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Whitsundays prestige market strong amid COVID uncertainty: HTW

prestige market
The high end market in the Whitsundays is performing well despite COVID and what’s happening in other areas of Australia, with lifestyle properties being sought after, according to the November report from valuation firm Herron Todd White.
HTW found that rural residential lifestyle properties are being snapped up with sales ranging from $800,000 to over $1 million.
Properties with ocean views or frontage are also being snapped up along with vacant lots in similar locations.
“There have also been two sales in the prestige unit market, both selling for over $800,000,” the Queensland-based Herron Todd White valuer Noelene Spurway said.
“We expect that once the borders are open, lifestyle properties will continue to move as the lifestyle in the Whitsundays is second to none.”
Spurway did however jest that she is maybe just a little biased.
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North Qld

Regional jobs boom to help fuel move from city to country

housing policy

A boom in job vacancies across regional Australia will help fuel the continued shift of people from cities to the country.

According to the Regional Australia Institute, there are more than 66,200 jobs available in regional towns and cities across the country.

The institute’s chief executive officer Liz Ritchie said the regional job boom was the largest since records began and even beats demand during the mining construction boom a decade ago.

Economists have warned without jobs to keep them there, the pandemic-driven exodus of people from the city to the country could quickly stall.

The work from home directive has translated into higher price increases for country properties than those in the city, even though home sales there are experiencing a price boom of their own.

Some property commentators have warned that post-COVID-19, the new country residents will have to head back to the cities for work.

Housing Industry Association economist Angela Lillicrap did not agree.

“It all depends on what businesses do in the future but all the signs are that having staff working from home is here to stay,” Ms Lillicrap said.

“It is likely that much of the shift in population to the regions will be permanent.”

Other analysts are predicting the regional growth trend has at least two to three years to play out yet.

According to Australian Bureau of Statistics research released on Friday, teleworking is now favoured by many employers.

Before COVID-19, one in five (20 per cent) of businesses had staff teleworking.

Currently, 30pc of businesses have staff teleworking “with 45pc of these experiencing improved staff wellbeing as a benefit”, the ABS said.

Investment manager Atlas Advisors Australia has called for better use of migrant investment funds under a key visa program with the aim to fill critical gaps in venture capital in regional areas.

Atlas’ executive chairman Guy Hedley said Australia should use the Investor Visa program to channel funds to regional economies as the US already does.

“This would lead to the development of regional economic hubs that may attract other metropolitan businesses to relocate to obtain funding support,” he said.

The Regional Australia Institute has launched a campaign to encourage more people to consider moving to the country.

Regional jobs

Developers are quickly moving on those towns within commuting distance of the city to create new estates to accommodate the demand. 

The latest jobs numbers come at a welcome time, the RAI’s Ms Ritchie said.

“Regional job vacancies now account for nearly one third of all vacancies across the country.”

She said the current strength in the regional labour market is broadly based across all states and territories and occupations, with the greatest demand being for professionals and skilled tradespeople.

In March 2021, a record number of jobs were advertised in regional areas of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory.

Australian Community Media has also seen continued growth in the rural job advertising market.

This jobs growth has “shown no signs of easing off after such a strong start to the year”, according to ACM’s agriculture division commercial director Craig Chapman.

“Our experience is position vacant advertising on our platforms is closely aligned to the confidence the rural sector has, not only at the production level but also for those businesses providing products and services to rural producers,” Mr Chapman said.

Ms Ritchie said in Queensland and Western Australia, regional job vacancies were not far below previous records, while in the Northern Territory, regional job ads have been trending higher over the past eight months.

RAI chief economist Dr Kim Houghton said the Dubbo and Western NSW Region recorded the strongest annual growth, with job ads up by 117pc in the year to March 2021.

“Each and every one of the 32 regions outside of the mainland state capitals had more vacancies in March 2021 than in the previous month and also more vacancies than a year earlier,” Dr Houghton said.

Key job categories are Health Care and Social Assistance, followed by Public Administration and Safety, then the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services sectors.

Ms Ritchie said their research from late last year found that one in five people living in Perth, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne are considering a move to regional Australia.

Those research results mirror those from most others, including NBN Co. which commissioned its own survey to discover whether the city exodus was going to continue.

More than a third were looking to move after the pandemic.

People see benefits like saving money, a quieter lifestyle, and getting on with the things that make them happy as the key drivers for relocation.

Ms Ritchie said: “Of course there will be growing pains with regionalisation, but we should not shy away from the challenges ahead – and housing is one of those.

