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Parts of Queensland’s coastline identified as global hotspots for sea level rise

Parts of Queensland's coastline identified as global hotspots for sea level rise (1)

He only moved in seven months ago, but Roly Green has already been forced to clear out the shed in the backyard of his home on the northern Gold Coast.

Mr Green’s property at Jacobs Well was one of many across the Gold Coast that flooded when record rainfall drenched the region in February.

Fortunately, the rain did not coincide with a king tide — that would have pushed water levels even higher as drains backed up.

“The water was coming down the street and the drains aren’t good enough and so it pooled around [the front of the property] and into the yard,” he said.

Fortunately, the house was spared.

Parts of Queensland's coastline identified as global hotspots for sea level rise (12)

“It’s a great house — the only reason I bought this place is because it was a metre off the ground.”

But scientists are concerned 1 metre will not be enough to protect Mr Green’s house in the future.

Parts of Queensland's coastline identified as global hotspots for sea level rise (11)

Even the most conservative of predictions by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) show global sea levels will rise 30 to 60 centimetres by 2100.

If temperatures climb more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the IPCC estimate the sea level rise will blow out to between 60 and 110cm.

In Queensland, several islands in the Torres Strait are particularly vulnerable.

But the problem does not stop there — Port Douglas, Cairns and the Sunshine Coast are also at risk.

‘The last line of defence’

Coastal scientist Daniel Harris said parts of Australia’s east coast have been identified as global hotspots.

The Gold Coast is of particular concern, given the density of development and population, often in sensitive areas.

“There are a lot of people and infrastructure in very low-lying areas or on top of what used to be dune systems,” Dr Harris said.

“It’s a massive amount of water that’s all of a sudden impacting on the coast, and the beach will respond to that by eroding back towards the dunes, if they’re available. If they’re not, it will go into homes, infrastructure (and) roads,” Dr Harris said.

Dubbed the “last line of defence”, a boulder wall concealed behind sand dunes stretches along much of the Gold Coast’s 42-kilometre coastline.

Parts of Queensland's coastline identified as global hotspots for sea level rise (10)

Combined with sand replenishment, the wall is an integral part of Gold Coast beach management.

But without an upgrade, Dr Harris said the seawall might not provide the protection needed.

“With higher sea levels, those defences may start being overtopped, creating damage and a lot of the iconic buildings on the Gold Coast could be at risk,” Dr Harris said.

Parts of Queensland's coastline identified as global hotspots for sea level rise (9)

But he warned there would also be a downside to going higher.

“One of the big things that can happen when you build seawalls on beaches that are eroding is that you can lose the beach,” he said.

More than an inconvenience

The impacts will also be felt inland, and areas already prone to flooding face the biggest threat.

Parts of Queensland's coastline identified as global hotspots for sea level rise (8)

Budds Beach on the Nerang River in Surfers Paradise is an idyllic sandy retreat.

But on a king tide, water can rise through drains and flood the streets.

Kate Madison, who has owned a cafe in Budds Beach for 20 years, said the flooding was usually just a nuisance.

“All our copper wiring gets impacted [and] it’s just you couldn’t drive the car through the salty water. I think we all get a bit concerned about that,” she said.

Parts of Queensland's coastline identified as global hotspots for sea level rise (7)

However, a rising sea level will bring more than inconvenience.

“Around here, there’s not one property that wouldn’t be devastated. There’s not one business that wouldn’t be devastated,” Ms Madison said.

As part of a campaign to raise awareness, local environmental group Gecko engaged a surveyor to map out the impact on Winders Park at Currumbin.

The flood level was calculated by adding 80 centimetres to the highest king tide.

Campaign organiser David Paynter said he was shocked by the result.

“That covers across all the park out onto the road and laps up against the houses on the far side of the road,” he said.

Parts of Queensland's coastline identified as global hotspots for sea level rise (6)

Lois Levy from Gecko said most of the Gold Coast’s recreational areas are beside creeks, canals and flood plains.

“They’ll probably be underwater and as far as I know — there aren’t any possibilities of alternatives,” she said.

“If there’s no way for people to recreate, that’s also going to impact on the Gold Coast economy,” she said.

Parts of Queensland's coastline identified as global hotspots for sea level rise (5)

Development sites are at a premium and developers are eyeing off floodplains.

At a 25-hectare site known as The Cow Paddock at Carrara, a Gold Coast suburb several kilometres inland, a 2013 development approval stipulated that it have lifeboats on standby.

