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Land shortage on Gold Coast threatens to damage affordability, economy



Land shortage on Gold Coast threatens to damage affordability, economy

The Gold Coast is running out of land that can be turned into new developments to fill a growing demand from housing. Photo: Ethan Rohloff

The property industry fears a shortage of land on the Gold Coast could stall one of the fastest growing economies and property markets in the state.

While there are large tracts of unimproved land on the Gold Coast that could be developed, most of it isn’t really suitable, Property Council of Queensland executive director Chris Mountford said.

“It’s not as simple as where is vacant land, it’s the appropriateness of that land. It could be high environmental value, it could be far from infrastructure,” he said.

Mr Mountford said the impact would be far-reaching on the district, driving up prices and starving one of the coast’s largest industries.

“A big part of the Gold Coast’s economy has always been property and construction,” he said. “There’s tradies, plumbers, sparkies getting work off development.

“If we don’t ensure supply is meeting demand that will almost certainly mean declining housing affordability.”

Land needs to be made suitable for new housing estates before developers can go to work.Land needs to be made suitable for new housing estates before developers can go to work. Photo: DAVE HUNT

Failing to keep up affordability and employment would reduce the liveability of the coast.

“We want to ensure the Gold Coast remains a lovable and livable place,” Mr Mountford said. “What we definitely want to make sure is that everybody has their eye on the horizon.”

Metropole Property’s Michael Yardney agreed the looming economic risks should prompt action.

“This will encourage the government to make suitable land available because what little is available will become expensive and stifle the growth,” he said.

Mr Yardney said the government should look to continue the “snowballing” effect the coast was accumulating as the state’s second-biggest economy, behind Brisbane.

However, recent infrastructure spending on the Gold Coast made it unlikely governments would commit to more spending to open up more developable land. Instead, Mr Yardney suggested governments and private enterprise focus on building up the M1 instead.

“I believe it would make sense to develop that corridor than go further inland because there are town centres and shopping centres and infrastructure dotted along the way so that would make sense for me,” he said.

Mr Mountford said consultation was scheduled to begin to work out the best solution, so the Gold Coast did not become a victim of rampant and unsustainable growth.

“One of the things the state government has committed to is an expert housing supply panel,” he said. “We need to make sure we’re not falling behind on markers of population growth.

“Sydney and Melbourne in recent years have demonstrated what can go wrong if you don’t have a strong planning scheme.”

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10 QLD suburbs that smashed records in 2017/18



10 QLD suburbs that smashed records in 2017/18

Andrew Stone and Naomi Freney with their kids Remy Freney 6, Chelsea Stone 7 and Easton Freney 10 at the house they recently bought in Bundall, where the median house price recently burst through the $1m barrier.Source:News Limited

THEY are the state’s high achievers.

The suburbs that have outperformed their peers in the residential property stakes; breaking records for sale price, number of sales, days on market or for smashing through the million-dollar median price ceiling.

Benchmarks have been beaten in blue-chip areas like Ascot, Sunshine Beach and Surfers Paradise, as well as suburbs on the rise, including Kalinga and Underwood.

Records were smashed in at least 10 suburbs across the state in the past 12 months— an indicator of a shortage of stock and increase in demand in a number of competitive markets.

Here are some of Queensland’s benchmark busters of 2017/18:


The standout record-breaker in Brisbane was the sale of the trophy home of Domino’s Pizza boss Don Meij in Ascot.

The $11 million sale price of 27 Sutherland Avenue in March set a new record for the inner-city, blue-chip suburb.

It was also Brisbane’s highest sale of the past financial year.

10 QLD suburbs that smashed records in 2017/18

This home at 27 Sutherland Ave, Ascot, sold for $11m.Source:Supplied

Patrick McKinnon of Place Ascot, formerly of Coronis Hamilton, brokered the deal and said Mr Meij sold after receiving an off-market offer from a buyer who had fallen in love with the property.

Set on a sprawling 2024 sqm, the lavish home has six bedrooms, six marble ensuites and a jaw-dropping outdoor entertaining space with resort-style gardens, infinity-edge pool, pool house with outdoor kitchen and verandas.

10 QLD suburbs that smashed records in 2017/18

Inside the home at 27 Sutherland Ave, Ascot.Source:Supplied


The fastest selling suburb in Queensland is Brendale in the Moreton Bay region, where the median house price is still an affordable $461,000.

It takes, on average, just 11 days to find a buyer, according to CoreLogic.

