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Gold Coast Housing Market Insights: October 2021

Gold Coast Housing Market Insights

The Urban Developer’s latest Gold Coast housing market insights reveals the city’s property prices have increased by nearly $400 a day in the past year—jumping by more than 30 per cent in some suburbs.

This resource, updated periodically, will collate and examine the economic levers pushing and pulling the Gold Coast’s housing market.

Combining market research, rolling indices and expert market opinion, this evolving hub will act as a pulse check for those wanting to take a closer look at the movements across the market.

Gold Coast median property prices % change

Type Month Quarter Annual Median
All 2.0%▼ 6.4%▼ 26.7%▲ $727,219▲
Houses 1.6%▼ 6.2%▼ 28.6%▲ $886,747▲
Units 2.6%▲ 6.7%▲ 23.2%▲ $544,681▲

^Source: Corelogic – September 2021

While other housing market’s across the country saw declines in 2020 due to the pandemic, the Gold Coast, after a decade of moderate growth, has benefitted from the rise of working from home culture and lifestyle offerings.

According to Corelogic, the average Gold Coast house prices increased by 22 per cent between July 2020 and 2021.

The Gold Coast’s increase is now outpacing more established cities such as Adelaide, Darwin and Perth.

In the 12 months leading to March this year, the average price of new apartments increased by 23 per cent.

The rate of price growth has continued to gain momentum on the Gold Coast after reaching a peak in March this year, when values rose 3 per cent in a single month—a 15.4 per cent increase compared to March 2020.

The 2 per cent growth in dwelling prices in September was down slightly from the 2.3 per cent lift in August. Prices are now up 26.7 per cent across the year.

The current median value for dwellings is $727,000 advancing an additional $17,000 over the month of September.

A typical Gold Coast house is now worth $887,000, with a 1.6 per cent increase in September pocketing homeowners $25,000 across the month.

Over the June quarter, the median house price rose to a new record high, 18.2 per cent higher than the year before.

The median for a Gold Coast’s apartment is now $545,000 with many new buyers planning to split their time and lease their unit to holidaymakers while they are in the city, and spend part of their time working from home at the beach.

Buyers have also been lured by the Gold Coast apartment market’s switch from skyscrapers such as Q1 and Soul, both of which are more than 75 levels, to smaller projects featuring bigger apartments with more ameneties.

Gold Coast’s housing market: policy updates

Doubt on RBA rate hike plans

The central bank reiterated its view it will not increase the cash rate until actual inflation is sustainably within the 2 per cent-to-3 per cent target range and such condition would not happen before 2024.

RBA governor Philip Lowe said it was “difficult” to rationalise the market’s expectation that rates might rise in 2022 or 2023.

Frydenberg signals home loan crackdown

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has given backing to regulators to crack down on high-debt home loans to reduce financial risks from record-low interest rates and surging property prices.

Analysts expect the council to announce new home lending restrictions before the end of this year.

Brisbane Olympics to push property market’s limits

Brisbane house prices will hit the $1-million median well before the 2032 Olympics with suburbs near venues tipped to move up to $3.9 million.

Meanwhile, prices on the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast hit $792,000, up 18.2 per cent on last year, and $825,000 up 23.1 per cent, respectively.

What the experts are saying about the Gold Coast’s housing market

Dr Nicola Powell

Nicola Powell
Chief of Research

“Queensland has been ready for growth for so long, and while it has always been the spot for people to move interstate from Sydney or Melbourne, the pandemic has created a new environment for people to re-imagine what their life is.

“So, we’ve seen an increased volume of people moving from interstate in their prime working years, and while south-east Queensland has always been front of mind for retirees, that’s not the case anymore.

“It offers affordability and so, for some, they’ve been able to put a lifestyle dream into reality.”

Steven King Colliers Gold Coast

Steven King
Gold Coast Director
Colliers International

“It could be scary to see how many people do want to come to the Gold Coast.

“Covid has probably brought forward those plans many years, where they’re [buying] now as opposed to when they retire.

“That demand meant prices have got to go up, but the Gold Coast is still more affordable than some other places.”