More than 500,000 people call the Gold Coast home and the population is forecast to grow to 850,000 in the next 20 years.

Parts of Queensland's coastline identified as global hotspots for sea level rise (4)

Costly litigation risk

Environmental lawyer Justine Bell-James said local governments faced a dilemma when deciding on a course of action.

“Irrespective of what decision governments make on development, they could end up in court,” Associate Professor Bell-James said.

She said saying no to a development in the short term could end up in a costly court challenge.

But Professor Bell-James said where she and other lawyers saw the litigation risk in the future was “against local governments for approving developments in hazard areas”.

The Gold Coast City Council is already incorporating an 80 centimetre sea level rise into its mapping as part of the City Plan.

The council declined the ABC’s request for an interview, but in a written statement pointed to a number of measures already undertaken to address issues associated with sea level rise.

That includes the installation of an artificial reef off one of the most vulnerable areas: Palm Beach.

Parts of Queensland's coastline identified as global hotspots for sea level rise (3)

It will work to prevent erosion by influencing waves and currents to preserve the sand.

Griffith University’s Joerg Baumeister, who was working with the council on adaption strategies, said it was important to act now.

“We have to start to think strategically, and that costs money, but the earlier we start to prepare ourselves the better it is,” Professor Baumeister said.

He said the Netherlands was a “wonderful” case study for the idea that cities could flourish despite rising sea levels.

“They are building new floating settlements for example … and even floating farms,” he said.

Dr Harris agreed early action was essential.

Parts of Queensland's coastline identified as global hotspots for sea level rise (2)

“The last thing we’d ever want is … [to] start losing these national icons, these really beautiful parts of the world that make Australia kind of famous but [are] also important to our culture.”

But Gecko spokeswoman Lois Levy said unless more action was taken on reducing global warming, adaption would be pointless.

“The temperatures will be so high that basically it’ll be a planet you can’t live on,” she said.

“We need definite targets on reducing greenhouse gases.”

While authorities grapple with the problem … residents like Mr Green are left wondering what they can do.

“It’s not just as easy to pack up and go. If we’ve got to leave here … how do you sell your house,” he said.

Scientists say it is a tomorrow problem that must be tackled today.




This article is republished from under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Brisbane and QLD property market update – December 2020

market update

If there is a defining theme for the Brisbane market over 2020 it has been it’s resilience in the face of a pandemic which has put a halt to interstate and international tourist arrivals for much of the year.

This has not stopped housing values in the city reaching new record highs, with property analysts agreeing that the city, as well as parts of south east Queensland, are on a trajectory of strong growth into 2021. This is against a backdrop of rising values across the major capitals, as the national home value index rose +1.0 per cent in December; the third consecutive month where dwelling values have grown.

Nationally the residential real estate market has proved remarkably resilient, despite a wobble between March and September when COVID protocols interrupted the market – but overall property prices have held steady.

This is largely due to three factors, including the relative success Australia has had controlling the virus, record low interest rates and the government stimulus that has supported businesses and individuals throughout much of the pandemic.

Now let’s take a look at the Brisbane market and how it has performed over December.

Brisbane dwellings continued their steady, determined progress advancing +1.1 per cent over December, for a median price of $521,686. This brings the Queensland capital up +2.1 per cent for the quarter and +3.6 per cent for the year. This places it in the middle of the pack for the major capitals, a position – characterised by a steady and less volatile growth trajectory.

CoreLogic data reports that houses continue to outperform units across the city, advancing +2.1 per cent over December. Property investor and commentator Michael Yardney identifies Queenslanders’ preference for houses over units as the main reasons for this trend.

CoreLogic data reports that houses continue to outperform units across the city, advancing +2.1 per cent over December

If you are looking for suburb specific highlights CoreLogic’s Best of the Best Report 2020 identified Teneriffe (inner city Brisbane) as the Queensland suburb with the highest median house value of $1,859,323.

Michael Yardney points out that, “…in recent months houses in Brisbane have enjoyed improved demand and the number of transactions in the Brisbane housing market are higher than they were pre-Coronavirus.”

He goes on to clarify that property markets within any city are inherently fragmented, and his data shows that, “…freestanding Brisbane houses within 5-7 km of the CBD or in good school catchment zones have grown in value strongly.”

CoreLogic data appears to confirm this, with dwellings in the upper quartile up +1.25 per cent over December. Yardney cautions against investing in certain segments of the Brisbane market which have underperformed, including high-rise apartments, new and off the plan apartments and new housing estates in blue-collar areas.

