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Sunshine Coast remains a standout market during COVID-19: Hotspotting’s Terry Ryder

Sunshine Coast remains a standout market during COVID-19 Hotspotting's Terry Ryder

The key message for property investors right now is that there are many growth markets across Australia.

There’s a tendency in mainstream media to extrapolate the situations in Sydney and Melbourne to the whole nation. If the big cities are in decline, then Australian real estate is in decline, according to news media.

This is seldom true – and it’s certainly not the case right now. Some of our smaller capital cities are pumping strongly and, in particular, regional Australia has many growth markets.

Last week I made this comment: “Regional Queensland has achieved something that few jurisdictions across Australia have managed: it has maintained its previous high levels of well-performing markets in defiance of Covid-19.”

I wrote that I rated the Sunshine Coast one of the strongest economic and real estate stories in the nation and that it continues to produce solid results in its property markets.

The anecdotal evidence from people at the coalface of the Sunshine Coast property industry is that sales are happening, vacancies remain low and there’s no evidence of values falling.

The latest data on prices and vacancy rates confirms that – with evidence of notable growth pockets.

Most of the postcodes across the Sunshine Coast region, including Noosa (which is a separate local government area), have vacancy rates between 1% and 2%. While some of the capital city CBDs and tourism-dominated locations like Surfers Paradise have had big blowouts in their vacancies, the Sunshine Coast has resisted this trend.

Although tourism is an important industry to the Sunshine Coast, its economy is insulated by the ongoing massive spend on infrastructure, including the evolving medical precinct, the new CBD now under construction, the billion-dollar highway improvements, the upgrade of the local airport to international status and the subsea internet cable link to Asia – among other projects.

And this is bolstering the local property market.

The top end of the market in particular has been boosted, thanks in part of the influx of well-paid medical specialists working in the new medical precinct, based around the $2 billion university hospital.

The two most expensive suburbs in the region, Sunshine Beach and Minyama, have both experienced notable uplift in prices recently. The median house price for Sunshine Beach, just outside Noosa, has risen 16% in the latest quarter and 27% in annual terms, to reach $1.8 million. Minyama is up 7% in the most recent quarter and 23% annually – and typical houses are now above $1.1 million.

The median house price for Noosa Heads has risen 8% in the past year, including 1.4% in the most recent quarter.

Other locations throughout the Sunshine Coast region, including Mooloolaba, Maroochydore, Coolum and Pelican Waters, have recorded more moderate growth, but nevertheless have achieved price uplift in both the past 12 months and the most recent quarter – and a time when the big cities are feeling the negative impacts of Covid-19.

Keep that in mind the next time you hear one of our chattering economists telling us that “Australian property prices” are falling.

The Sunshine Coast is a standout example among many thriving regional markets.




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Local News

Sekisui’s Plan B revealed as contentious Yaroomba resort remains in legal limbo

Sekisui's Plan B revealed

Sekisui may resurrect a 15-year-old project to develop 329 dwellings at Yaroomba Beach if it’s forced to scrap its controversial plan for a five-star resort.

With the $900 million Westin resort and village project currently in limbo before the court, Sekisui House has revealed another option for the prime site.

The company may revert to an approved application from 2007 to build an exclusive gated housing estate by the beach.

Sunshine Coast Council has confirmed Sekisui’s land is located within part of the existing 2007 Coolum Hyatt Resort Master Plan “that remains in effect”.

That approval allows for a maximum of 329 dwellings, including units, duplexes and detached houses, with building heights ranging from two to four storeys, the council confirmed.

It also allows a mix of resort, residential and commercial/retail uses up to 500sqm, plus vegetation clearing, excavation of a lake and fill.

With the median property price in the area now at $1.3 million, the alternate housing development for the Yaroomba beachside could be worth at least half a billion dollars.

The possible move comes after the Coolum-Yaroomba community won a years-long legal battle in February which sent council’s 2018 resort approval back to the Planning and Environment Court for a review.

The Court of Appeal has yet to issue direction to the Planning and Environment Court.

If the review goes against Sunshine Coast Council and Sekisui it would mean the end of the road for the current resort application.

But Sekisui’s project director Evan Aldridge said the company still had the option to develop the site according to the 2007 plan, which already had approval.

That plan does not have a major resort but includes 329 dwellings in the Yaroomba beachside precinct.

By comparison, the current resort venture has fewer dwellings (67) and more apartments (132 serviced apartments and 541 apartments), with the central feature being the contentious 220-room hotel.

Development Watch’s Lyn Saxton said the original 2007 approval was “very generous” as it granted six four-storey buildings in an area that now allowed only two storeys.

Ms Saxton said once the court proceedings were finalised, Sekisui House would be able to proceed with that project “and no-one can object”.