Mark Witheriff Managing Director, Gold Coast Queensland

Mark Witheriff
Gold Coast Managing Director

“Prime beachfront property up and down the Gold Coast, from the border to Main Beach, is very strong.

“There’s a real lifestyle change. They are looking for three bedrooms, some real comfort in them, whereas previously they were two-bedroom apartments and they were trying to get more in there rather than less.

“Now people are downsizing or coming up and wanting to live in these prestige apartment buildings rather than just a holiday. That’s the shift – bigger and better apartments.”

Stuart Legg Sales Associate RE/MAX Regency, Robina

Stuart Legg
Sales Associate
RE/MAX Regency

“For years I’ve probably run at about 5 per cent per annum for interstate buyers but now it’s 16 per cent.

“I think it comes back down to the fact that interstate buyers want something that will improve their lifestyle … and money goes a long way up here.

“I have also seen more younger buyers coming up and a few young professional couples—who would generally be chained to a CBD environment but [who] can now work from home—are buying acreage.”

Gold Coast housing market forecasts

ANZ similarly predicts at the national level Australian house prices will rise by a strong 17 per cent through 2021, before slowing to 6 per cent growth in 2022.

CommBank forecasts dwelling prices will rise 8 per cent in 2021 and 6 per cent in 2022, with house prices to rise 16 per cent in that time and unit prices by 9 per cent.

NAB has also upgraded its forecasts for dwelling prices—now expected to grow around 19 per cent in 2021 and per cent in 2022.

Westpac has upgraded its housing market forecasts, tipping house prices to lift by a further 5 per cent in the remaining three months of 2021 to be up 22 per cent for the year.

Gold Coast auction clearance rates

Week Clearance rate Total Auctions
Week ending 6 September 2021 66.6% 69
Week ending 13 September 2021 70.9% 89
Week ending 20 September 2021 74.5% 55
Week ending 27 September 2021 69.8% 83

^Source: Corelogic – September 2021

While Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast property markets are all unique, there are a few things they have in common and that is to do with what Queenslanders are looking for in a home: size, property type, property features and location.

According to Corelogic, year-on-year home sales have risen by 54 per cent in Queensland to be at the highest number of annual sales since 2004.

The greatest increase in prices over the year has been in suburbs along the future southern route of the Gold Coast light rail, according to the data, with the next stages to run from Broadbeach to Burleigh Heads and to the border via Gold Coast Airport.

Broadbeach-Burleigh recorded a 32.4 per cent rise in property values between August 2020 and August 2021 while Coolangatta jumped 32 per cent.

Nationally, turnover has been the highest in Queensland, with 6.8 per cent of the state’s properties transacting over the year to August.

Auction clearance rates are expected to continue at record high levels bolstered by demand from interstate buyers emerging from lockdowns alongside local buyers taking advantage of historically low interest rates.

Supply also remains tight with more people looking to buy on the Gold Coast than vendors looking to sell—leading to increased property prices.

Views for Surfers Paradise auctions are up 40 per cent while listings in Robina, Broadbeach, Southport and Sorrento are all up more than 30 per cent.

Gold Coast residential rental vacancy rate

City Vacancy rate Monthly change Vacancies Net change
Gold Coast 1.2% 0.1%▲ 494▲ ▲39

^Source: SQM Research – September 2021

Queensland’s rental crisis has worsened to a point where it is now more expensive to rent a house on the Gold Coast than in Sydney, and the chronic shortage of available properties could last for at least three years, experts say.

The median asking rent for houses on the Gold Coast has jumped to $766 a week as of September, compared with $702 in Sydney, according to recent SQM Research data.

Gold Coast house rents shot up by five per cent over the past three months with the city also collecting its greatest annual rate of growth—22.9 per cent—since records began in 2004.

Unit rents also rose 13.6 per cent over the year and 4.2 per cent over the quarter, the strongest rate of annual growth since 2007.

The pandemic-driven rush from Sydney and Melbourne into the state has sent Queensland’s rental market into uncharted territory, pushing vacancy rates down to their lowest levels since 2012.

