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Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast rents rise after exodus of sea-changers from capital cities: Domain Rent Report

South-east Queensland’s hottest coastal hubs could be on the brink of a rental property bidding war after median asking prices rose to record heights late last year – outstripping Brisbane by as much as $60 per week.

Following a mass exodus of sea-changers from the nation’s major capital cities, demand for houses on both the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast skyrocketed over the three months leading up to December, sparking price rises of almost four per cent in just three months as vacancy rates continued to plummet.

The median asking rent price for a house on the Gold Coast is now $540 per week, up 3.8 per cent in the December quarter, with the Sunshine Coast sitting just behind at $530, up 3.9 per cent, the latest Domain Rent Report shows.

Meanwhile, the median asking rent for a house in Brisbane is now $480 per week – making the Queensland capital more affordable than its smaller coastal neighbours.

While ongoing restrictions and higher COVID-19 case numbers in Sydney and Melbourne had fuelled the sea-change trend and thrust the city’s property markets into the stratosphere, the global rise of remote working had also sparked the mass migration, Domain senior research analyst Nicola Powell said.

“It has happened before at particular times where we’ve seen stronger rent prices on the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast than Brisbane – but I think when you show the added dynamics of what the pandemic has created it’s really interesting,” Dr Powell said.

“Those coastal areas are now in high demand … and with our ability to work from home (it’s even higher).”

Sunshine Coast unit rents recorded their steepest annual gain since mid-2009 to $430 a week, and house rents had their steepest gain since 2014, with lifestyle locations in increasing demand from local travellers and remote workers, she said.

“In terms of rental performance, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast are really similar … over the past five years, rent prices for houses on the Sunshine Coast rose 16.1 per cent while houses on the Gold Coast rose by 15.2 per cent. They really outperformed Brisbane,” she said.

“And unit rent prices on the Gold Coast rose by 17.1 per cent and by 19.4 per cent on the Sunshine Coast. The vacancy rate for the Gold Coast was 0.6 per cent in December 2020, compared to 1.9 per cent in 2019 – it’s a landlords’ market.

“And on the Sunshine Coast it was 0.3 per cent – so it’s extremely tight. In December 2019 it was 1.4 per cent.”

Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast rents rise

Sea-changers have been heading to the Sunshine Coast. Photo: Belle Property

Principal and sales agent at McGrath Noosa, Matt Powe, said the sheer demand for rental properties on the Sunshine Coast had reached boiling point with “no light at the end of the tunnel” as interstate migrants continued to move north in droves.

“Our rental market is actually the same as our sales market – we are seeing unprecedented sales and growth,” Mr Powe said.

“It’s hard to say what exact percentage of new tenants are from interstate, but it’s significant – about 50 per cent – and it’s the highest it’s ever been.

“Even in the ’80s (during the boom) it wasn’t like this – we have surpassed it. Right now the market is literally without precedent,” he said.

“We are seeing below one per cent rental vacancy rates and people are just on waiting lists – but those lists are out of control.

“And what’s fuelling it is people wanting to get out of the cities. Every little flare-up of COVID-19, whether it’s Brisbane or Sydney, throws fuel on the fire.”

Ray White Runaway Bay business development manager Amanda Blake said the Gold Coast rental market was currently the hottest she’d seen in more than two decades.

“I’m getting $570 per week for a property that’s normally $500. This market surge started at the end of November and it happened in the blink of an eye,” Ms Blake said.

“While they are not all interstate tenants it’s a lot … and duplexes and townhouses are absolutely hot property right now.

“We need a crystal ball to know what’s going to happen in 12 months’ time, but I would say in my opinion the trajectory of this growth will depend on whether those interstate tenants can establish their businesses here … they are going to wait and see.

“But right now there’s a seven to 10 per cent rental yield and it’s incredible – it’s also a real sellers’ market at the moment.”


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Gold Coast

Residents in one of Australia’s fastest-growing cities are forced to sleep in cars as rental crisis bites

The rental situation in one of Australia’s fastest growing cities is so dire that desperate renters are having to sleep in their cars and in caravan parks.

Rental vacancy rates have plummeted below one per cent in most parts of the Gold Coast – down to below half a per cent in many suburbs – including Burleigh, Arundel, Coolangatta, Coomera and Varsity Lakes.

The rental squeeze is being driven by a range of factors, including Covid refugees coming from Melbourne and Sydney and also returning home from overseas.


The Gold Coast’s ‘surf, sun and sand’ reputation can be a trap for people who try to move there without enough money, as one community manager warns ‘don’t come here’ unless you are loaded 


9 Tallon Street, Upper Coomera – 26km from the beach – will cost you $700 a week. 

The Gold Coast has long had steep population growth but if anything it appears to have increased in recent years and the city’s housing is evidently not coping.

Leading demographer Mark McCrindle said recently population projections keep changing and the city reach a population of one million by 2034 – 16 years earlier than previously expected.

The imbalance between available properties and people who want them is so severe that it is creating an accommodation crisis leading to a homelessness problem in the city many Australians falsely romanticise as a dream place to reboot their lives.

Vicky Rose, manager of the Nerang Neighbourhood Centre, told Daily Mail Australia that 80 per cent of her enquiries are about ‘accommodation stress’, with increased homelessness inevitable.


Location, location: 1/30 Bullimah Avenue, Burleigh Heads went on the market yesterday for $750 a week and the agency has already been flooded with enquiries and applications. 

‘We are saying ‘don’t come here’, unless you have a job and plenty of money behind you,’ she said said.

