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Sunshine Coast a ‘Hub and Spoke’ Office Go-To

Sunshine Coast a ‘Hub and Spoke’ Office Go-To-min

As Australian businesses plan for life beyond Covid, the office “hub and spoke” model is gaining traction.

Under this scenario, a business may retain a city office location, augment it with a regional satellite office, and allow staff to work from home several days a week.

In fact, news media is consistently reporting that many Australians are now accustomed to their new flexible working arrangements and no longer think big careers and big businesses have to revolve around big cities.

The ongoing Covid restrictions have prompted increased curiosity about Queensland’s Sunshine Coast as a desirable place to live and work, not only because of its diverse and fast-growing economy, but because it is the location of Australia’s newest east coast submarine broadband cable.

Australian businesses increasingly need high-speed data to keep up with constantly-evolving business models—and with remote working here to stay, fibre connections are even more important.

The Sunshine Coast has the unique combination of attractive business conditions (commercial property is almost 50 per cent lower than Brisbane CBD, for example) and all the lifestyle desirability any Australian would want.

Other business benefits include:

  • Industrial land prices 36 to 84 per cent lower than east coast capital cities
  • Lowest basic flat payroll tax rate of any Australian state or territory
  • Lowest average workers’ compensation premiums across Australia’s eastern states.
Fast data plus cyber-security

Attracting national and global attention, the 18 Tbps Sunshine Coast International Broadband Network is expected to provide businesses with faster data speeds, reduced risk and lower costs.

The cable will deliver the fastest data speed to Asia from the east coast of Australia and the second-fastest to the US, which means businesses across Queensland will have the capacity and speed to connect through direct cable paths to Hong Kong, Japan and Los Angeles.

The Sunshine Coast is also placed at the forefront of the cyber-security sector with the establishment of a cyber security node.

The node is part of a nation-wide network designed to fast-track the development of a globally competitive Australian cyber-security sector.

OneQode, the next-generation wireless network service provider, is the first business to commence operations out of Sunshine Coast Cable Landing Station with the goal of offering unparalleled speed to all Queenslanders.

An internationally-recognised data centre provider is expected to be announced soon, making the Sunshine Coast a true digital hub for Australia.

Diversified economy

More than $12.5 billion in infrastructure projects are currently underway on the Sunshine Coast, spanning aviation, clean technology, education, health, retail, transport and property.

A pre-Covid CBRE report entitled “Sunshine Coast—The Lifestyle market: Sun, Surf and Smart Business” stated that coast’s economic growth report was “changing the dynamics of the region from a tourist destination to a key business hub”.

Progress to a more diversified economy is “transforming the Sunshine Coast into a key economic centre where new commerce complements established industries”, according to the report.


Satellite office advantage

According to Legion Property Advisory, “the Sunshine Coast market is one of the more affordable office markets compared to both state and interstate, with net face rents and capital values one of the most affordable on the east coast. These lower real estate costs are a major factor in attracting businesses”.

As a result, the region is a rising star: regarded as an ideal location for accommodating the “hub and spoke” model, including the new blended office and home working model.

As well as an emerging masterplanned city centre, the Sunshine Coast has room for all kinds of businesses to grow, with available commercial and residential land, commercial precincts and three major industrial parks.

Real Estate Institute of Queensland chief executive Antonia Mercorella says Queensland real estate agents have seen a spike in interstate residential enquiries since the start of the coronavirus epidemic, particularly on the Sunshine Coast.

“The Sunshine Coast in particular is highly desirable for people looking for that golden combination of liveability and affordability,” she says.

Disruptors drawn to region

Sunshine Coast is home to disruptors like Youi, Auto & General, Get Wines Direct and Office HQ, with all of these organisations benefitting from the inspired workforce of more than 83,000 students across University of Sunshine Coast, two TAFE campuses and more than 100 registered training organisations.

Youi Insurance opened a purpose-built national headquarters on the Sunshine Coast in 2018 and general insurance disruptor Huddle opened a new call centre last year.

The high-speed cable project was a key driver in the decision by Huddle Insurance to bring its largest national presence to the Sunshine Coast.

Huddle founder and joint chief executive Jason Wilby said the project was “a real drawcard for our business, providing the ability to handle large volumes of data, reduce data risk and allow faster transactions”.

