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‘They come, and just never go home’: Why the Sunshine Coast’s prestige market sees a spike in winter

Sunshine Coast’s prestige market sees a spike in winter

It’s the annual winter prestige property pilgrimage from the southern states to the Sunshine Coast that leading local agent Vicki Stewart has come to know so well.

“People from Sydney and Melbourne come up the first year and fall in love with the climate and the area,” says Ms Stewart, the director of Stewart Property. “They return the next year and don’t want to go home again, so start looking at places to buy.

“And by the third year, they come, and just never go home.”

Sunshine Coast’s prestige market sees a spike in winter 1

She did exactly the same thing too, 34 years ago, on a visit from Sydney, and says that migration from daydreamer to new owner causes a dramatic spike this time every year in the market.

Real Estate Institute of Queensland chief executive Antonia Mercorella agrees. “Many travel for a holiday and fall in love with our world-class beaches, fine dining and luxury retail shopping precincts,” she says.

“The seeds are planted and while our prices are high compared with the rest of Queensland, when compared with Sydney or Melbourne prices they’re an absolute bargain.”

Sunshine Coast’s prestige market sees a spike in winter 2

At the same time Noosa, at the top of the Sunshine Coast market, has been performing exceptionally well and in the 12 months to March 2019 has hit 8.7 per cent growth, making it Queensland’s strongest area, as against Brisbane’s one to 3 per cent, and the Gold Coast’s 2 to 3 per cent. Since 2014, Noosa prices have risen 44 per cent.

There have been some stellar sales too in the past 18 months, including the $15.2 million sale of tennis ace Pat Rafter’s mansion on Noosa’s Sunshine Beach, followed by the Sunshine Coast record-breaking $18 million purchase of a seven-bedroom trophy home nearby. “But as a general rule of thumb, what you’d buy in Sydney for $20 million will cost you just $8 million here,” says Ms Stewart.

Sunshine Coast’s prestige market sees a spike in winter 3

Domestic tourism – of which this coastal region is “the Australian rock star” according to Visit Sunshine Coast chief executive Simon Latchford – always sparks the property market, while its “Hamptons-style cool” continues to drive it on and up.

“The market does leverage off tourism but, often, as soon as people arrive they realise its strengths,” Mr Latchford says. “There are two airports, lots of new infrastructure, a laid-back lifestyle, an extraordinary climate with no cyclones, crocs or box jellyfish, a community atmosphere in a place that hasn’t been allowed to develop too fast, and Brisbane is only an hour and a half away.

“If you want to savour life as it was back in the ’70s, then this place can offer that environment.”

Sunshine Coast’s prestige market sees a spike in winter 4

The prestige market from $5 million to $12 million is particularly strong at the moment, with demand surging and stock so tight that one buyer bought a home at Noosa Heads in the past few weeks for $2.9 million over the phone, sight unseen.

“We now have a lot of buyers making multiple offers and there’s not much stock as people are making generational purchases; they’re planning to keep it long-term and hand it down to family rather than sell it,” says agent Nic Hunter from Tom Offermann Real Estate.

“Noosa has always been the pinnacle of that prestige end of the market, and people just love the relaxed lifestyle and village atmosphere.”

Four homes in the area

Noosa Waters

Sunshine Coast’s prestige market sees a spike in winter 5

For sale by informal tender with a guide of more than $4 million, this five-bedroom home has a spectacular waterfront position, with beautiful mountain views and a peaceful position.

“As with all the best homes on the Sunshine Coast, you have to consider the cost of not buying now,” says agent Adrian Reed of Reed & Co.


Sunshine Coast’s prestige market sees a spike in winter 6

With deepwater access and an upgraded pontoon to allow the owner to keep anything up to a 58-footer safely moored at home, this family house was designed by Frank Macchia to have a true north aspect.

The home has an in-ground pool and a steam-room, while a recently-installed solar system generates over 100kWh of power in summer and is fitted has battery storage.