According to the latest Census data only 14.5 per cent of properties in the suburb are houses. With so few houses available, demand can be strong when something new is listed.


The Sunshine Coast hinterland suburb had the highest number of houses change hands in 2017/18, with 573 houses selling in the 12 months to May, according to CoreLogic.

The owners of a majestic property at 10 Orme Rd, Buderim, that once hosted royalty have embarked on a new push to sell it.

10 QLD suburbs that smashed records in 2017/18

Buderim House at 10 Orme Rd, Buderim, is for sale.Source:Supplied

With all the focus on the royal newlyweds of late, it’s only fitting this heritage-listed Queenslander now holds extra appeal, given it was the residence of choice for the Duke of Gloucester during a royal visit in 1934.

The grand residence on 6315 sqm was built circa 1913 on the highest point of the northern slope of Mt Buderim, overlooking the Maroochy coast and river valley.

10 QLD suburbs that smashed records in 2017/18

Inside Buderim House at 10 Orme Rd, Buderim, which is for sale.Source:Supplied


This Gold Coast suburb made the million dollar club for the first time in 2017/18, with its median house price now $1.05 million.

The sale of a waterfront mansion at 8-10 Marseilles Court this year for $9 million also broke the suburb’s sale price record — trumping the $8 million sale achieved in 2009 for a house in the same street.

The resort-style home has five bedrooms and seven bathrooms and is on a huge, 2703 sqm riverfront block.

REIQ Gold Coast Zone chairman Andrew Henderson said the new record was not surprising given the Coast’s strong market and he was confident property values would continue to soar.

Andrew Stone and his partner, Naomi Freney, recently bought a five-bedroom house, which they renovated, in Bundall for $620,000.

Mr Stone said he considered it a bargain given how tightly-held the suburb had become and the increase in house prices.

“I think we probably hit pot luck with that place,” Mr Stone said.

“People had been saying that area was going to go up 20 years ago and all of a sudden, it’s growing and there’s not a lot of turnover anymore.”

Ben Latimer of LJ Hooker Southport said Bundall’s transformation into a record-breaking suburb had happened gradually.

“It’s desirable because it’s so close to everything and there’s a good mixture of waterfront and dry blocks,” he said.

Paul Nikolas agrees.

He’s been buying, renovating and selling homes in Bundall for the past six years.

The last house he sold there earned him a profit of around $700,000.

He’s now selling his latest project at 19 Donegal Crescent for a cool $3.995 million.

“I’ve found a niche market here — nice, older properties on the water,” Mr Nikolas said.

10 QLD suburbs that smashed records in 2017/18

This house at 19 Donegal Cres, Bundall, is for sale.Source:Supplied

10 QLD suburbs that smashed records in 2017/18

The view from the house at 19 Donegal Cres, Bundall.Source:Supplied


The inner Brisbane suburb achieved a new sale price record when a landmark house sold for $5.025 million just last month.

Designed by architect Eric Trewern, the English-inspired home known as Thongabel at 4 Welwyn Crescent captures views of the entire Brisbane City skyline.

10 QLD suburbs that smashed records in 2017/18

This house at 4 Welwyn Cres, Coorparoo, sold for a record price for the suburb.Source:Supplied

The five-bedroom, three storey house had been renovated with architectural features including Tulip Oak timber floors, Italian tiles and travertine.

Other highlights included a library, gym, climate controlled wine cellar, formal office, heated lap pool, heated horizon spa and outdoor space for kids to play.

Just 4km from the CBD and with a number of good Catholic and private schools on offer, Coorparoo has become one of Brisbane’s most sought-after suburbs.

The median house price sits at $875,000, according to CoreLogic.

10 QLD suburbs that smashed records in 2017/18

Inside 4 Welwyn Cres, Coorparoo, which sold for $5.025m in 2018.Source:Supplied


The tiny, up-and-coming suburb in Brisbane’s inner north made it into the million dollar club for the first time in 2017/18.

Its median house price broke through the $1 million barrier in late 2017 and currently sits at $1.04 million.

In November, 2017, records show the offmarket sale of a house at 119 Nelson Street for $4 million set a new price record for the suburb.


Brisbane’s bayside is a sleeping giant only held back by lack of stock, according to one of Manly’s leading agents.

The suburb set a new sale price record for both houses and units in the past financial year.