Like many other regional markets, high demand for property in specific Queensland hotspots like the Sunshine Coast has driven the market up +6.9 per cent over 2020. Contrast this with Brisbane metro’s growth of +3.6 per cent over the same timeframe for some perspective.

Houses dominate sales in most regional markets, and they are posting solid growth here, up +1.5 per cent over December, while units grew a respectable +1.0 per cent over the month.

Sunshine Beach on the Sunshine Coast recorded the highest growth for houses up +27.6 per cent over the year. For units, Noosa Heads has the highest median values at $898,838, while Currumbin on the Gold Coast posted the highest growth over the year advancing +24.0 per cent.

According to property forecasters Hotspotting other regional postcodes showing promise for the 2021, include Mackay, Rockhampton, Gladstone and Townsville – with a recovery in resources behind some of these locations. Toowoomba is also showing promise as new infrastructure projects stimulate the local economy.

Sunshine Beach on the Sunshine Coast recorded the highest growth for houses up +27.6 per cent over the year

Queensland rental market update

Overall Brisbane house rentals have held steady, with a drop in asking rents mainly impacting the inner-city apartment market. According to the SQM, Brisbane’s gross rental yield for houses is currently around 4.0 per cent and for units is around 5.2 per cent.

CoreLogic data indicates that West Gladstone is the Queensland postcode with the biggest change in rents over the year, up +17.4 per cent; while Mackay/Isaac/Whitsundays has the best rental yield of +14.6 per cent.

CoreLogic data indicates that West Gladstone is the Queensland postcode with the biggest change in rents over the year, up +17.4 per cent

The holiday rental market in many regional locations has been impacted by the COVID flight from cities, with rental vacancy rates in some coastal locations close to zero. CoreLogic data shows that the Gold Coast had a vacancy rate of 1.9 per cent in December ‘19, which dropped to 0.2 per cent in December ‘20. It is a similar story on the Sunshine Coast (1.9 per cent vs 0.1 per cent) and Noosa (1.8 per cent vs 0.2 per cent) over the same timeframe.

The outlook for 2021

Overall the medium/long term outlook is positive for Brisbane, with Westpac forecasting that property values could increase +20 per cent in 2022-23. Chief Economist Nerida Conisbee believes that if low interest rates, government incentives for buyers and the Australian economy continues to reopen, ‘prospects for home sellers in 2021 are positive.’

Michael Yardney believes that property markets will perform strongly in 2021 and 2022 based on the removal of overly restrictive lending rules, the job-friendly Federal budget, and  the prospect of no interest rate rises for at least 3 years.

CoreLogic’s Tim Lawless sounds a word of caution, warning that any fresh COVID outbreaks, ‘…would set back the economic recovery and have a negative, although temporary impact on housing markets.’

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Knockdowns and urban sprawl: Four property predictions for 2021

property predictions for 2021

The property market was nothing short of unpredictable and difficult to read through 2020.

Yet we look to be entering a year where all the economists and property research houses are predicting positive growth across all markets. Who would have thought?

There will be anomalies, of course, but here are the trends you can count on in 2021.

Affordability and lifestyle: Regional centres within 90 minutes of Sydney and Melbourne

Housing unaffordability has been driving this social trend and COVID-19 has come along and really amplified it.

With densely populated cities more expensive and harder to navigate, and in some cases, due to lockdowns, not offering the quality of life we all crave, many saw 2020 as a year to reflect and redirect themselves to outer regions where price point and lifestyle is more favourable.

We already see this in Queensland, where only 48% of the population live in the capital city of Brisbane and the rest is dispersed out to major hubs such as the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast, Toowoomba, Ipswich and many more.

For context, 76% of Victoria’s population live in Melbourne, while Sydney sits at 65%.

The towns must have adequate transport and ease of access to main arterials.

Getting to the capital cities will still be important for these sea and tree changers, as will the central location within the town.

Walkability and education are important for families as are healthcare services for downsizers. Keep this in mind when assessing the property itself.

These regions are also sought after by investors who are keen to establish a ‘foothold’ in one of the holiday regions, such as Daylesford, the Mornington Peninsula or the Bellarine Peninsula.

With a number of factors — such as less overseas holiday travel, low-interest rates and less commuting — allowing for more cash in the bank and a greater focus on what matters most, families want to secure an ‘escape property’ for themselves, a destination they can flee too should lockdowns or pandemics strike again.