It’s going to auction on July 14 through Loren Wimhurst of Next Property Group, with a guide of $4.5 million to $5.5 million.

Noosa Springs 

Sunshine Coast’s prestige market sees a spike in winter 7

Floor-to-ceiling windows in almost every room make sure that the stunning views are maximised and that this house is flooded in natural light.

The media room has its own cosy fireplace, there are electric shutters and blinds and an openable roof to control light and temperatures, and underfloor heating on the ground level and in the bathrooms that service the master bedroom.

The home is for sale with a guide of $3.3 million, with Joe Langley of Universal Property Sales.

Alexandra Headland 

Sunshine Coast’s prestige market sees a spike in winter 8

Billed as a 6-star resort-style home, this home has great north-east ocean views and is just a short stroll to the beach, cafes and shops from its large 1,200sqm block.

There’s an internal lift to each floor, a grand entry foyer, a sound-proofed cinema, in-ground pool and pool room, with landscaped gardens.

It’s for sale with a guide of $3.3 million, through agent Craig Porter of Next Property Group.




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Caution Urged as House Prices Start to Fall

Caution Urged as House Prices Start to Fall (1)

As the social distancing ban on home auctions and viewings starts to bite, the message to both buyers and sellers is not to panic.

But the latest auction market preview—handed down amid the federal government’s latest round of restrictions—paints a sobering picture of the outlook for residential property prices.

With 3,065 capital city properties scheduled to go under the hammer, Corelogic analysts originally predicted the week ending 29 March would be the busiest of the year for auctions.

Despite the real estate industry’s quick adaptation to social distancing measures, Corelogic now predicts a number of vendors will withdraw their property from the market completely, or postpone until circumstances improve.

“After the weekend, we should have a better idea on how this is going to impact the auction market going forward.”

And despite strong momentum in the housing market in recent months—the latest results consistent with house price growth of around 5 per cent year-on-year, according to macroeconomic research group Capital Economics—further restrictions on “non-essential services” could include a ban on buying and selling real estate, which would further impact home sales.

And even when the Covid-19 outbreak is over, the outlook is still far from clear, according to Capital Economics senior economist Marcel Thiellant.

“Even once restrictions to prevent the spread of coronavirus come to an end, we suspect that rising unemployment and tightening bank lending conditions will result in weak housing demand and falling house prices.”

Thiellant suggests that looking at how Australian residential property has fared against negative economic shocks in the past helps shed some light on the impact of the current slowdown on property.

“House prices were broadly flat in nominal terms during the recessions of the early-1980s and early-1990s, though they fell in real terms.”

“And while they kept rising throughout the shallow economic downturn triggered by the bursting of the dotcom bubble, they fell at least initially during the global financial crisis and during the period when Australia’s mining boom turned to bust.

“Given that inflation is now much lower than it was during the 1980s and early 90s, we think that those latter episodes will provide a better guide for what is to come,” Thiellant said.

Unemployment rates are also a key indicator of Australia’s prospects for recovery from the “coronavirus recession” for AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver.

“A relatively short recession that sees unemployment rise to around 7.5 per cent would likely only set prices back around 5 per cent or so, after which prices would bounce back,” Oliver said.

“But a deeper recession with, say, 10 per cent unemployment, risks tripping up the underlying vulnerability of the housing market around high prices and high debt levels. This could see a 20 per cent fall in prices.”

Oliver said the latter scenario highlights the need for the government and the RBA to minimise the fallout from coronavirus shutdowns in terms of businesses and jobs.

Property analyst Terry Ryder said that Australia’s property market has outridden major economic downturns before and will again, and the anticipated “short, sharp downturn” could pay off for those prepared to act when others are pausing for thought.

Speaking at this week’s “coronavirus – threat or opportunity” webinar, Ryder said that fear about future economic certainty was understandable, but both investors and owners needed to remember property was a long-term game.