Marc Sorrentino of Place Manly recently sold a unit in the seaside suburb for a whopping $1.2 million — smashing the previous record price paid for an apartment there by $345,000.

10 QLD suburbs that smashed records in 2017/18

This apartment at 301/177 Melville Tce, Manly, has sold for $1.2m.Source:Supplied

A couple from Sydney snapped up the luxurious three-bedroom, two-bathroom pad at 301/177 Melville Terrace, which had been advertised for offers over $1.1 million.

The median unit price in Manly, just 15km from Brisbane’s CBD, is $485,000, according to property research firm CoreLogic.

Late last year, Mr Sorrentino sold a family home on a huge, waterfront block at 497 Royal Esplanade for $3.9 million — smashing the suburb record for the sale price of a house.

10 QLD suburbs that smashed records in 2017/18

The sale of this house at 497 Royal Esp, Manly, set a new record for the suburb.Source:Supplied

“I keep saying it’s Australia’s best kept secret, but you watch. The prices are just going to keep going up and up and up,” he said.

“There’s just been a lack of good stock.”


The sale of a beach house in Sunshine Beach for $18 million in March set a new price record for the entire Sunshine Coast region.

10 QLD suburbs that smashed records in 2017/18

This mansion at 21-23 Webb Rd, Sunshine Beach, QLDSource:Supplied

The seven-bedroom, eight-bathroom property at 21-23 Webb Road was bought by David Russell, the owner of private equity group Equis Energy.

Just streets away, former tennis star Pat Rafter’s beachfront home sold for $15.2 million to Betty’s Burger founder David Hales, within weeks of the Webb Road sale.

10 QLD suburbs that smashed records in 2017/18

The former home of tennis star Pat Rafter at 46 Seaview Tce, Sunshine Beach.Source:Supplied


A whopping 1398 units were sold in the Gold Coast’s glitziest suburb in the past financial year — more than any other property type in any other suburb.

It seems only fitting then that the most expensive penthouse Queensland has ever seen is under construction in Surfers Paradise.

10 QLD suburbs that smashed records in 2017/18

An artist’s impression of one of the apartments inside the Spirit 89 tower at Surfers Paradise.Source:Supplied

Priced at a whopping $41m and spread across two full floor levels, the highest home in the $1.2 billion Spirit 89 building easily tops the list of Queensland’s most expensive penthouses.

The 1899sq m sky home will also be one of the largest in the country, almost twice as large as Hong Kong billionaire Tony Fung’s $7.95 shell of a penthouse in the Soul building, and just a fifth smaller than the hyper-exclusive Boyd Residence above ANZ Tower in Sydney — which at $66m is Australia’s most expensive penthouse.

“Without the spire on Q1, it is the tallest residential building in Queensland,” agent Julian Sutherland of Ray White Projects told The Courier-Mail.

10 QLD suburbs that smashed records in 2017/18

An artist’s impressions of the Spirit 89 tower at Surfers Paradise.Source:Supplied


The working class suburb in Brisbane’s south experienced the highest capital growth in Queensland in the past 12 months.

The Logan suburb’s median house price climbed nearly 25 per cent to $601,345 in the past financial year.

Underwood’s median house price also jumped a massive 65.6 per cent between May 2008 and May this year — the highest growth of any Brisbane suburb in the past decade.

CoreLogic senior research analyst Cameron Kusher told The Courier-Mail it was “a bit surprising” given the suburb’s location, 17km from Brisbane’s CBD, but its affordability and access to the highway and Gold Coast made it attractive.

“But its median (house) price is now up over $600,000, so it’s not really that cheap anymore,” Mr Kusher said.


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SEQ begins big push for a billion-dollar City Deal



SEQ begins big push for a billion-dollar City Deal

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (left) and Treasurer Jackie Trad are pushing for a City Deal for south-east Queensland.

Photo: AAP/Dan Peled

Political delays dogging infrastructure projects will be history if talks on Tuesday morning cement a new billion-dollar 15-year City Deal for south-east Queensland between all three levels of government.

Such a deal could benefit 3 million people catching trains and buses, driving on highways, building businesses, looking for housing, and finding school and universities between the Sunshine and Gold coasts and west to Toowoomba.

Deputy premier Jackie Trad and Brisbane’s lord mayor Graham Quirk will on Tuesday morning outline how close the 10 south-east Queensland councils – Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan, Moreton Bay, Redland, Scenic Rim, Somerset, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba and Lockyer Valley – are to signing Australia’s largest City Deal with the federal government.

