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The fastest growing suburbs on the Gold Coast aren’t what you’d expect


If you bought in central Gold Coast just five years ago, right now you’d be cheering. In that time, prices for houses have risen a staggering 48 per cent.

That’s the highest increase for properties across the entire Gold Coast but it doesn’t mean other areas are suffering. House prices in all areas have risen more than 25 per cent.

Gold Coast’s south is another star performer, growing by 35 per cent growth over the past five years.\

And the suburbs where most buyers want to be? Overwhelmingly it’s the “Waters” suburbs, such as Broadbeach Waters and Burleigh Waters. Over five years, Broadbeach Waters grew 49 per cent to a $1.09m median and of the highest selling suburbs on the Gold Coast it had the highest median sale price.

‘Waters’ suburbs are characterised by being set back from the beach and often feature canals, which can serve as a budget waterfront property.

Rhonda Mulholland of Harcourts Coastal says demand in the “waters” suburbs was being driven by families wanting homes on larger blocks within a reasonable distance of the beach.


“They want to be able to ride their pushie to the beach and it’s more affordable than Mermaid Waters,” she said.

“For those who can’t afford Burleigh Heads, Burleigh Waters is the next best thing because you can be as close as 700 metres from the beach.”

The majority of the housing that makes up Burleigh Waters is 80s brick homes that are now being renovated by clever vendors, Ms Mulholland said.



“There’s a lot of money being poured into the area — people are renovating these old homes and they’re the ones that the buyers love most.”

Ms Mulholland cited the recent sale of a Burleigh Waters house that nearly doubled in only two years.

“I sold it to them for $425,000 two years ago and since then they’ve renovated and now sold it again for $835,000,” she said.

But that growth is still pricing buyers with lower buying power out of the market, moving more activity further inland, Remax Regency agent Daryn Trowbridge said.

“Burleigh Waters has gone ballistic recently. I’m telling buyers how much they’ll save by being that extra five minutes away and they’re seeing the services that Varsity Lakes has here and seeing the value,” he said.

Varsity Lakes saw a whopping 11 per cent increase in the median price over the past 12 months.

The extra five minute drive was well worth it for the $200,000 saving on house prices, Mr Trowbridge said.

Lacey West agent Bobbie Higgins said Palm Beach was gaining popularity as tightly-held Burleigh Heads and Waters became too busy for those who liked it for its “village feel”.

“Burleigh’s got so busy,” Ms Higgins said. “It’s hard on the weekend to get parks.”

Ray White Mermaid Beach‘s Scott Wagner described how Burleigh Heads had a constant cloud of buyers hovering. He has already sold out new apartment development One Burleigh Heads, showcasing the intensity of the demand in the area.

“We’re not looking for 100 sales, we’re looking for eight or nine sales and when you get one person buy, there will be some kind of competition in the following days,” he said. “They seem to school like fish.”

People bought into the central and south areas of the Gold Coast with the expectation of holding property for a long time, Mr Wagner said.

“It’s such a rare area, people are buying into the area thinking their grandchildren will still own the homes.”

“What protects your investment is getting the best position you can.”


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Gold Coast

Grant Hackett’s luxury beach front pad on Gold Coast’s ‘Millionaires’ Row’ hits the market

Grant Hackett

Former Olympian Grant Hackett has listed his luxury beachfront pad on “Millionaires’ Row” on the Gold Coast in the hopes of upsizing in Melbourne.

The three-bedroom villa at 1/100 Hedges Avenue, Mermaid Beach is located on the most prestigious beachfront strip in Queensland, mere steps away from beaches and cafes.

Hackett grew up in the adjacent suburb of Mermaid Waters. He said the opportunity to buy the home six years ago was too good to resist.

“I decided to move back to the Gold Coast in 2014. Who doesn’t want to move to the Gold Coast and live on the beach?” Mr Hackett told Domain.

“It’s a perfect spot. Steps away from the beach and I absolutely fell in love with it straight away.”

In the last four years, the gold medallist known as one of Australia’s best long-distance swimmers has relocated to Melbourne with his family.

Grant Hackett

Hackett snapped up the property for $1.5 million in 2014. Photo: Supplied

They have used the Gold Coast property as a holiday home since then and have decided it is time to sell.