“It is a time to be looking for opportunities, when others are perhaps intimated and sitting on the fence,” Ryder said, adding that government financial stimulus and flexibility from banks during the coronavirus shutdown would help cushion the property market from any significant blows.

Ryder predicts that while any reduction in market activity as a result of changes to the way Australians interact in the market would not necessarily result in a significant reduction in prices.

“One of things that is happening is vendors are already not listing their properties for sale at the same levels they were a year ago and two years ago – and I think that is going to be exacerbated by the virus crisis,” Ryder said.

“We are still going to have demand, but have relatively few properties for sale and that will help to put a floor under property values.”

Caution Urged as House Prices Start to Fall (2)

Buyers’ agent Veronica Morgan said that lessons could be learned from the global financial crisis, when “otherwise sane” people succumbed to catastrophic thinking and knee jerk sales prevented them from re-entering key markets.

“At my agency we never recommend buying property with a short-term focus—nor do we recommend knee-jerk selling,” Morgan said, adding that even if there is a market downturn, history is on our side.

“When fear takes hold, unfortunately otherwise sane people fall for catastrophic thinking declaring, ‘that’s it, now the market’s now going to plummet 40 per cent’. Property bears have been trotting this figure out whenever there’s been a bad sign for the last couple of decades,” Morgan said.

“But things never actually pan out in that way—people still need homes. Life as we know it may change a bit, but it will nevertheless go on.”

Likewise, buyers’ agent Rich Harvey said investors needed to be prepared to buy before the market bounded back – and those who were struggling should talk to their bank about getting a better rate to refinance or taking a mortgage payment holiday.

“Don’t panic – it is not the time to sell the family home. Stay the course and talk to your bank about holding on,” Harvey said.

“We will get through the crisis.”




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Brisbane buyers pay big prices for property that can survive self-isolation

Brisbane buyers pay big prices for property that can survive self-isolation

Cashed-up buyers keen to pour their savings into bricks and mortar instead of shares are keeping Brisbane’s prestige property market afloat as homes with big living spaces, large courtyards and enough creature comforts to survive self-isolation jump to the top of luxury home wish lists.

Amid a rapidly changing real estate world of virtual auctions, cancelled open homes and economic uncertainty, property punters have revealed strong buyer appetite remains within the high-end market as multimillion-dollar abodes continue to sell under the hammer and by private treaty.

Just days ago, Place Kangaroo Point agent Simon Caulfield sold a luxury three-bedroom property at 1E/39 Castlebar Street, Kangaroo Point, for $3.2 million cash unconditional, to two doctors he said were keen to not only buy the home of their dreams, but one that was perfect for a long self-isolation.

He said bottomed-out interest rates and competitive prices were the icing on the cake for those in a position to purchase with virtual tours, private inspections and 3D online walk-throughs making contactless buys a virtual walk in the park.

“I’ve got a buyer at the moment that we’re working with who’s looking for homes in the vicinity of $8 million dollars and we’ve done all virtual tours. In fact, we’re actually more efficient now and it’s making our lives easier to a point,” Mr Caulfield said.

“Wednesday night we had two auctions at our in-room events and nine registered bidders with a total of those seven bidding by phone.

“One sold under the hammer and the other one is in post-auction negotiations.

“Everyone who wants to (and is able to) buy is seeing the current climate as an advantage.

“There are people who have saved money, so they are trying to upgrade to the next price point and that was evident on Wednesday night. People are also looking at investments and bricks and mortar assets are quite attractive compared to stocks.”

While the nation continues to undergo daily changes and restrictions to flatten the COVID-19 curve, Mr Caulfield said Place agencies had already been working remotely and digitally for a couple of years with public open homes now switched to private inspections.

The need to upgrade into a bigger family home inspired Kristine Malone to place her luxury four-bedroom apartment at 4/2 Scott Street, Kangaroo Point, on the market just a few weeks ago, with strong buyer interest ramping up ahead of the April 1 auction.

