammy of there being more aged persons in Cairns as the baby boomers hit retirement age, together with an increasing propensity for these people to remain in Cairns rather than retire away, will be a big influence on new housing provision composition and style in future years.

Chat to a Mortgage Broker in Cairns today.

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