“There’s no news yet but our family is growing down here in Melbourne,” Mr Hackett said. “We want to get a bigger property down here in Melbourne.

“When we do go up [to the Gold Coast] we are spending all our time with our family. It doesn’t make sense to hold such a beautiful property any longer.

“From our perspective, we’re sad to see it go but I’m sure someone else will get some pleasure out of it.”

Grant Hackett

The home also has two powder rooms. Photo: Supplied

The home, which has a total space of 331 square metres, spans four levels and has a double lock-up garage in the basement plus visitor parking.

The property has open-plan living and dining rooms that showcase the beach views.

It also has a private internal lift to take residents up to the fourth-floor rooftop terrace with panoramic views of the Coolangatta coastline back to the mountains.

Grant Hackett

The beachfront villa has panoramic views Photo: Supplied

Selling agent Troy Dowker of Kollosche said he anticipated the luxury modern villa would be in high demand.

“A luxury style villa is few and far between,” he said. “You get rockstar views from the rooftop terrace. It is a pretty amazing space.”

The property last sold for $1.5 million in 2014, records show.

It is scheduled to go to auction on May 30 at 9am.


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Regional jobs boom to help fuel move from city to country

A boom in job vacancies across regional Australia will help fuel the continued shift of people from cities to the country.

According to the Regional Australia Institute, there are more than 66,200 jobs available in regional towns and cities across the country.

The institute’s chief executive officer Liz Ritchie said the regional job boom was the largest since records began and even beats demand during the mining construction boom a decade ago.

Economists have warned without jobs to keep them there, the pandemic-driven exodus of people from the city to the country could quickly stall.

The work from home directive has translated into higher price increases for country properties than those in the city, even though home sales there are experiencing a price boom of their own.

Some property commentators have warned that post-COVID-19, the new country residents will have to head back to the cities for work.

Housing Industry Association economist Angela Lillicrap did not agree.

“It all depends on what businesses do in the future but all the signs are that having staff working from home is here to stay,” Ms Lillicrap said.

“It is likely that much of the shift in population to the regions will be permanent.”

Other analysts are predicting the regional growth trend has at least two to three years to play out yet.

According to Australian Bureau of Statistics research released on Friday, teleworking is now favoured by many employers.

Before COVID-19, one in five (20 per cent) of businesses had staff teleworking.

Currently, 30pc of businesses have staff teleworking “with 45pc of these experiencing improved staff wellbeing as a benefit”, the ABS said.

Investment manager Atlas Advisors Australia has called for better use of migrant investment funds under a key visa program with the aim to fill critical gaps in venture capital in regional areas.

Atlas’ executive chairman Guy Hedley said Australia should use the Investor Visa program to channel funds to regional economies as the US already does.

“This would lead to the development of regional economic hubs that may attract other metropolitan businesses to relocate to obtain funding support,” he said.

The Regional Australia Institute has launched a campaign to encourage more people to consider moving to the country.

Regional jobs

Developers are quickly moving on those towns within commuting distance of the city to create new estates to accommodate the demand. 

The latest jobs numbers come at a welcome time, the RAI’s Ms Ritchie said.

“Regional job vacancies now account for nearly one third of all vacancies across the country.”

She said the current strength in the regional labour market is broadly based across all states and territories and occupations, with the greatest demand being for professionals and skilled tradespeople.

In March 2021, a record number of jobs were advertised in regional areas of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory.

Australian Community Media has also seen continued growth in the rural job advertising market.

This jobs growth has “shown no signs of easing off after such a strong start to the year”, according to ACM’s agriculture division commercial director Craig Chapman.

“Our experience is position vacant advertising on our platforms is closely aligned to the confidence the rural sector has, not only at the production level but also for those businesses providing products and services to rural producers,” Mr Chapman said.

Ms Ritchie said in Queensland and Western Australia, regional job vacancies were not far below previous records, while in the Northern Territory, regional job ads have been trending higher over the past eight months.

RAI chief economist Dr Kim Houghton said the Dubbo and Western NSW Region recorded the strongest annual growth, with job ads up by 117pc in the year to March 2021.

