Property prices on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast have been trending upward over the past year or so, as per last year’s widely publicised prediction by McGrath Estate Agents executive director, John McGrath.
To further support this prediction, McGrath wrote in a recent blog post that there’s a lot of demand at the upper end of the Noosa and Sunshine Beach markets.
“Local upgraders and lifestyle buyers from Queensland, Sydney and Melbourne are spending up to $5m for properties to either occupy now, or use as holiday homes ahead of retirement,” says McGrath.
“A new record for beachfront homes on the coast was set in September with a $9.3m sale at Sunshine Beach.”
The big spending seems set to continue, with plenty of units in Noosa Heads currently fetching $2m, based on online results. Several are selling for as much as $3m and $4m, prices that are also found in nearby Peregian Beach and Noosaville.
These suburbs are notably at the northern end of the Coast.
An attractive range
Amid its boronias and lasiandras, palm trees and river mangroves, the Sunshine Coast offers perfectly perched hillside houses, as well as townhouses, and modern units that are impossibly close to the beach. So it’s easy to see why the number of visitors to properties in Noosa Heads (375), just for example, outstrip the state average (268), according to figures from REA Group.
As such, both house and unit prices in Noosa Heads spiked in the year to 2016, according to Domain Group. For example, median house prices hit $850,000 in 2016, up from $725,000 in 2015, while unit prices reached $635,000 in 2016, up from $520,000 in 2015, as per Domain Group.
The price difference is even greater between two bedroom units ($540,000) and three bedroom units ($1.2m).
Selling principal at Ray White in Noosa Heads, Justin Sykes, says that the pace of the market overall has shifted over the last 12 to 18 months.
"There's been an upward trend in interest, in sale prices and I suppose also in competition for properties in general," says Sykes.
"It's certainly a very buoyant and confident market. It's good for sellers, especially for properties that are well marketed because buyers are coming from such a huge area."
To start with, Sykes says there's a local contingency of buyers, which includes those who are trading up or downsizing, moving into low maintenance units or townhouses.
There are investors too from Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne, but also from overseas, says Sykes. These buyers sense the upward swing of capital growth but also the fact that there's a very low vacancy rate in the region (1.2% in Noosa, according to the Real Estate Institute of QLD), meaning rental prospects are quite good, says Sykes.
"Unit buyers are looking for the best value in body corporate fees as some are quite high,” he says. “But for the upper end buyer it's not so much a concern. So the high end market is turning over well.”
He also notes there are those looking for house and land, typically young families wanting more space and to capitalise on the local lifestyle.
"A huge driver is the climate," says Sykes. "It's such a beautiful area, a good safe and clean area and people are friendly. So it's certainly becoming more popular.”
Along the riverfront
Around the shore from Noosa Heads there’s Noosaville, equally as pretty but less congested by tourists. For instance, as you drive around the river there’s a little more breathing room and time to soak up the surrounds along Gympie Terrace or a nearby waterfront park. Paddle-boarders and kayakers glide adjacent to the road, while kids play on small coves that spill from raised Queenslander-style homes.
This picturesque scene is why Noosaville has become a popular spot for buyers in recent years. In 2014, median house prices in the suburb were around $600,000, but have since climbed to $765,000, as per Domain Group. (Units have hovered around the $415,000 mark of late, representing a slight dip in prices).
Alluring or lucrative?
If you are looking to invest, however, keep in mind that the property market is approaching its peak, according to property valuers Herron Todd White.
It’s also worth noting some experts such as Hotspotting.com.au director, Terry Ryder have warned Noosa’s market is largely based on tourism, which typically isn’t enough to ensure long term capital growth.
In a 2015 article on his site, he suggested that better capital growth can be seen in the southern portion of the Sunshine Coast where there are new developments such as the hospital and other medical related projects. These have helped boost property prices in southern suburbs like Bokarina and Parrearra, for example.
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