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Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast house prices surge as remote workers swap traffic for sand

House Prices

The Sunshine Coast could soon become Queensland’s priciest place in which to buy a house after median prices surged to a record $770,000 following one of the strongest rates of annual growth across Australia.

House prices in the sun-drenched city rose a staggering 19.4 per cent – or $125,000 – over the past 12 months and an incredible 6.9 per cent in the March quarter alone, the Domain House Price Report for the March quarter revealed, with a near once-in-20-year boom ignited by roaring rates of interstate migration.

While the Sunshine Coast has continued to outperform the rest of the state for a few consecutive quarters, the report revealed South-east Queensland’s coastal hotspots continued to reap the benefits of an exodus from major Australian hubs, with the Gold Coast also clocking a record high median house price of $749,950, following a 4.2 per cent quarterly rise and 15.4 per cent annual jump.

Domain senior research analyst Nicola Powell said the figures demonstrated the compelling pull of lifestyle precincts within a new world where more and more Aussies worked remotely and could swap the concrete jungle for less traffic and more sand.

“The Gold and Sunshine coasts continue to be standout performers, although the pace of price acceleration appears to be easing on the Gold Coast,” Dr Powell said.

“South-east Queensland’s housing market has become increasingly popular with interstate buyers [and] the number of Australians relocating to Queensland from other states is at its highest level since 2006.

“Changed lifestyle preferences post-lockdown and the option of remote working has driven demand to south-east Queensland as buyers are drawn by affordability, liveability, climate and greater value for money.”

While the report revealed unit price growth continued to lag behind houses, with Gold Coast unit prices weakening by 1.2 per cent over the March quarter, the sheer strength of the Sunshine Coast market sparked an eye-watering 10.2 per cent unit price rise over the same period to $550,000.

It’s a figure that’s also up 18.3 per cent year on year, which equates to a whopping $85,000.

“This is the quickest rate of price increases in roughly 17 years,” Dr Powell said.

“The Sunshine Coast has been such a stable market for a number of years where it hasn’t seen major swings either way, so there are probably greater legs on this price rise … It [also] doesn’t surprise me that the Sunshine Coast outperforms the Gold Coast …  I think it’s probably the difference in lifestyle that people are looking for.”

Wayne Beck of McGrath Estate Agents Caloundra said while the Sunshine Coast was in the midst of a boom, he believed the long-underrated region was merely coming back into line with other Australian hotspots that had enjoyed significant growth over the past decade.

But while it’s a price correction he felt needed to happen, the buyer demand had placed enormous pressure on all aspects of the market, including rentals.

“For us, we go into a property, we appraise it, and two weeks later, it’s worth more,” Mr Beck said.

“When you look at rentals, we have zero occupancy levels … and it’s predominantly because a lot of people moved from down south where they’ve already sold, but our market doesn’t have enough supply to meet the demand, so they have to rent.

“Now, if you look through our caravan parks, they’re completely full because people are living there until they can buy.

“That’s going to push our market and sustain our market.”

Harcourts Coastal Group sales director Rob Forde said their team had clocked up an astonishing quarter on the Gold Coast with southern buyers from Victoria and NSW fuelling the price growth fire.

“The Gold Coast still offers great value for money, especially what you can get, and I think the kind of lifestyle it represents … you’ve also got a maturing cafe and restaurant culture, which has come a long way and, of course, there’s the weather we’ve got,” Mr Forde said.

“No market can keep going forever [with this kind of quarter-on-quarter growth] … but, I think, if you’re looking across a national level, it was undervalued previously, and buyers have just realised that.

“I think we will remain in a good market, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the growth we’ve seen in the past two quarters continue.”

Across the Gold Coast, Broadbeach and Burleigh recorded one of the biggest annual house price hikes, according to the data, with prices rising 27.1 per cent over the past year to pass $1 million, soaring from $945,000 to $1,201,500.

On the Sunshine Coast, the Noosa Hinterland stole the show after house prices soared by 25 per cent, year-on-year, from $640,000 to $800,000.


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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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