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COVID-19 the catalyst for sea change, as Sunshine Coast sees influx from Sydney and Melbourne

Sunshine Coast sees influx from Sydney and Melbourne

Sydneysiders and Melburnians are moving to the Sunshine Coast in droves as COVID-19 proves a catalyst for a sea change, with families prepared to spend two weeks in quarantine and buy or rent houses sight unseen.

The warm weather, the relaxed lifestyle and relatively affordable housing in the coastal region north of Brisbane are luring singles and families dealing with the stresses of lockdown in the southern states, with the widespread adoption of remote working removing one former barrier to a sea change.

Sunshine Coast sees influx from Sydney and Melbourne

Last week the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported a big shift in people moving from the capital cities to the regions, including a net loss of 14,000 in Sydney and 10,000 in Melbourne in the first half of the year. The net figure is the difference between the people leaving a place and those moving there.

From January to June a net 8000 Sydneysiders moved to other parts of NSW, while a net 3000 Sydneysiders moved to regional Queensland.

The trend is putting pressure on the Sunshine Coast housing market, with rental vacancies dropping to their lowest level in years, and many local schools are reportedly now at capacity.

Melissa Schembri, a real estate agent with Next Property Group on the Sunshine Coast, said she was taking a lot of inquiries from interstate.

“COVID has just made people realise that they can work remotely … and it’s also made people realise what they want their lifestyle to be,” Ms Schembri said. “It’s been the catalyst for change.”

Paul Angell from First National Real Estate Coastal, who has worked in the real estate industry for 17 years, said interest in the Sunshine Coast housing market had never been stronger especially among buyers in Sydney and Melbourne.

“When the lockdowns came into effect, we expected a reduction in people relocating or buying investment property, however what actually happened was the opposite,” Mr Angell said.

“The border restrictions have limited people’s ability to inspect properties in person, but with demand for Sunshine Coast properties so high, several determined interstate buyers and tenants have signed contracts for properties sight unseen.”

SQM reports the rental vacancy rate on the Sunshine Coast was just 0.5 per cent, which Mr Angell said was the lowest since January 2005. In April this year it was sitting at 2.4 per cent.

Muval, a comparison website for removalist services, reports the number of Sydneysiders and Melburnians inquiring about moving to the Sunshine Coast have doubled since the start of the year.

A spokesperson for the Queensland Department of Education said enrolment growth was expected across Sunshine Coast schools in 2021 and beyond and a number of building projects were underway.

Colin Minke, the principal of Immanuel Lutheran College in Maroochydore, said he had seen a 50 per cent increase in interstate inquiries throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, translating to about a 10 per cent uplift in enrolments. Some year levels were now at capacity.

Determined families have found a way despite the Queensland border closing to NSW and Victoria to fight the pandemic.

“We’ve had families [from interstate] who came and quarantined to come to the college,” Mr Minke said.

“Other families have taken a circuitous route, via the Northern Territory in one case and certainly flying from one place to another so they’re not coming in from an airport in NSW.”

As well as remote working, Mr Minke said the expansion of Maroochydore Airport meant more people could live on the coast and work elsewhere, while the planned upgrades to the Bruce Highway and railway would improve access to Brisbane.

Danielle Fumagalli and Bruno Martins, originally from Brazil, visited the Sunshine Coast last Christmas and “fell in love” with the warmer weather and “more chill” lifestyle.

When the COVID-19 lockdown hit, they lost their jobs in Sydney and feeling anxious about lockdown, decided to move straight away, trading Maroubra for Alexandra Headland, near Maroochydore, in April. Ms Fumagalli easily found work in marketing at a local business in Noosa, while her partner is a freelance photographer, designer and sport coach.

“Everyone thinks that Sydney and Melbourne have more work opportunities but during these times, I feel like people started noticing more and paying more attention to local businesses and how important they are,” Ms Fumagalli said.

April and Otto Schaumkel moved from the northern beaches of Sydney to Mountain Creek, near Mooloolaba, in January before COVID-19 hit.

Ms Schaumkel said they moved for the lifestyle because it was more affordable with four young children, though the family has taken a hit to their savings because her husband was unable to fly down to Sydney for work while the border was closed.

Ms Schaumkel, a mortgage broker for Aussie Home Loans, said 60 per cent of her inquiries this year have been from Sydney and Victoria. The other 40 per cent were locals who were being priced out of the rental market by Sydneysiders and Melburnians offering “exuberant” rents and feeling pressure to buy.

“On Facebook and forum pages, people are saying they’re moving to the Sunshine Coast and all the locals saying ‘No! No more people moving here, the prices are rising!’,” she said.

Jo Yates, 41, made a temporary move from the eastern suburbs to Tewantin, near Noosa, earlier this year said she could never go back. She has retrained as a buyer’s agent.

“Just coming up here and having a bit of space, actually made me realise how on top of each other we were, how stressed everybody was, how unfriendly it can be,” Ms Yates said. “Everyone up here’s so much more chilled out, and for half the money I was paying in Bondi, I’ve got a four-bedroom house instead of a two-bedroom unit.”

Published under a creative commons licence, original Article first published on Brisbane Times here

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Habitat Development Group launch The Corso apartments in the heart of Maroochydore

The Corso apartments

The local Sunshine Coast developer Habitat Development Group has launched its latest Maroochydore, Sunshine Coast project.

The new $94 million development The Corso will bring 158 apartments to the heart of the growing Sunshine Coast hub at 20 South Sea Islander Way.

Designed by Sunshine Coast-based K Architecture, tower one comprises 116 apartments including five penthouses, while tower two will home 42 apartments and 715 sqm of ground level retail.