House rents in Mudgeeraba rose 8.1 per cent over the past year to $600 per week with Clear Island Waters, on the Gold Coast, stealing the top-performing crown by suburb after the median house rent skyrocketed 30 per cent in a year to $949 per week.

Median house rents in the Ormeau-Oxenford region to jump 7.1 per cent over the past quarter to $525 per week, with units in the nearby Nerang region soaring by 7.9 per cent to $480 in three months.

Queensland building approvals 

Dwelling Approved Monthly % change
Houses 2234▼ -5.2%▼
Units 3516▲ 4.0%▲

^Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics – August 2021

New dwelling approvals have risen an unexpected 6.8 per cent in August, led by an uptick in apartments moving through the system at the fastest rate since March.

The national seasonally adjusted total of 18,716 dwelling approvals ended five consecutive months of decline and was bolstered by a 13.7 per cent resurgence in apartment approvals, data from the ABS indicated.

Strong demand for apartments was particularly evident in Queensland and Western Australia where population growth is driving demand for medium-density housing.

The number of units approved in Queensland and Western Australia were 33.2 per cent and 84.2 per cent higher in the 12 months to August 2021 than in the previous year.

Residential dwelling approvals have now increased by 33.7 per cent in the three months to August compared to the same time last year, with detached approvals up by 31.5 per cent and multi-unit approvals up by 38.1 per cent.

Residential alteration and additions approvals ticked up 10 per cent from July to the second highest level recorded, behind April of this year.

Queensland home loan lending indicators 

Type Aug 2021 ($bn) Monthly % change
New loan commitments for owner occupier housing $3.94 0.5%▲
New loan commitments for investor housing $1.85 13.4%▲
New loan commitments to first home buyers $2.53 1.6%▲

^Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics – August 2021

The relatively restriction-free states of Queensland recorded the strongest growth in investor demand this year, up 13.4 per cent over the month of August.

Investor loan commitments reached about $1.85 billion across the four weeks according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics lending indicators as buyers look to snap up a potential oceanfront property.

At $9.4 billion, investor loan commitments nationally across the month were at their highest level in dollar terms since April 2015, about the last time the prudential regular was forced to step in and cool the housing market.

The average owner-occupier home loan is up $76,000, or about 15 per cent, for the year, while the average dipped for most states in August.

The value of investor lending in August was almost double that of 2020. But in contrast to 2015, when investors made up about 50 per cent of the value of loan commitment, the present portion is just below 30 per cent.

But despite growing demand from investors, owner-occupier commitments remained elevated above long-run levels and totalled $21 billion over the reporting period.

Queensland interstate migration

State Arrivals Departures Net change
Queensland 28,500▼ 21,465▲ 7035▼

^Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics – March 2021

With a population of roughly 3.7 million, Queensland’s south-east is Australia’s fastest-growing zone.

The Gold Coast and south-east Queensland were direct beneficiaries of Victoria’s extended lockdown last year, with a dramatic population shift north.

Australian Bureau of Statistics data for June revealed Victoria’s population fell by 12,700 while the number of interstate migration to Queensland increased by 30,000, or 2 per cent.

Before the pandemic, Gold Coast city planners were working to a framework that the population would reach a million by 2041, delivering 6000 dwellings for approximately 15,000 new arrivals per annum.

Queensland’s population is now expected to surge by more than a quarter of a million people in the next four years, according to forecasts in the federal budget, as people continue to flood in from other states.

Additional forecasts suggest it will top 5 million by the middle of the next decade.


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Local and interstate buyers drive SPG Land’s sell-out of Robina’s Cambridge Residences

international buyers

Almost a quarter of buyers in the final stage were from interstate, while four apartments were sold to international buyers

Local and interstate buyers have snapped up the final stage of SPG Land’s $162 million Cambridge Residences apartment development in Robina.

The $44.5 million sell-out of Brooke Residences was the final stage of Cambridge, which all up has over 400 apartments.

Project marketer Colliers said the final stage, comprising 95 apartments, proved a hit with local and interstate buyers who were drawn by the value proposition of the development.

