MACHINERY scouring a path for the next stage of light rail has unearthed treasure for property investors, with projects worth almost $1 billion under way beside the emerging new track.
House prices in the suburbs on the route have jumped by up to seven per cent in the months since construction of the system started, with prices up by 27 per cent in Parkwood in the past three years.
Underground work on two future stations will be completed as part of the current light rail extension near two new major housing developments to allow more stops when demand and funding allows.
Buyers in developer Villawood Properties’s $500 million The Surrounds project will find themselves in a new Helensvale hub, with the first of 2000 homes in the trackside community due to settle in the coming month.
Villawood CEO Tony Johnson said it aimed to be a less car-reliant, walkable community that was still well-connected to the wider city.
“Villawood has priced the properties in today’s market, however one can only assume that with this infrastructure in place, The Surrounds will add equity to the land our residents have already purchased before the completion of the light rail,” he said.
“This is already evident with unprecedented inquiry and sales.”
Mr Johnson said he expected the first 100 homes would be built at The Surrounds the time the first light rail passengers arrived in Helensvale.
Further along the track at Greenacre Dr in Arundel, Villa World is working on its 395-lot community called Arundel Springs.
CEO Craig Treasure said his company would consider contributing to an extra light rail station close to the development in future.
“We understand there is a future light rail station foreshadowed in closer proximity to our site,” he said.
“We would certainly consider the cost benefit of assisting to fund such infrastructure.”
Mr Treasure said being on the light rail route would already translate to more sales at Arundel Springs, which is set for launch by late April or May.
“With the traffic situation worsening on the Gold Coast, alternatives such as the light rail, which will now also link to the heavy rail, will certainly add value.”
Pradella Property’s over-50s estate Seachange Village Arundel on Napper Rd was among the first major projects to emerge from the area in recent years, while residential homeowners generally have enjoyed higher returns on their investment.
House prices in Helensvale rose 7.3 per cent in the past 12 months, while at Parkwood, where the light rail currently terminates at the hospital, prices have risen 5.4 per cent in the same period. Prices at Arundel have risen 5.2 per cent over the year.
GoldlinQ CEO Phil Mumford said developers and investors had seen the economic benefits created by the first stage of the light rail, so had been keen to jump on board for round two.
“Stage two has the benefit of building on the success of the established system, which now transports close to 640,000 passengers every month,” he said.
“Importantly, stage two will also provide current and future residents of Arundel, Parkwood and Helensvale with ready access to the Gold Coast’s key economic centres.”
The 7.3km second stage of the Gold Coast light rail will connect the system to heavy rail trains at Helensvale, and is expected to take its first passengers in January.
Originally Published: http://www.goldcoastbulletin.com.au/