The Corso is Habitat’s second Maroochydore project, a rare opportunity as the only residential apartment building within the new Maroochydore City Centre that’s currently for sale.

Following an open plan layout, the one, two and three-bedroom apartments feature stainless steel appliances, 40mm stone benchtops and kitchen islands, as well as floating vanities in the bathroom.

Along with ocean and hinterland views from the apartments, residents will also benefit from extensive onsite amenity, which includes a large resort-style pool, integrated barbecue facilities, a vast private garden terrace and an exclusive resident’s dining room and lounge.  

Construction is expected to kick off in June, with completion slated for mid 2024.

Habitat Development Group sales agent Conor Cochrane said they’ve heard from every kind of buyer since the project launched.

“The response from the market since launching has been phenomenal with an overwhelming number of enquiries resulting in sales across all product types from 1 bed units right through to Premier Penthouse Units at over $2 million,” Cochrane said.

“We’re excited to be commencing construction at The Corso in the comings weeks, further strengthening our commitment to the Sunshine Coast and supporting local trades and suppliers.

About the developer

Founded in 2005, Habitat is a leading Sunshine Coast- based property development company that specialises in the residential sector.

The group previously sold out their $83 million Maroochydore project Market Lane, with The Corso expected to follow suite.  

The team are hoping to have development approval for their 200-apartment St Claire development in Birtinya in the next few months.



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Property Investment Advice

Everyone’s a winner: Property market where it’s almost impossible for sellers to lose

Property market where it's almost impossible for sellers to lose

Home sellers were delivered huge profits of a median $319,000 in the December quarter, according to CoreLogic.

The Pain and Gain survey showed that coastal regions were more likely to generate profits and on the Sunshine Coast it was almost impossible to lose with 99.5 per cent of sales achieving a nominal gain.

Nationally the median holding period for profit-making resales was 9.2 years and while properties held for more than 30 years had the highest total median return ($770,000), properties held for two years or less had the highest nominal gain per year of $150,500.

Regional Australia had a higher rate of profit than Australia’s combined capitals at 94 per cent versus 93.7 per cent, respectively.

CoreLogic’s head of research Eliza Owen Investors said investors had a lower incidence of profitability (91.4 per cent) than owner occupier sellers (96.7 per cent). This was likely to be because of the higher incidence of unit ownership among investors.

The report analysed approximately 133,000 resales of property that occurred over the course of the December 2021 quarter, a significant uplift from the 99,000 dwelling resale transactions during the September quarter, which coincided with lockdown restrictions in many parts of the country.

The national median nominal gain was $319,000 with total resale profits of $38 billion over the December quarter. The median loss was $34,000.


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Plans for 13-Storey Tower Filed for Sunshine Coast

Plans for 13-Storey Tower Filed

Development applications for the Sunshine Coast’s new greenfield $2-billion CBD are continuing to flood in, with a mixed-use tower on a 3500sq m site on its northern edge the latest.

The development will form part of Sunshine Coast Council-owned SunCentral’s new 53ha central business district—one of Queensland’s largest urban regeneration projects—in Maroochydore.

The 13-storey development has been put forward by Capital 22, a private entity headed by commercial property lawyer and SunCentral secretary John Gallagher.

The prominent corner site is made up of two lots purchased for a combined $6.5 million; 132 and 134-136 Aerodrome Road.

The site is currently occupied by two retail centres—Neighbours Aid and Salvation Army Family Store—and is next to Bob Jane T-Marts.

Capital 22’s proposed project, designed by Cottee Parker, will include three levels of office space and parking for 250 cars across the building’s three-level podium as well as a communal area with a pool and terrace on the fifth level.

It will offer 100 apartments in two- and three-bedroom configurations which the developer plans to release as a mix of short- and long-term accommodation.

Sunshine Coast’s new central business district, formerly the Horton Park Golf Club, has been transforming rapidly since council paid $42 million for the sprawling site in 2015.

The under construction CBD will eventually offer 68,000sq m of commercial space and 25,900sq m of retail floorspace along with 1400 residential apartments across a number of precincts.

It will also feature a 250-key hotel, 40,000sq m of retail and a new entertainment space.

New teaching and accommodation facilities for Sunshine Coast University are also part of the master-planned CBD with John Holland overseeing the $200-million construction contract.

The city centre’s first buildings include an eight-storey commercial property by local developer Evans Long and a two-tower, 150-unit residential complex, Market Lane Residences, by Brisbane’s Habitat Development Group.

The new nine-storey Sunshine Coast Regional Council headquarters building is also well advanced and being finalised by builder McNab.

Late last year, Barwon Investment Partners put forward plans for a $100-million, 10-storey surgical hospital on Mundoo Boulevard.

Billionaire property mogul Lang Walker’s development firm Walker Corporation has filed plans for a 15-storey building at 50 First Avenue, designed for ASX-listed companies, as well as government, banking, insurance and technology sector tenants.

The project, which Walker claimed was “the single most sophisticated contribution to the commercial office market” on the Sunshine Coast, has been designed by Cox Architecture and will hold a 5-Star Green Star Rating.

Walker also has plans for a nine-storey car parking, retail and dining mid-rise development at 110 Market Street

Prominent Sunshine Coast developer Mal Pratt is planning to build a mixed-use “groundscraper” across a 5500sq m site at 36-46 Aerodrome Road and 44-48 Parker Street.

Meanwhile, Pro-Invest Group is adding motel and retail space to the CBD in a bid to capitalise on the growing number of corporate professionals living in and visiting the region.

Its planned Holiday Inn Express and Suites on First Ave will have 180 guest rooms, a rooftop swimming pool, bar and dining venue along with parking, retailers and conference facilities.



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