However, if it wanted to change anything, Sekisui would have to take into account the new height limit of two storeys placed on the site in 2014.

“It also needs to take into account the community expectation regarding that height limit of two storeys and many other factors,” she said.

However, Sekisui’s own planning report has painted a less-than-ideal image of the older project that it may end up pursuing.

The Project Urban Planning Report from 2018 states that the 2007 design:

  • Is exclusive to gated residents
  • Has no public parking and access to the beach
  • Has no public parks and local amenities
  • Has minimal open space and is for private use only
  • Requires clearing of “all vegetation on site”

Having no resort would also mean missing out on $228.6 million annually to the local economy, 1,379 resort jobs and 176,700 visitor stay nights per year, the report states.

Sekisui’s planning report says the more favourable features of the contentious 2018 application over the original were:

  • A village feel with a resort, shops, amenities and village heart
  • 382 public carparks
  • Direct access to the patrolled beach
  • 4 hectares of public open and green space gifted to the Sunshine Coast Council
  • 2,770sqm village retail

The resort was to stand between five and seven storeys which was the most disputed aspect of the design as it did not fit with the community’s expectation on height limits.

It stepped down to four-storey apartments around the hotel and transitioned to three-storey dwellings towards David Low Way and Yaroomba Beach and two-storeys to the south.



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Sunshine Coast

Auction action: home hunters pour in despite rainy weekend on Sunshine Coast

home hunters pour in

The weather may have been wet and wild, but it failed to dampen the red-hot Sunshine Coast property market over the weekend.

While Brisbane and interstate buyers have been active recently, locals were the successful buyers at two auctions run by Pam Thomas of Ray White Maroochydore.

A hot price was achieved for a three-bedroom, three-bathroom and two-carport unit at Mooloolaba.

Pam believes the one-of-a-kind apartment in the Saffire Complex, at 14/16 Marjorie St, was deserving of the undisclosed, but above reserve, price, it achieved at auction.

“It went for just marginally shy of a record-breaking price for the Saffire complex,” she said.

“The biggest price was for the penthouse and that’s different again.”

She said units of this size – 178 square metres – were as “scarce as hen’s teeth’ and the sale price recognised its unique value.

There were five active bidders and a local bidder won the day.

A two-bedroom, two-bathroom, two-car, 110sq m unit (no 21) in the same complex sold for $1,010,000 on 10/02/2021.

Pam’s second auction at 1/91 beach Rd, Maroochydore, sold under the hammer for $850,000 and, once again, went to a local.

“It was sold seven years ago to an investor, and this time around, it’s been sold to another investor.”

Pam commented that she was surprised there just two bidders for the four-bedroom, two-bathroom, one-carport, unit.

 Yay, a first homebuyer gets the prize!

Mandy Leahy of Ray White was delighted to see a renovated two-bedroom unit at 6/126-128, Broadwater Ave, Maroochydore sold to a first homebuyer.

Mandy said there were four registered bidders after “good numbers went through the property”.

On the day, a young naval officer, represented by his parents, would be the victor.

The unit (pictured below) sold under the hammer for $540,000.

home hunters pour in Auction

The unit at 6/126-128, Broadwater Ave, Maroochydore.




2 Bed, 1 Bath, 1 Car, Ray White, Keegan Sutton



4 Bed, 2 Bath, 2 Car, Ray White, Jodi Price



4 Bed, 2 Bath, 9 Car, Ray White, Chevonne Rees



4 Bed, 2 Bath, 1 Car, Ray White, Pam Thomas



5 Bed, 3 Bath, 4 Car, Ray White, Judy Wild



4 Bed, 2 Bath, 1 Car, Ray White,  Gregory Ward



4 Bed, 3 Bath, 2 Car, Ray White, Ryan Bradeley



2 Bed, 1 Bath, 1 Car, Ray White, Mandy Leahy



2 Bed, 3 Bath, 2 Car, Ray White, Pam Thomas



4 Bed, 3 Bath, 3 Car, Coronis, Jacob Wareham



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‘Best of the best’: Sunshine Coast’s world-class retreats honoured in global awards

Sunshine Coast's world-class retreats honoured in global awards

Grateful guests are repaying the “mountains of hospitality” they encounter on the Sunshine Coast with rave reviews that are cementing the region on the world hotels map.

The 2022 TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Best of the Best awards categories reveals the most-loved hotels around the world, with 11 subcategories of accommodation, including three new ones: Out of the Ordinary Hotels, Hotels on the Water, and Mountain Resorts and Lodges.

Seven Sunshine Coast hotels have been recognised in the latest community-powered ranking by TripAdvisor customers – some in multiple categories.

The region dominated Experiential and Romance accommodation in Australia and has done exceptionally well in the world rankings in the 20th year of the hotel awards.