She said while her and her family were sad to say goodbye to their beloved abode, they were thrilled at the high level of inquiry the massive 377-square-metre home had received, even amid the COVID-19 chaos.

“I think a lot of people watched this building take shape and so we’ve had a huge amount of interest from both interstate and local buyers,” Mrs Malone said.

“It is a really lovely family building, and, despite us moving out because of our family expanding rather than contracting, we have mixed emotions about leaving.”

The full-floor home, which is one of just a handful in the iconic Walan Residences, features a large balcony, three bathrooms, a gym and expansive river-front views.

The last apartment to sell in Walan Residences achieved $4.5 million in November 2019.

As prestige property transactions and interest remain strong, real estate agents across Brisbane are continuing to chalk up sales from entry level abodes through to four-bedroom houses with almost $4 million worth of real estate sold under the hammer at Ray White Sherwood and Graceville’s inaugural virtual auction on Wednesday night.

Agency principal Cameron Crouch said his team sold 80 per cent of the order of sale at the virtual auction theatre with 28 homes set to further go up for auction over the coming weeks.

“We have technology processes in place to remain ‘business as usual’ in this new environment of private inspections, virtual inspections and weekly auctions,” he said.



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Real estate industry in testing social distancing shutdown amid coronavirus fears

Real estate industry in testing social distancing shutdown amid coronavirus fears

Australian estate agents will set out this week to ascertain if they can continue to transact their property sale listings and leasing managements given the social distancing shutdown regulations.

In the absence of any official industry edict as at Monday morning, some estate agents will seek to adapt how they can continue to transact their property listings and managements.

Many agents are hoping it is business as usual.

On Sunday both the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrew announced they will enforce a comprehensive shutdown of “non-essential services.”

But neither Premier indicated that the real estate industry was restricted from trading.

The later official advisory on stage one of the measures from the Federal Government advised the following facilities will be restricted from opening from midday 23 March 2020:

  • Pubs, registered and licenced clubs (excluding bottle shops attached to these venues), hotels (excluding accommodation)
  • Gyms and indoor sporting venues
  • Cinemas, entertainment venues, casinos, and night clubs
  • Restaurants and cafes will be restricted to takeaway and/or home delivery
  • Religious gatherings, places of worship or funerals.

The Urban Taskforce CEO, Tom Forrest, has called on State and Commonwealth Governments to be clear with their messages.

“The announcement must be clear and targeted”, Mr Forrest said.

Mr Forrest said that the messaging to date has too often been clumsy and ambiguous.

“If there is to be a close-down of business in NSW, what does this mean for construction workers? What does it mean for those working out-doors or indoors? What does it mean for delivery drivers or manufacturers?

Mr Forrest called on the NSW Government to be clear about if businesses should continue to operate remotely or shut down altogether.

“Urban Taskforce members support measures to prevent the spread of COVID 19. But support for the property, construction and development industry is critical to the economy and the hundreds of thousands of jobs involved,” Mr Forrest said.

The real estate industry appears spared from the extreme of the first stage of the shutdown if it enforces social distancing that doesn’t put the participants at risk.

One of the ways agents can adapt to these measures is using available technology.

Whether open for inspections for multiple unknown parties can continue is highly questionable.

Limiting auctions to registered bidders practising social distancing appears wise.

Requesting that visitors to open inspections come in small private groups and keep hands in their pockets while doing so are among measures being taken by some agents.

Last week some auction slated for inroom or indoor were moved outdoors to stay within the government’s 100 person limit on indoor non-essential social gatherings

All non-essential indoor gatherings of less than 100 people must have no more than one person per 4sqm.

“All Australians should expect their local businesses to be following this rule,” the latest official update advises.

There are around 115,000 sale listings on the market, according to CoreLogic. SQM calculate 68,079 vacant residential properties.




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