“This final stage of Cambridge Residences demonstrated a quantum shift in the buyer profile from investors to owner-occupiers,” said David Higgins, Director Residential for Colliers Gold Coast.

Cambridge Residences

Cambridge Residences 42 Laver Drive, Robina QLD 4226 

“An overwhelming majority of buyers in the final stage, 74 per cent, were owner occupiers which is a massive turnaround from the previous three stages where 80 per cent of sales went to investors.”

Higgins said the development benefitted from a spill of buyers who have been priced out of projects in beachside locations. Apartments in the final stage sold at an average price of well under $500,000 each.

“Not everyone can afford the beachfront, but Cambridge Residences proves that great projects in prime locations that are well priced and with great amenities are selling well,” he said.

“Our team received excellent local enquiry, as well as a number of value-seeking interstate buyers who flew up specifically to purchase off the plan.”

Almost a quarter of buyers in the final stage were from interstate, while four apartments were sold to international buyers. Of the 74 per cent of sales to owner occupiers, almost 50 per cent were first-home buyers.

A large number of sales were secured by downsizers who had sold larger homes to take up residence in Robina’s urban hub, while the 26 per cent of investors who bought into the final stage were all local Gold Coast buyers.

“Cambridge Residences was a niche market offering that combined a fringe location with a high level of residential amenity,” Higgins added.

“The quick sell-out of this final stage was an outstanding vote of confidence in Robina and for price-pointed stock targeting the missing middle.”

Following the sell-out of Cambridge Residences, SPG Land is now gearing up for an $800 million three-tower development in Surfers Paradise that will deliver an innovative design and create one of the largest residential resort projects ever undertaken on the Gold Coast.


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New half and full-floor beachfront apartment tower heading for Main Beach

Main Beach

Plans have been lodged for a 21-level apartment tower at 3671 Main Beach Parade, on the sought-after beachfront side, which will have just half and whole-floor apartments

The developer push for more high-end apartment towers on the Gold Coast is set to continue at Main Beach.

Plans have been lodged for a 21-level apartment tower at 3671 Main Beach Parade, on the sought-after beachfront side, which will have just half and whole-floor apartments.

The application was lodged by local hotelier Bruce Donnachy, who runs the Arundel Tavern.

The half-floor apartments will run from levels three to nine. Level nine upwards will have just whole-floor three bedroom apartments, with 328 sqm of internal space and 80 sqm of external balconies.

Crowning the DBI-designed development is the two-level penthouse, spanning some 670 sqm of internal living space and a further 100 sqm of outdoor. The half-floor apartments will have 191 sqm of internal space.

The resident amenity is located on level 10, where there will be a gym, multi-purpose room, swimming pool with deck, and a barbecue area.

DBI’s brief was to design a contemporary coastal luxury 5-star residential apartment building that is timeless.

“The timeless architecture will set a new benchmark in the Main Beach Precinct,” DBI advise in the submissions to the Gold Coast City Council.

“The architecture of the proposed luxury residential development is composed of simple curved and linear forms, white concrete spandrels, a textured and timeless material palette of travertine stone and timber screening, creating a rich and layered coastal effect.

“A series of planters on the facade add a layering and softening of the built form, reinforcing the importance of sub-tropical design.”

 Main Beach

Renders of the proposed building. Image credit: DBI Architecture 

The subject site sits at the eastern edge of the core Main Beach precinct.

“This project offers the opportunity to design a luxury residential apartment building that caters for the owner occupier,” DBI’s statement read.

The high-end development trend is sweeping the Gold Coast, as stock continues to tighten as the luxury owner-occupier demand continues to rise.

Nearby on Main Beach Parade is La Mer, one of the few developments in Main Beach currently selling which also targets the luxury owner-occupier.

La Mer

La Mer 3580 Main Beach Parade, Main Beach QLD 4217 

La Mer comprises just 29 apartments across its 34 levels, start from 307 sqm. It is being pitched itself as the ultimate downsizer development by NPA Projects. “Transitioning from a house to an apartment has never been easier,” NPA advise.

Only a handful of apartments remain.

