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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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 www.abc.net.au under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
‘Absolutely inundated’: Lack of stock drives Queensland interest
As open-home restrictions begin to lift, a Brisbane agency has reported huge interest from first home buyers clamouring to get onto the property ladder despite COVID-19.
Coronis Agency has reported that it had more than 80 potential buyers attend the first scheduled open home of an Archerfield property.
The three-bedroom, two-bathroom property only hit the market last Thursday and received more than 56 phone and email enquiries within 48 hours.
Director Anthony Hunt said the agency was “absolutely inundated with buyer enquiries within 30 minutes of the property going live, with many buyers asking to schedule a private inspection on the Thursday night or Friday as they were eager to beat the rush on Saturday”.
“In the end, I opened the property up on Friday afternoon and had nine groups of buyers turn up purely from responding to their calls and emails,” he explained.
He added that at the Saturday open home, which was the first advertised inspection, “it took more than an hour to get everyone through the property due to the social distancing restrictions, but on the whole, everyone was really understanding and willing to wait their turn”.
Mr Hunt said the general feedback he received from most parties is that “they want to buy something right now, despite everything going on with COVID-19”.
“Many of them are first home buyers with pre-approval who are looking to get their foot on the property ladder and aren’t fazed about going out in public to attend open homes,” he said.
The director believes that what they’re more concerned about is the lack of properties to choose from and how quickly properties are selling at the moment.
By Saturday afternoon, Mr Hunt said he had received four offers and it was under contract by Saturday night for a price that exceeded the seller’s expectations, “so they’re very happy”.
While 140 Granard Road was “beautifully presented”, the agent expressed the opinion that the main reason it was so popular with buyers was because it offered “great value for money in a suburb only 15km from Brisbane CBD”.
He iterated that buyers are willing to look outside of their desired suburb to purchase the right property.
His message to those who are considering holding off on selling? Don’t wait.
“In the past week, the Coronis sales team has received more than 1,000 buyer enquiries, and from that, 550-plus groups attended an open home on the weekend, so there is no doubt about it — buyers have a strong appetite to purchase now, they just need more options to choose from,” he concluded.
This article is republished from www.smartpropertyinvestment.com.au under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
Coronavirus combines with end to interest-only home loans in big hit coming for investors, experts warn
House prices are tipped to fall by 11 per cent over the next three years as the COVID-related economic downturn bites, and for one group of Australian homeowners, it could not come at a worse time.
There are an estimated 730,000 investors, many of whom are self-funded retirees or people planning for retirement, who have taken out interest-only bank loans in the belief property was a safe bet.
Coronavirus has already delivered challenges, including rent arrears and the prospect of losing their tenants altogether.
But now these private landlords are facing big hikes in their monthly bank repayments as they switch from interest-only to paying off the principal of their loans as well.
Max Green is one of many who has been trying to negotiate with the banks for an extension to the interest-only period of his loans.
The 69-year-old and his partner have bought two properties — one in Brisbane, the other in Perth — in the past 10 years to help fund their retirement.
But the value of the Brisbane property has flatlined and the Perth property, a unit in the city’s outer suburbs, has plummeted from $425,000 in 2016 to $300,000 today, according to a recent valuation.
“The intent was … to provide us with some equity growth in the properties, which would then assist us in the future once I had retired,” Mr Green said.
“We had been advised that we would be able to extend the interest-only period.”
Instead, the couple face paying an additional $1,900 a month from July as they begin to pay off both the principal and interest on their loans.
Mr Green said he still enjoyed his work as a project manager at WA’s Water Corporation, but conceded his retirement ambitions had not gone to plan.
He said he would now be forced to either keep working beyond 70, dip into the couple’s superannuation to pay the banks, or sell at a loss.
Investors brace for massive losses
Others with similar investment plans have already decided to cut their losses and are now facing negative equity as a result — where their home is worth less than the amount they owe.
Wayne Grimes, 50, said he couldn’t help but laugh when he considered the price he would likely now get for his luxury investment unit.
“I’m laughing because it is just ridiculous,” he said.
This article is republished from www.abc.net.au under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
How COVID-19 has impacted tourism hotspots
New research has revealed the impact COVID-19 restrictions have had on Queensland’s tourism property markets.
The Palaszczuk government’s mandatory COVID-19 restrictions went live from 20 March 2020, with knock-on effects to the state’s property market.
However, despite the perceived effects, the REIQ said the sunshine coast capital – Brisbane – has reported a relatively stable vacancy rate of 2.44 per cent for the last quarter.
But how has this translated to tourism hotspots?
According to the REIQ, this quarter’s rental vacancy data provides a peek at the initial impacts of the coronavirus pandemic across popular tourism hotspots in particular.
“The Gold Coast saw an end-of-summer sharp spike result in a 1.2 per cent rise to 3 per cent (with only a 0.4 per cent increase in the Scenic Rim region).
“Up the coastline and it’s not so different around the Bay Islands district where the archipelago average soared by 2.7 per cent to a vacancy rate of 4.3 per cent (making up part of the state’s 10 per cent weakest regions).
North of Brisbane
When it comes to areas slightly north of Brisbane, the REIQ noted that most areas have remained stable with little movement either way.
“For example, Caboolture saw a drop in vacancies (-0.6 per cent to 0.8 per cent) while Redcliffe saw a marginal rise of 0.1 per cent to level out still within tight vacancy range at 2 per cent,” REIQ said.
“Further north and the Sunshine Coast hasn’t offered up any side effects from COVID-19 as of yet, with a 0.2 per cent drop in vacancy rates across the region to 1.4 per cent.
“Even inland across the majestic hinterland region the average vacancy rate reflected a 0.8 per cent decrease to 1.5 per cent.”
There’s some “unmistakeable movement upward” when it comes to areas back along the coastline, according to the REIQ.
“Early tremors of COVID-19 [are] attributable to those results recorded in Noosa (+1.3 per cent to 3.6 per cent) and Fraser Coast (+1.4 per cent to 3.1 per cent) which includes Hervey Bay (+2.4 per cent to 4.3 per cent),” it said.
“Drive a few hours north and more stable yet tight vacancy rates become the norm once more from Bundaberg (+0.9 per cent to 2.4 per cent) through to Rockhampton (-0.3 per cent to 1.3 per cent).
“However, the outlier here is Gladstone. With mining and infrastructure projects on the go, demand for trades has boomed – with vacancy results reflecting rental demand by a staggering 2.5 per cent to a record low of 1.6 per cent for the region.”
The REIQ noted Mackay represents the only area across Queensland that’s remained unchanged over the quarter (2.5 per cent).
Far North Queensland
Townsville remained relatively unscathed with vacancy rates fairly stable (+0.8 per cent to 2.9 per cent), according to the REIQ.
Meanwhile, Mount Isa saw a 1.1 per cent drop to 2.5 per cent, proving the state’s largest township maintained a healthy rental market in the first quarter of 2020.
“Unfortunately, the same couldn’t be said for Cairns,” REIQ said.
“As the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, Port Douglas and the Daintree Rainforest, the tourism-driven region closed out the quarter with a 1.8 per cent increase to 3.5 per cent rental vacancies – teetering on the edge of weak market conditions after experiencing record-low vacancies over the last 12 months.”
Commenting further on the results, REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said:
“Any further surges in vacant properties across Queensland’s tourism regions are likely to be addressed by future tourism-focused initiatives to boost domestic holidaymakers.”
“It’s an optimistic start to the year. The next quarter will reveal more about the true impact of COVID-19 on the Queensland rental market.”
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