More ‘knockdown and rebuild strategies’ in the middle-ring suburbs

According to McCrindle Research, 78% of people surveyed believe working from home is here to stay with most expecting this to be two or three days a week.

But how many of us actually have the space to do this, especially in dual-income houses?

Renovations can be expensive and unpredictable.

Whereas the growing trend of knocking down an old 150 square metre, 1950s–1970s weatherboard or brick home, on 400–800 square metres of land, and replacing it with new build, can not only solve the working-from-home problem, but also result in a very profitable project.

Our smaller cities take flight

With less interest in moving to the big smoke from our smaller cities, natural-born residents will consider staying put and working in their home cities while the uncertainty is around.

The big question is, how compelling will this be in the long term?

The big cities of Melbourne and Sydney house our largest institutions, banks, insurers, super funds and the head offices of most major corporates outside of mining and resources.

They will eventually draw talent from interstate and overseas, and although moving home to Adelaide or Brisbane might be possible if you’re already employed, landing a job from interstate and never being in the office is quite difficult, even impossible.

In summary, the smaller cities of Perth and Adelaide will be strong next year as residents stay put or head home, but in the long run, Melbourne and Sydney will prevail and deliver superior return on investment as they offer higher paying jobs for more people and this drives the property market.

Is the inner-city out of favour?

Apartments are not one property style on their own, there is low rise, high rise, concierge, and facilities, versus art deco walk-ups, with no lift, with plenty of character and charm.

And many more versions of these lifestyle-driven properties are often bought for convenience and affordability.

Generally speaking, the bigger buildings will suffer, although locations such as East Melbourne and Spring Street in Melbourne’s CBD are always sought after and rarely drop in value.

But is this the best place to invest in 2021?

No! Houses will always outperform in the inner-city regions as they are not building them anymore, if anything they are slowing decreasing in numbers to make way for apartments and townhouses.

It’s a simple supply and demand equation.

Expats will be heading home and if returning from New York, London, Hong Kong and LA will be used to the cosmopolitan lifestyle and see the capital city lifestyles as less congested and more liveable than where they’ve come from.

This influx of established wealth will make up for any city escapers who are selling down or moving to the regions.

The cities will bounce back and continue to be our central place of business, leisure and events.

The beautiful established parks and gardens, along with the best food and experiences in town, will draw people back. Plus, being ‘central’ with quick access to the best schools, arterials and major shopping hubs will mean these 3–10km regions will be highly sought after.

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Queensland’s booming real estate market to go on for ‘years to come

Queensland's booming real estate market

Wealth management firm Morgans has tipped house prices to continue to rise throughout 2021 and possibly for “years to come’’.

The forecast follows a strong December in the real estate market with Ray White recording $4 billion in unconditional sales in the month in Australia. Almost $1 billion of that was in Queensland.

Morgans Stockbroking economist Michael Knox said the recovery in house prices was healthy.

“It has years to run as full-time employment recovers over the next few years with the coming business cycle,’’ he said.

The likelihood of interest rates rising was also low with Knox believing that the Reserve Bank would struggle to achieve its inflation target until unemployment was below 5 per cent.

“It will take years to achieve that level of unemployment. It is very unlikely that inflation is going to be a problem during this period. Our view is that full employment in the Australian economy is at 4.5 per cent.

“We think it’ll take not less than four years for growth to get unemployment down to that level.’’

Ray White managing director Dan White said its December total sales of $6 billion were up 60 per cent on the same time in 2019.

“In Australia alone, we recorded almost $4 billion in sales, up 50 per cent, with a record result in Victoria to cap off an incredible recovery given extended lockdowns across that state. New Zealand recorded its sixth consecutive record month, with $1.9 billion in sales which was 87 per cent higher than last year

The Real Estate Institute of Queensland’s vacancy data for the December quarter showed Brisbane’s inner city rental market was recovering and was now “the only healthy rental market in Queensland”.

Rental vacancies were now at 3.3 per cent, down from 5 per cent previously.

Beyond Brisbane’s CBD, rental vacancies around the city’s middle ring remain extremely tight, with a quarterly rate of 1.6 per cent including Hawthorne (1.4 per cent), New Farm (1.9 per cent), Paddington (2.1 per cent) and St Lucia (1.7 per cent).

Further out into Brisbane’s outer ring and vacancies are even tighter, recording a quarterly rate of 1.3 per cent.


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