Broadbeach is seeing more of an uptick in the luxury owner-occupier space than some of the surrounding Gold Coast suburbs.

Little Projects recently launched Aperture, which will have just 29 apartments across the 35 levels, with 26 full-floor apartments with three bedrooms, three bathrooms and three parking spaces.

They start from $2.1 million, with every level of the 120 metre building offering uninterrupted ocean views from the balcony off the living area.

Ferro Chow Architects took a similar approach to the downsizer trend, offering half and full-floors at a prime corner Broadbeach site opposite the bowls club.

The 46-level tower will have 59 apartments, with half-floor apartments taking up the first half of the tower, then full-floor apartments from there up.

The smallest apartments have three bedrooms and a multi-purpose room. There are 36 three-bedroom apartments, 22 four-bedroom apartments, and a special penthouse toward the point end of the building.


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How Rothelowman designed Hirsch & Faigen’s Kirra Beach apartment development, Emerson


In their statement to the Gold Coast City Council, Rothelowman said 100 Musgrave Street offered the opportunity to consolidate a historically rich, vibrant and evolving part of the City

Some of the finest Gold Coast apartment developments have been designed by Rothelowman, one of Queensland’s leading architecture practices, in recent years.

Rothel​o​wman, who has offices in the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, put together the designs for The Monaco, which recently sold-out with an average sale price of around $5 million, as well as Dune at Main Beach, SPG Land’s massive $800 million apartment towers on Ferny Av​enue.

Roth​e​low​man was commissioned for the first Gold Coast apartment development from the Melbourne-based developer Hirsch & Faigen.

Hirsch & Faigen had them design the 14-level, Palm Beach apartment development Hemingway, named after the famous author and featuring a distinct blush façade. That sold out all of its 78 apartments in just a few months.

For Emerson, Hirsch & Faigen’s more boutique Kirr​a Beach, Coolangatta offering, Hirsch & Faigen had the team put together something a little different to Hemingway.

Emerson Kirra

Emerson Kirra 100 Musgrave Street, Coolangatta QLD 4225 

In their statement to the Gold Coast City Council, Rothelowman said 100 Musgrave Street offered the opportunity to consolidate a historically rich, vibrant and evolving part of the City.

“Primarily the scheme seeks to challenge the “bias of the linear coastal city” by focusing on the interfaces created between the ground plane and the public spaces of the street,” the statement read.

They stated that, although Emerson was a relatively modestly scaled development, the prime corner location allowed the scheme to challenge the prosaic and prevalent “blunt street edges” that typify the oceanfront boulevards of the City, instead favouring a generous display of communal coastal activities.

“Historically the City has celebrated it’s outdoor activities; pool’s exposed to the street, sun lounges under umbrellas overlooking the footpath, gardens framing views into and out of the semi-private spaces of development.

“Observations of this playfulness have been paramount in the exploration of an undercroft as the primary device in creating a permeable and porous interface between the semi-private and public realms of the City.”

The Rothelowman team said that the overall composition of the scheme favours a simple and informed diagram that is analytical of the surrounding precinct.

“A three storey “street building” provides a direct response to the Cities desire to create a strong “Urban Ground”. This is further accentuated through a series of dancing, curved and landscaped balconies that shift amongst a rational and expressed structural order which ties the ground to the tower .

“A simple plate allows for the transition from podium to tower architecture creating a deep eave that is visually demonstrative of an overt subtropical approach to buildings.

“The tower architecture follows a similar approach to simplicity. Profiled slab edges project forward creating shade and protection. The line of enclosure to the tower dwellings is kept back from the edge, undulating and folding to craft views. Recesses in the façade offer the opportunity for residents to tailor small gardens within the building form offering more immediate amenity in the context of the expansive and broad longer aspects to the ocean.

These small indents also allow for the control of cross ventilation through openings away from the face of the building enabling better resident control of breezes in windy conditions.

“The overall approach to the design has been one of deliberate and measured analysis. The building is modest in expression favouring performance and liveability over decoration. A relative simplicity enables the aspirations of coastal living to be prioritised; engaging with the environment in a meaningful and deliberate way.


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