‘People dream of the sun, surf and sand and yes it’s a great holiday destination, but it’s not a great place to live unless you can afford it.

‘The coast of living is up there with Sydney and Melbourne and people mistakenly assume its going to be cheaper.’

She said shonky landlords are making the situation worse by trying to cash in on the red hot market.

‘There’s a marked marked increase in long terms tenants – average joes – seeing their tenancy ended abruptly because they can’t increase the rent as much as they want.

‘So the owner kicks the tenants out saying they want to renovate, they paint one door and put it back on the market for an extra hundred dollar a week.’

Two property managers Daily Mail Australia spoke to both said the rental market was busier than they’d ever seen it, with applications for properties flooding inboxes.

Misty Kelly, of agency The Blue Door had received 50 enquiries and seven applications within two days of listing a four bedroom house with a pool at Upper Coomera, 26km from Main Beach.

‘There’s a huge demand, not enough properties and that creates a lot of pressure,’ she said.

‘People are sounding desperate.’

‘I’ve been an agent for 15 years and this is nothing like I’ve ever seen before.’

Ms Kelly said because there is more demand than supply, she advises young people not to move out of home because ‘prices are inflated’.

‘They need to let those people really in need get a property and not go homeless.’

Aside from people moving from interstates, she’s also seen people coming home from overseas move into their investment properties.

Carmen Kennedy, of Coomera Realty told the Gold Coast Bulletin people are ‘desperate’.


Ashmore Palms Holiday Village has seen a big increase in people moving in after they couldn’t find a rental property on the Gold Coast 

‘They were just so desperate, staying in cars and sleeping at caravan parks. It’s been pretty tough couple of months for people out there,’ she said.

Both Tallebudgera Creek Tourist Park and Ashmore Palms Holiday Village confirmed to the Daily Mail they had seen increases in people booking in because they couldn’t find a home to rent.

‘I’ve never seen it like this before,’ Carly Stanaway of JW Prestige, told Daily Mail Australia.

‘A lot of people are struggling, they are all applying for same property at once,’ she said.

‘They keep putting in applications getting knocked back, even though they have good applications, it’s just because so many people are applying.’

She was holding two open houses within two days of listing a modest brick semi at 30 Bullimah Avenue, Burleigh Heads, where the rent looks Sydney-like at $750 a week.

The suburb’s vacancy rate is just 0.4.


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Controversial Burleigh Theatre Tower Wins Support


The Gold Coast City Council’s planning committee has voted four-three in favour of new plans for an apartment tower above the old Burleigh theatre and arcade.

Sydney-based developer Weiya Holdings amended the plans after receiving 86 submissions and a petition objecting to the development at 64 Goodin Terrace and 1823 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads.

The new plan, designed by Conrad Gargett, reduced the number of apartments by six to 30 with adjustable screens on the western façade as well as four commercial tenancies, a gym and podium-top pool.

The 14-storey tower will be called the De-Luxe Apartments after the mid-century De Luxe Theatre and Old Burleigh Arcade, which were incorporated into the design.


▲ The front and back of the 14-storey old Burleigh Theatre development by Sydney-based developer Weiya Holdings. 

Council officers said the adaptive reuse included several improvements to the heritage building but finishes and colours used on the theatre would have to be investigated.

“The proposed design retains the majority of the significant fabric at the front of the site,” the officers said.

However they suggested a few minor amendments to the plans including changes to the proposed shopfronts of the beachfront theatre.

Weiya purchased the 1667sq m site for $18.5 million midway through 2019 and lodged plans to develop the site a year later.

The majority of concerns about the application surrounded the heritage building and its lack of reference in the new design, however this was an intentional decision by the developer which was supported by the council.

The proposal is due to go before a full meeting of the council next week.

Meanwhile, the council is currently planning improvements to public space in Burleigh including adding trees, seating, a large mural and festoon lighting along James Street as well as moving pedestrian crossings.


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Dreamworld to build $75 million resort under new agreement


Dreamworld could soon have a $75 million resort and tourist park across the road in Coomera.

The company entered a non-binding agreement on Wednesday with accommodation developer Evolution Group to fund and build the resort on the land owned by the theme park’s parent company Ardent Leisure.

The hotel would include 240 four-star rooms, 40 bungalows and a five-star tourist park with 100 powered sites and restaurants, conference facilities, pools and a gymnasium.

Dreamworld Resort guests would also have offers to access the Dreamworld and WhiteWater World theme parks throughout their stay.

Dreamworld chief executive officer Greg Yong said the arrangement would boost tourism.

“This announcement is another positive step in the recovery of our parks post-COVID and will have a significant economic impact not only for Dreamworld, but also for the northern Gold Coast, one of Australia’s fastest-growing regional corridors,” he said.

“The project will create employment within the local community and contribute to the regeneration of tourism on the Gold Coast.

“The hotel and tourist park will complement Dreamworld as a premium entertainment destination and add a new level of convenience for guests who will have our theme park and water park on their accommodation’s doorstep.”

Queensland theme parks were forced to close in March last year because of the coronavirus pandemic and Dreamworld and WhiteWater World reopened in August, offering discounted tickets in an attempt to attract people in for the September school holidays.

Evolution Group boss John Robinson jnr said he looked forward to collaboratively delivering high-quality accommodation options for guests.

“The Evolution Group team is a family company providing over 2200 rooms around Australia through our resorts and accommodation houses,” he said.

“Having Australia’s favourite theme park on the doorstep of this development will certainly provide guests with action-packed getaways.”

Dreamworld and Evolution Group would work together to obtain planning approvals, while Ardent Leisure would explore options to maximise the value of its surplus land.


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