Australia now has three City Deals backed by the federal government: Townsville (2016), Launceston (April 2017) and Western Sydney (March 2018).

Cr Quirk, the chairman of Council of Mayors (SEQ) that represents the region’s local governments, described a City Deal for the area as “a dramatic change”.

“The power of aligning the efforts of all levels of government and securing a long-term program of investment in our region will be a game changer,” Cr Quirk said.

“For the first time, all levels of government will be working in unison to protect and enhance the prosperity and liveability of south-east Queensland.”

SEQ begins big push for a billion-dollar City Deal
Brisbane’s lord mayor Graham Quirk begins a campaign for a City Deal funding package for 10 councils on Tuesday morning.
Photo: Fairfax Media

A City Deal binds the three levels of government — federal, state and local — as a group to agree to a 15-year rolling funding program of infrastructure projects that a fast-growing region needs.

As projects provide a lift in land value, that financial uplift is identified, captured and then re-invested into the infrastructure funding pool, under a model first identified in Manchester in 2012 and then in Brisbane in 2014.

In April 2018, Cr Quirk and Ms Trad met the federal government’s new Cities and Urban Infrastructure minister Paul Fletcher, when they first put forward the SEQ City Deal.

All parties described those 2018 talks as “positive”.

Cr Quirk and Ms Trad will begin the public push for the SEQ City Deal at a business breakfast at Brisbane’s Convention and Exhibition Centre on Tuesday.

“We secured Australia’s first ever City Deal in Townsville, which is paying dividends with projects like the North Queensland Stadium, delivered through the City Deal,” Ms Trad said.

“That is under construction and on track to be open for the start of the 2020 NRL season.”

Townsville’s City Deal is a 15-year arrangement, while Launceston’s is a five-year deal and Western Sydney’s is a 20-year deal.

The federal government is tipped to announce City Deals for Geelong and Darwin by September 2018, allowing planners to work on Hobart, Perth and south-east Queensland over 18 months.

How could it help?

It locks in project funds over 15 to 20 years, moving them away from political promises, which are subject to election outcomes. It could remove election squabbling over the same project.

It sets out a timetable for  projects allowing the private sector to invest more confidently.

It could help the next generation of infrastructure projects, after the Pacific Motorway, Cross River Rail and Brisbane Metro projects were all delayed by politics, angering voters.

It has also been mentioned as a way of funding Moreton Bay’s new university campus at Petrie and breathing life into the Brisbane River’s Resilient Rivers proposal.

What is Townsville’s experience after 18 months?

The Townsville City Deal was signed on December 9, 2016. It is a 15-year agreement.

Work has begun on stage two of the 25,000-seat $250 million North Queensland Stadium. It will be finished for the 2020 rugby league season. It is funded by the federal and state governments, and Townsville City Council.

The Queensland government has promised $250 million for new water supply for Townsville.

A business case for new Townsville Port facilities is almost finished and the Queensland government has pledged $75 million for port upgrade.

Townville mayor Jenny Hill said choosing the right projects was essential to make a City Deal effective.

“The City Deal provides a roadmap for delivery that breaks the political cycle so it is very important to choose the right projects or areas for reform that will make the biggest difference to a city or region,” Cr Hill said.

“All three levels of government also need to buy into the key priorities of the local area that are included in any City Deal.”

SEQ begins big push for a billion-dollar City Deal

Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill on top of Castle Hill with Townsville in the background.
Photo: supplied

SEQ City Deal – the background

  • May 2012Co-funding model idea began in United Kingdom.
  • June 2015: Queensland prepares its own case for City Deals after Ms Trad looked at the UK City Deals idea in Manchester.
  • 2016: Council of Mayors (SEQ), Queensland Property Council and the Queensland government put a plan together.
  • November 2016: Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk signed a memorandum of understanding with prime minister Malcolm Turnbull in November 2016 to develop “tailored City Deals” for Queensland.
  • February 2017: Ms Trad and Cr Quirk wrote to then-federal cities minister Angus Taylor, agreeing to a joint submission.
  • Late 2017: A Cities Transformation TaskForce established in Brisbane.
  • June 2018: Queensland’s major contractors called for a City Deal.