Sunshine Coast's world-class retreats honoured, The Falls Montville.

The Falls Montville.

One of the area’s boutique players that’s big on welcomes – The Falls Montville (Kondallilla Falls Rd) – won a swag of awards:
• Best Small Hotels World: The Falls Montville No.4, Bli Bli House Riverside Retreat No.15.
• Best Romance Hotels World: The Falls Montville No.3, Bli Bli House Riverside Retreat No.9.
• Best Mountain Lodges and Resorts World: The Falls Montville No.5.
• Best Small Hotel Australia: The Falls Montville No.1 (Bli Bli House Riverside Retreat No.2, Narrows Escape Rainforest Retreat No.7).
• Best Small Hotel South Pacific: The Falls Montville No.1 (Bli Bli House No.3, and Narrows Escape Rainforest Retreat at Montville No.14).
• Best Romance Hotel South Pacific: The Falls Montville No.1 (Bli Bli House Riverside Retreat was runner-up, and Narrows Escape Rainforest Retreat No.14).

In addition, Maleny’s Blue Summit Cottages won the award for Best B&B in Australia (Alaya Escape at Eudlo was No.5, and Avocado Grove at Flaxton No.14) and was named 23rd in the world in that category.

Sunshine Coast's world-class retreats given honour

Element on Coolum Beach is flying the flag for beachside hotels in the awards.

Beachside, Element on Coolum Beach was named No.7 in the Best Hotel in Australia category and No.12 for the South Pacific.

Visit Sunshine Coast CEO Matt Stoeckel said the region offered one of the most enviable ranges of high-quality boutique accommodation in Australia.

“We have the perfect setting for luxury boutique hotels, B&Bs, lodges and self-contained accommodation, and the hinterland – with its spectacular scenery – is where they have excelled,” he said.

“There is undoubtedly a strong trend towards nature-based ‘rejuvenation’ and romantic holidays, and these awards highlight that our hinterland properties are constantly delivering memorable holiday experiences.

“It’s great to see so many of our accommodation properties featured in the ‘Best of the Best’, and we look forward to welcoming new additions like HOLA in Eumundi and Maleny Lodge in future awards.”

Alan Dryden, of The Falls Montville, said he and his wife Aryna had been in Sydney when they heard the news of the awards and celebrated with “a couple of bottles of Barossa red and very nice French champagne with family”.

It was a double celebration because the Drydens were able to meet their 21-month-old grandson Freddie Wolf Dryden from New Zealand for the first time – kept apart due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

“We’ve actually featured in Small Hotels, Romance and Mountain Lodge (categories),” he said.

“I don’t think anybody else who’s won awards around the world in this Travellers’ Choice has been featured in three different types of category.

“So, that’s quite an accomplishment from our point of view.

“My wife Aryna, she’s got wonderful attention to detail and absolutely superb standards so I think that underpins the delivery of our experience.

Sunshine Coast's world-class retreats honoured. Bli Bli House Riverside Retreat.

Bli Bli House Riverside Retreat.

“Not only have we won these awards but … we’re the No.1 traveller-ranked property in the whole of Australia as we speak – whether small or large – on the live TripAdvisor platform right now.”

He paid tribute to the efforts of fellow hotel and resort operators around Montville in creating a pocket of excellence in the Coast hotel industry.

“Last year, Narrows Escape, one of our neighbours up here, was named the No.1 romance hotel on the entire planet,” he said.

“Blue Summit have excelled up here as well: they are the No.1 B&B in the country. What a fabulous operation.

“Overall, if you look at Spicers, Secrets on the Lake, Montville Misty View, Lovestone, Belles (At Montville), Montagues (Of Montville), Kondalilla Eco Resort, Lillypillys and several more top notch operators, Montville is the boutique accommodation capital of Australia.

Sunshine Coast's world-class retreats awards, Narrows Escape Rainforest Retreat.

Narrows Escape Rainforest Retreat.

Travellers’ Choice Best of the Best award winners are among the top 1% of listings on TripAdvisor.

So, Element on Coolum Beach managers David and Susannah Hart are equally thrilled to have made the Best of the Best list once again and thanked guests for their support of the beachside address on David Low Way.

Sunshine Coast's world-class retreats honoured

Guests voted with their computer mouse for Element on Coolum Beach.

“After taking out the top spot in 2021, we are proud to appear in the Top 25 again this year, taking out No.7 for Australia and No.12 for South Pacific, they said.

“This returns us to the Top 25 Best of the Best category.

“Thank you to all of the fantastic guests who share their holiday experiences, enabling us to receive such an honour.

“Our impressive team ensured the very best service was provided to our guests.

“We appreciate that memories last forever, and we look forward to seeing you again soon to create a few more in our slice of paradise in Coolum Beach, Queensland.”


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