THE Sunshine Coast can expect strong growth in the property market yet needs to decide what infrastructure is important to the region.
That is the message from National Property Research director Matthew Gross who told a UDIA Sunshine Coast meeting the future was in the region’s hands.
Mr Gross gave a positive outlook for Coast property which, he said, was far better positioned than 12-18 months ago.
House sales are up, land sales and medium density sales are down but prices are on the improve.
The apartment market is expected to see traction in 2016.
“Unemployment is improving, the economy picking up,” Mr Gross said.
“Yet it’s a multi-speed economy with a difference appearing between the Sunshine Coast (local government area) and Noosa.
“Regions are crying out for infrastructure yet no-one knows what they want. If you do, you will more likely get a better hearing from this government than the previous one.”
Mr Gross said the Queensland property market had good momentum at the end of 2014 but soft growth in the first part of 2015.
That could be attributed to fatigue brought on by the leadership changes in government since the GFC.
Drivers of the Sunshine Coast economy are construction and tourism, which was benefiting from the lower Australian dollar.
When the Sunshine Coast Public University Hospital at Birtinya gets going in 2016 it will drive employment 24-hours-a-day, Mr Gross said.
While the Sunshine Coast has less than 2% rental vacancies, the region needs to look at its supply of land.
Mr Gross said Queensland also needed to do more to attract interstate migration back to 2001-2003 levels, when 2000 people moved here every week.
“We are well short of that at the moment. Sydney and Melbourne have stolen the market share, it’s hard to understand given their lifestyles.
“Brisbane is a net migration loser yet the Sunshine Coast in the past two years has been one of strongest performers.”
Road infrastructure needed to improve, and a more regular rail service into Caloundra and Maroochydore was needed, Mr Gross said.
Other improved drivers for the region were the Maroochydore CBD and the Sunshine Coast Airport.
The region is still lacking a venue to host a 400-plus conference.
“The NRL last year was talking about another club coming into Queensland.
“Why not the Sunshine Coast? With 300,000-plus people, why wouldn’t you?”