Beach property will make strong gains throughout 2010

Beach property with coastal areas along the nation’s Eastern Seaboard experienced strong price recoveries in 2009 and will see further strong gains throughout 2010.

According to an analysis of REX data, house prices gains in major coastal areas such as the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Tweed and Port Macquarie are accelerating.

“There are more buyers than stock at the moment,” said Michael Knights, sales associate at RE/MAX Property Associates in Mooloolaba on Queensland’s Sunshine State. He says the market – particularly for houses below $1 million – is being driven by second, third and fourth home buyers; and over-fifties looking to cash up and downsize and move to the coast for lifestyle. “They’re selling big properties to buy smaller ones; they’re definitely back in the market. Buyers are coming from all over Australia.”

The Gold Coast is leading the way, continuing its recovery from a tough 2008 and 2009. According to REX, median prices are up 2.41 per cent to $425,000, and the Property Price Index up 7.27 per cent to $411,394.

“There are definitely signs of it recovering,” said Bert Holland, sales manager at First National Broadbeach. “Around about October last year it turned in the right direction. The buyers are coming back into the market.”

Bob Buys, an agent at Chris Couper and Associates at Broadbeach on the Gold Coast, said he was very busy with the market recovering strongly. “We’re getting a full cross section of buyers,” he said. “The good signs are we’re getting a lot of wholesale dollar buyers around $1 million plus.” He said the market was being driven by a shortage of stock. “They (buyers) see value for money.

They believe that prices well and truly bottomed out in the last 12 months. There’s not much development going on, hence there’s becoming a shortage of quality stock on the market.”

Adam Scott, managing director of PRDnationwide Surfers Paradise, said the unit market is a different story. “I feel the prices have come back,” he said. “We’re still not going anywhere at the moment. There are plenty of buyers out there. But when they come in and offer, the offers aren’t what the sellers want to hear. If anything is overpriced in this market it’s not going to sell.”

According to REX, median house prices on the Sunshine Coast rose 2.35 per cent to $435,000 with the Property Price Index up 3.39 per cent to $408,929. “As long as interest rates don’t rise (too much) the market will be pretty positive for the rest of the year,” said RE/MAX’s Knights. “If they (interest rates) go up 2 to 3 per cent that will cause problems. If they only go up a half a per cent it won’t cause much grief for the market.”

Below the Gold Coast in the Tweed region, prices are also on the move with median prices rising 5.13 per cent to $410,000, while the Property Price Index has gained 2.15 per cent to $393,633. There is also strong activity in Port Macquarie, with median prices up 8.33 per cent to $338,000, and the REX Property Price Index up 2.89 per cent to $337,449.

“It’s buoyant to be quite honest,” said Gregory Clark, an agent at Terry Hudson Real Estate in Port Macquarie. “We’re in a fairly bullish market. We’ve just had a look at the property index for the last quarter of 2009 and we’re confident we will see a bit more activity (for the rest of 2010).”

Clark said Port Macquarie usually has a buoyant period from the end of December through to April, then slows down in the winter months and picks up again in Spring. But the current surge is part of a recovery after the Port Macquarie market came to a standstill in 2005. One new trend locals are spotting for the first time in four to five years is an influx of European buyers.

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