“Each and every one of the 32 regions outside of the mainland state capitals had more vacancies in March 2021 than in the previous month and also more vacancies than a year earlier,” Dr Houghton said.

Key job categories are Health Care and Social Assistance, followed by Public Administration and Safety, then the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services sectors.

Ms Ritchie said their research from late last year found that one in five people living in Perth, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne are considering a move to regional Australia.

Those research results mirror those from most others, including NBN Co. which commissioned its own survey to discover whether the city exodus was going to continue.

More than a third were looking to move after the pandemic.

People see benefits like saving money, a quieter lifestyle, and getting on with the things that make them happy as the key drivers for relocation.

Ms Ritchie said: “Of course there will be growing pains with regionalisation, but we should not shy away from the challenges ahead – and housing is one of those.

“While regional communities have long faced housing challenges, these have been amplified by the increased interest in regional living sparked by the coronavirus pandemic and the working-from-home phenomenon.”

Housing will be the focus of RAI’s next Regions Rising webinar series on May 20 to discuss those housing challenges.


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‘People are desperate’: Regional renters forced to apply for homes sight unseen

Regional renters

Real estate agents in regional areas with housing shortages are asking prospective tenants to complete a rental application before letting them attend a property inspection.

Leo Patterson Ross, the chief executive of the Tenants Union, said this practice used to be rare but it had taken off in the past six months across regional NSW, including the Central Coast, Illawarra, Hunter Valley, New England and Riverina.

“Because the landlord generally has multiple applicants they operate a competitive system to choose,” Mr Patterson Ross said. “The more people they have, the more rapidly they want to cut down the list – and asking for applications up front is clearly a pretty effective method and has bonuses because it also gets all the info up front.”

Many regional areas are grappling with very low vacancy rates because of a housing shortage and an influx of city dwellers moving to regional areas in a trend sparked by the pandemic and working from home. The real estate industry uses a 3 per cent vacancy rate as a benchmark of what is “normal”, but SQM Research figures show vacancies are well below 1 per cent in most country towns and regional cities.

The Sun-Herald has seen several advertisements for rental properties on the Central Coast where the agents are requesting prospective tenants to fill out a rental application beforehand in order to be allocated a place at an inspection or to arrange a private viewing.

A three-bedroom house on Summerland Point, near Lake Macquarie, was advertised with instructions to complete an application form first. “This will allow our office to process your application and then make an individual inspection time if your application has been pre-approved.”

Several agencies advertising this process did not return calls.

Regional renters

Virgina Richardson found agents would destroy the applications, meaning they needed to be completed multiple times.CREDIT:RHETT WYMAN 

Emily Sim, the chief executive of property management for Ray White, said it was a symptom of the low vacancy rate across the country.

Ms Sim said Ray White preferred online tenancy applications because tenants could complete one form for multiple properties and it cut down the time to process the application.

“We’re not requiring or encouraging it to be done in advance but on an individual office basis, they might be making their own policy around that, just trying to manage the numerous applications they’re getting,” she said.

Kelly Seaton, the owner of the Leasing Network in Bateau Bay, said demand for rental properties on the Central Coast started to pick up in October last year and it was now a crisis.

“I’ve been in the industry 27 years and I’ve never seen it like this,” she said. “People are desperate – it’s alarming.”

Ms Seaton said she does not ask prospective tenants to fill out an application in order to see a property and in her view it would be a waste of time to vet tenants beforehand in case they were not interested. However, some prospective clients chose to do the paperwork in advance so they were ready to go if they found something.

Jayne Pavic moved from Balmain to Forresters Beach on the Central Coast before Christmas with her husband and toddler and found the competition for rental properties intense, with properties being snapped up after two hours.

“We had to fill out the applications beforehand and it was really frustrating because … they weren’t all in the same system and it felt like a job application because we had to put so much detail in,” Ms Pavic said.

“We’re in our 30s and we’ve been renting for 10 years, and that’s never been the ask before, so I guess we took it as a signal of how competitive it is to get a place on the Central Coast.”

Virginia Richardson in East Gosford had a similar experience but added she had to fill out the paperwork twice for some agencies because they destroyed all the applications after each property was let.


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