“While regional communities have long faced housing challenges, these have been amplified by the increased interest in regional living sparked by the coronavirus pandemic and the working-from-home phenomenon.”

Housing will be the focus of RAI’s next Regions Rising webinar series on May 20 to discuss those housing challenges.


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Top 10 Regional Growth Areas Revealed

Regional Growth Areas

The value of development in eight of Australia’s top 10 regional growth areas will exceed the billion-dollar-plus mark this year as buyers look to more affordable options.

The PRD Stand Out Regions report ranked locations around the country according to median price affordability along with indicators for property investment, local employment growth and sustainable economic futures.

Sea-change locations the Whitsundays (Qld) and Port Stephens (Vic) along with the historic charm of Greater Bendigo (Vic) were named in the report as among the best places for residential opportunity.

These locations also had a rental vacancy of 0.4-1.5 per cent at the end of 2020 compared to 1.8-4.7 per cent in city areas according to the report.

Top 10 affordable regional areas

RankLocationDevelopment Value 2021Residential Projects Commencing 2021
1Whitsunday, Qld$1.49bn514 lots, 216 dwellings
2Mackay, Qld$1.11bn914 lots, 6 dwellings
3Toowoomba$1.36bn381 lots, 230 dwellings
4Port Stephens, NSW$1.36bn61 lots 43 dwellings
5Greater Hume Region, NSW$578m32 lots, 0 dwellings
6Federation, NSW$1.12bn0 lots, 0 dwellings
7Greater Bendigo City, Vic$1.21bn1,858 lots, 89 dwellings
8Greater Geelong, Vic$7.52bn2,519 lots, 5,490 dwellings
9Warrnambool, Vic$591m0 lots, 68 dwellings
10Circular Head, Tas$1.43bn0 lots, 0 dwellings

^Source: PRD Stand Out Regions report

Despite the residential potential in these regions, a large portion of the development growth was due to commercial, infrastructure and industrial projects set to start in 2021.

This included solar farms, new commercial hubs and transport links which will further improve liveability in the regions.

“Regional areas have become the most attractive option throughout 2020, with evidence of buyers capitalising on lower median property prices,” the PRD Stand Out Regions report said.

“In the December quarter of 2020, all capital cities saw a surge in price growth annually, with the weighted average Australian median house price increasing by 6 per cent to $825,205.

“The national median family weekly income grew by 1.8 per cent over the same period, but was not on-par with median house price growth, resulting in the home affordability index decreasing by -1.8 per cent.”

Along with topping the regional affordability charts, Queensland is experiencing huge demand with unit rent going above Melbourne prices in Brisbane this year and the broader market on the cusp of a boom.

Meanwhile, the state’s government and councils are seeking new greenfield development sites.


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Shovel-Ready Projects Rebuild Queensland Tourism Industry

Shovel-ready projects

Shovel-ready projects capable of creating new opportunities and spurring investment are part of Queensland’s plans to rebuild its $25.5-billion tourism industry.

The state government has enlisted “industry heavyweights” to form a panel, develop a plan and chart the Covid recovery course for Queensland.

Suggestions for the recovery plan included a boost to infrastructure, rebuilding airline capacity into the state, events to drive visitation and new developments that create experiences in both peak and off-peak periods.

Increasing international education, tourism branding and growing technology were also outlined as possible ways to help the tourism industry recover.

Aviation leader Liz Savage will chair the panel alongside former Tourism Australia chief executive Andrew McEvoy and Tourism and Events Queensland chair Brett Godfrey who will step down his position to focus on this plan.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the panel would oversee the development of an action plan for tourism recovery.

“We have a great opportunity to build back better. That’s what this is all about,” Palaszczuk said.

“Tourism is a cornerstone of our economy. Ensuring this industry gets back on its feet is vital to rebuilding our economy.”

Shovel-Ready Projects

▲ The Club at Parkwood Village plan to build a $35 million Endless Surf pool about 10km from Surfers Paradise. 

Tourism industry, development and innovation minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the plan would explore new opportunities to shape the next phase of Queensland’s economic response.

“Before Covid, tourism was a healthy $25.5-billion industry, representing one in 11 jobs in the state and employing 234,000 Queenslanders,” Hinchliffe said.

“Covid has dented the state’s economy and shaken world confidence.

“With vaccines being rolled out in Australia and around the world, the panel will work with industry on a considered and thorough plan for Queensland tourism beyond 2021.”

Submissions will be invited from across the industry to shape the plan, with a series of public discussion papers to be issued from April 2021, action will then be identified before a final plan is released in early 2022.


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