Some home insurers will no longer touch parts of the Gold Coast, leaving residents with unaffordable premiums or without insurance as what experts call the “red-zone” phenomenon expands.
It comes after the Gold Coast experienced a major flooding event earlier this month, with more than 120 millimetres of rain falling in one day. Rainfall records were also smashed earlier this year.
Quote requests lodged with Youi, Budget Direct and other budget insurers were denied for properties in Harris Court, Currumbin Waters, which is in a City of Gold Coast designated flood zone.
Other, larger, insurers offer quotes for policies, but the premiums could be as high as $9000 a year for just the house if storm surge coverage is included.
For policies where storm surge coverage was not immediately clear, the price was between $2500 to $2900.
One resident in the area, who declined to be named, told Domain that Youi declared there was no option to renew their policy when it expired.
Red zones are where home insurance becomes prohibitively expensive due to the high risk of natural disaster, or insurers decline to offer coverage at all.
In parts of Surfers Paradise, the situation is similar. In a flood zone in River Drive, both Youi and Budget Direct did not issue online quotes.
On Rapallo Avenue, Surfers Paradise, on a block partially in the flood zone, Youi will not complete a quote and Budget Direct would quote about $1100 a year but would not include flood cover.
Youi said in a statement the company was “selective about issuing new policies in Currumbin Waters because of the high risk of water inundation, a decision based on both independent flood mapping data and previous claims experience.”
The insurer did not answer the question about whether a Currumbin Waters resident could take out a policy at all, or why others were unable to renew. It did not address Surfers Paradise.
Budget Direct did not respond by deadline.
Climate change consultancy Climate Risk’s director Karl Mallon said the relatively unaffordable insurance rates or unwillingness to insure altogether was troubling.
“They could just turn down the flood cover, but reputationally it just doesn’t look good when a flood comes and people don’t get paid out,” he said. “They say, ‘we just don’t want to know.’
“If they’ve come to that view, what happens if other insurers do? You’re creeping towards uninsurability.”
Insurance premiums of up to $3000 were approaching unaffordability, Dr Mallon said.
“That’s indicating the market rate for flood,” he said. “Last I looked, the median wage in Australia is $60,000, it’s not actually that high.
“That’s 5 per cent of someone’s wage, that’s a lot of money. A few people are starting to baulk at the price.”
Dr Mallon said the $1100 a year figure, quoted by Budget Direct in Rapallo Avene, Surfers Paradise, was still a cause for concern.
“It’s a little bit on the high side but a normal sort of a price,” he said. “[But] when you try to add flood cover, they just won’t do it.”
The $9000 per year quote was provided by NRMA Insurance. A spokesman said in a statement the price was because their data modelling suggested a flood event was likely, but the premium could increase or decrease as new information became available.
“Our customers’ premiums are assessed at their individual property level and reflect their exposure to a range of risks, including flood, as well as other natural disasters,” he said. “NRMA Insurance Home policies automatically provide cover for flood, rainwater run-off and storm surge, which we believe is critical for our customers in coastal areas.”
Dr Mallon said the figure was close to a “real” price for the risk of insuring in these areas, but it amounted to red-zoning.
“If they’re coming in at $9000, that’s exactly a red-zone number for us. We think a lot of people may not be able to afford that,” he said. “There are only really two reasons. One is they genuinely believe that’s the right price they have to charge so they don’t make a loss.
“The only other explanation is they actively don’t want people to take their contract.”
Dr Mallon said he would think twice before buying a property in an area where insurance was that expensive.
If I was a home buyer and I was going into an area like this … this is a pretty big warning sign,” he said. “That’s for this year, that’s not even for the future with climate change.
“Someone buying a house is locking themselves in for 30 years, and the world is changing pretty fast.”
Youi’s statement said there was a need to restrict the construction of new homes in areas at risk of natural disasters, to ensure insurance would remain affordable.
Dr Mallon agreed.
“The big agreement [within the insurance industry] is that buildings are being built where they shouldn’t and with materials, they shouldn’t. It’s not acceptable,” he said.
“The idea we’re allowing the property sector to get away with building high-risk properties is like allowing people to put arsenic in one in 100 tubs of baby formula.”
This article is republished from www.domain.com.au under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
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 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.
‘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’.
‘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.
Article Source: www.dailymail.co.uk
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.
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.
Article Source: www.theurbandeveloper.com
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.
Article Source: www.brisbanetimes.com.au
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