“On the Sunshine Coast, we’ve found an entrepreneurial community that rivals Sydney, and discovered people with brilliant minds and smart ways of working also want to work in environments like the Sunshine Coast,” Wilby said.

Sunshine Coast Council welcomes and supports the growth of local businesses and the establishment of new ones in the region.

To find out more, please email

Main image: The future Maroochydore City Centre.

This article is republished from under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Market Place

Boomers a ‘Force of Change’ in Retirement Property Market

Property Market

As teenagers they invented pop culture and now—much older, collectively wealthier and arguably wiser—they are defining a new age group and re-inventing retirement living.

Millenials may have surpassed them in numbers but baby boomers are still having significant influence on world economies and trends—not least in the property market.

“The baby boomers are coming through and have become a force for change in the seniors’ market,” said Cameron Kirby, managing director of Kirby Consulting Group, a retirement and aged care specialist.

“The more progressive operators are definitely getting their ducks in a line.

“And there’s a lot of developers interested in dipping their toes in the market for the first time, some of them with more than 30 years’ experience in the development industry, because they can see there is huge opportunity.

“[But] many developers that want to enter into this space are probably a bit reticent because they’re worried about the complexity of it, they’re worried about the unknowns.

“The opportunities, however, far outweigh any of their concerns.

“And if you’re offering what the market wants, you’re going to be successful.”

Kirby will be a speaker at The Urban Developer Developing For An Ageing Demographic vSummit on April 28.

“The sector is continuously changing,” he said.

“You’ve got land lease communities and over-55 developments that have been moving into the traditional retirement village space.

“And, at the moment, there’s a lot of talk about integrated care in retirement living with a greater weighting on having more retirement villages and less aged care.”

Last year, a survey by benchmarking firm StewartBrown showed 58 per cent of aged care homes were operating at a loss, up from 55 per cent the previous financial year, and 32 per cent made a cash loss.

“Aged care has got some major challenges … but in the meantime there’s also the baby boomers coming through,” Kirby said.

“What I’ve seen over the last 10 years is a bit of a slide where low-care people that used to go into aged care are more likely to go into retirement villages and, equally, people that used to go into more traditional retirement villages are now probably more interested in moving into land lease communities and over-55s concepts.

“Land lease communities are growing very fast and are hugely attractive, there’s no doubt about that … but retirement villages have upped the ante enormously as well, they tend to offer much more wellness and are moving more towards the care side of things.

“Certainly, operators who are offering care in retirement villages are going from strength to strength.

“There’s an increasing amount of quality retirement villages with hotel and resort-style living and state-of-the-art amenities coming online. Pools, gyms, spas, saunas, cinemas, you name it they’ve got it. 

“But those retirement living operators that have a full continuum of care solution that’s what the market is demanding … [the boomers] know they’re going to need some support down the line so they’re planning for their future.

“It really doesn’t matter, however, whether you’re doing aged care, retirement, over-55s or land lease community … because demand is outstripping supply. There is a market for all of those and they attract very different types of buyers.”

Kirby said given Australia’s ageing demographic, the seniors and retirement market was a “much more defensive proposition” for developers.

“Just as healthcare is a defensive stock on the stock market, I think seniors living is a much more defensive play in the property sector,” he said.

“It tends to be more needs driven than what a straight-out residential property play would be.

“And so, I think if we are going to be headed towards a softer property market this is an area that can really shine because seniors will still have the wealth and will still want to move and look at downsizing opportunities.”


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Houses still in high demand, apartment prices lag


The price growth of apartments continues to lag rocketing house prices in many suburbs across Sydney and Melbourne, with the trend showing little signs of abating.

The widening price gap between houses and units is a long-term trend driven by land scarcity in our biggest cities, with the difference tending to be widest between houses and high-rise apartments.

While house prices in Sydney’s North Ryde soared 29 per cent in the year ended March 31, unit prices in the suburb grew by a mere 6 per cent. Similarly, prices in Homebush grew 29 per cent, compared to unit price growth of just 7 per cent.

In Sydney’s Pennant Hills, house prices grew 24 per cent, while unit prices were flat, figures from CoreLogic show.

It is the same story in many parts of Melbourne, with Essendon North house prices growing by 19 per cent over the same period, while apartment prices fell by almost 1 per cent.