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Gold Coast’s increasingly unaffordable rental market set to leave families on the street



Gold Coast’s increasingly unaffordable rental market set to leave families on the street

Low-income families who have been receiving rental relief from the federal government will be hit hard once it expires later this year, Horizon says. Photo: Louie Douvis

Gold Coast residents on low incomes could find themselves homeless by the end of this year as their subsidised tenancies come to an end and they are thrust back into an extremely tight and expensive rental market.

The federal government’s National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS), which offers investors an annual financial incentive to rent homes at 20 per cent below market rates, will soon expire, leaving the nearly 600 NRAS tenants on the Gold Coast in a critical situation.

Single mother Melissa Jones has lived in an NRAS property at Ashmore with her three children aged four, seven and 15 for the past four years and is “terrified” of what their future holds.

Gold Coast’s increasingly unaffordable rental market set to leave families on the street
The rental market on the Gold Coast is extremely tight due to a downturn in stock levels – more buyers are purchasing to own, rather than to invest. Photo: Kollosche Prestige

“I had left a domestic violence situation but, when I was trying to apply for rentals, no one would take me because I’m on a disability pension and my income wasn’t high enough,” Ms Jones said.

“It made me return to the domestic violence situation, just so I could put my partner’s name on a lease and get a roof over my head.

“When the kids and I eventually moved to the Gold Coast with nothing more than the clothes on our backs and got this property with the subsidised rent, I was able to start my life again and stand on my own two feet … my children are settled and we are the happiest we’ve ever been. This place is like paradise.

Gold Coast’s increasingly unaffordable rental market set to leave families on the street
As many as 90 affordable houses could be lost from the Gold Coast next year, according to Horizon Housing. Photo: Ray White Benowa

“I’m sure we would’ve ended up homeless otherwise.”

The first properties issued under NRAS will begin winding down in December, and could strip the Gold Coast of 90 affordable housing assets by next year.

With no replacement scheme in place, Horizon Housing chief executive officer Jason Cubit said the number of affordable homes on the market would drastically decrease as investors returned their properties to at-market prices, pushing low-income tenants out.

Gold Coast’s increasingly unaffordable rental market set to leave families on the street
Houses at Mermaid Beach have risen by a staggering 83 per cent over the past five years; 25 Hedges Avenue sold this year for $6.5 million. Photo: Kollosche Prestige

“The impact on tenants being thrust back into a rental market that has become prohibitively expensive over the past 10 years cannot be understated,” Mr Cubit said.

REIQ Gold Coast zone chair Andrew Henderson confirmed the local rental market was already extremely competitive and said the NRAS tenants would likely find it difficult to secure a new tenancy.

“Competition for properties in the affordable price is already huge,” he said.

Gold Coast’s increasingly unaffordable rental market set to leave families on the street
House prices at Broadbeach Waters have risen by 58 per cent over the past five years. Photo: Sean Strecker

“The Gold Coast’s vacancy rate may have improved as a whole but, if you want to spend under $550 a week, you’re looking at a vacancy rate of less than one per cent.

“You can’t get someone in spending more than 30 per cent of their income [on rent], so we know these low-income earners are going to struggle. If we’ve got four or more applications on a property, landlords will always choose the best applicants in front of them.”

Mr Henderson said the Gold Coast’s affordable rental market had tightened considerably due to rising house prices and a changing demographic in recent years.

“More than three quarters of our buyers are now owner-occupiers rather than investors — that’s a massive turnaround from a decade ago,” he said.

“We’ve now got less investors and more owner-occupiers, so the pool of rentals has shrunk considerably.”

Mr Cubit said as the first of the properties reached their 10-year subsidy expiry, the number of affordable homes on the market would decrease “drastically” further, as investors returned their properties to at-market prices and low-income tenants were pushed out.

“What we are expecting to see once NRAS wraps up is an increase in rent prices across properties, leaving the NRAS scheme of around 20 per cent,” he said.

“This means if you’re currently paying $336 a week, when that incentive expires that could potentially go up to at least $420 a week – a considerable jump when you consider many of these tenants are already struggling to get by.”

Ms Jones said the actual value of her rental, where she currently pays $348 a week, would be at least $430 a week.

“I’m absolutely petrified of what will happen next. I can’t afford another $50, $80 a week in rent. I can afford to pay my bills but we are down to our last $10 every single week,” she said.

“I burst out crying the other day. Everything I’ve worked for and the life we’ve built over the past four years is under threat and the unknown is awful. I get panic attacks thinking about it.”

Horizon will be reaching out to and working closely with any affected tenants well in advance of the expiry of any incentives to explore their options.


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