Houses in Melbourne’s Canterbury saw their prices jump more than 14 per cent, while units dipped 4 per cent. In inner-city Hawthorn East, houses were up 9.6 per cent, compared to a 6 per cent fall in unit prices.

Earlier analysis by CoreLogic showed more expensive property markets, particularly those close to CBDs and in areas where there are high numbers of units relative to houses, tend to have the biggest price gaps.

Eliza Owen, head of research at CoreLogic, says one of the reasons for the relative recent poor price performance of unit markets is COVID-19 related travel restrictions, including the closure of Australia’s international borders.

Demand for investment units in urbanised centres likely fell because of their high exposure to migrants and international students.

During the height of the pandemic, many units were empty, particularly in inner Melbourne.

The re-opening of international borders is seeing arrivals from overseas rising quickly, which should help to support the prices of units in both Sydney and Melbourne, she says.

However, Owen says one area of concern remains the prospect of higher mortgage interest rates, with prices of investment units more sensitive to rate movements than houses.

Many analysts expect the Reserve Bank of Australia to start increasing official interest rates this year, possible as early as June, with lenders expected to pass on any hikes in their variable rate mortgages.

Following two years of surging property prices, the big gains made over the past year appear to be over.

Sydney house prices were 0.1 per cent lower in March after being flat in February. Unit prices were 0.5 per cent lower in March and 0.3 per cent lower in February.

In Melbourne, house prices down 0.2 per cent lower in March, following flat prices February. Unit prices were 0.2 per cent higher in March and 0.1 per cent higher in February. However, those small gains came after big falls in inner-city unit property values during COVID-19 restrictions.

Coming off the back of strong annual growth, falling affordability continues to be a key factor affecting property market conditions.

A surge in the cost of living and rising rents is restricting the ability of prospective homeowners to save and borrow.

In last month’s federal budget, the government expanded the number of places available in its low-deposit scheme.

The program allows first-home buyers, and others, to buy new or existing dwellings with a deposit of only 5 per cent, instead of the usual 20 per cent that is needed to avoid paying expensive lenders’ mortgage insurance.


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Brisbane house prices leave units in the dust

Brisbane house prices

The gap between house and apartment prices in Brisbane is now the widest in at least two decades, but is set to shrink over the next 12 months as housing affordability bites and buyers choose cheaper options, Colliers says.

Colliers residential director Queensland, Andrew Roubicek, said the price difference between houses and apartments in Brisbane has reached 45 per cent compared with an average of around 20 per cent between 2003 and 2015.

Brisbane house prices further escalated with the onset on COVID-19 when people placed a higher value on privacy with interstate migration to the Sunshine State also propelling Queensland’s property market.

Property data company CoreLogic estimates that Brisbane house prices increased 32 per cent in the year ended March 31 compared with 15 per cent growth for units over the same period.

CoreLogic said house price growth is slowing faster than units and Mr Roubicek predicted that Brisbane apartment values will rise by “at least” another 15 per cent in the next 12 months.

Mr Roubicek said rising construction costs have hit the new apartment market hard and that comparable established stock costs about 25 per cent less.

“There have been several examples of new developments achieving pre-sale [targets] only to have developers refund deposits and tear up contracts because building costs escalated to a point where it was financially unviable,” he said.

“As a consequence, developers who are looking to acquire new development sites are forced to increase their projected sales prices by around 20 per cent.

“Just 18 months ago a two-bedroom apartment in Brisbane might have sold off the plan for $9000 per square metre.

“But to build that apartment today the developer would need to achieve a sale price of $11,000 per square metre for the project to stack up.”

He said as result new stock is selling slower than established units, a trend that will play out through the rest of this year.

“The market is coming to terms with those newer prices and are seeing in the short-term better value for money in the established unit market.”

He said it is a similar scenario to when GST was introduced in 2000.

“When GST came into the market overnight the cost of housing went up 10 per cent and put more demand into the established market, where the prices of stock grew and the difference between new and second hand became narrower.”

Mr Roubicek said he believed the record price gap between houses and apartments will contract through the year.

“If you believe in history, if you believe in charts, and take a long-term view you would have to think that gap is going to narrow because everyone’s talking about affordability, everyone’s talking about interest rate movements,” he said.

“Natural forces will push what would have been a buyer of a detached home back into the unit market because of affordability.”


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