In­vestors lap it up

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - REAL ESTATE - Bianca Kee­gan

FLY-IN fly-out work­ers, hol­i­day­mak­ers want­ing to es­cape city liv­ing and savvy lo­cal in­vestors are snap­ping up units in Port Dou­glas.

The town’s unit sales have blitzed ev­ery other town and sub­urb in the Far North in the 12 months to Fe­bru­ary, ac­cord­ing to new RP Data fig­ures.

It is no sur­prise to Vic­to­rian in­vestor Grant Burnell who has pur­chased six prop­er­ties in the sea­side town, mostly to ren­o­vate and rent to hol­i­day­mak­ers.

‘‘This one is a hol­i­day-let, we get fan­tas­tic oc­cu­pancy,’’ the cor­po­rate ac­coun­tant said.

‘‘We have been com­ing to Port since 2004 on hol­i­days, we had a change in our life, our busi­ness sold, and we tried to ac­cu­mu­late a few more prop­er­ties here.’’

The trop­i­cal des­ti­na­tion has seen 226 unit pur­chases dur­ing the 12-month pe­riod.

This fig­ure is higher than Cairns City and Cairns North unit sales and house sales in Table­land town Ma­reeba.

‘‘I tend to be a cycli­cal in­vestor, I try not to buy any­thing that is pop­u­lar at the time,’’ Mr Burnell said.

‘‘The in­com­ing mar­kets from Europe and Amer­ica were very sub­dued be­cause of the GFC so the oc­cu­pancy was down, which af­fected the yield and af­fected the property prices. ‘‘(Port Dou­glas) took a hell of a beat­ing.’’ As the mar­ket re­cov­ers, Mr Burnell is just one in­vestor in the resur­gence of in­ter­state buy­ers look­ing north to find a bar­gain.

The limited sup­ply of land, high-rise re­stric­tions, rea­son­able prices and be­ing a small town is at­tract­ing buy­ers, says Ray White Port Dou­glas agent Caro­line Yarr.

"We had a fall­ing mar­ket for six years and houses and apart­ments were dif­fi­cult to sell so the prices con­tin­ued to fall,’’ Ms Yarr said.

"About 18 months ago we no­ticed a real shift in the mar­ket."

Ms Yarr said houses near Four Mile Beach had also ex­pe­ri­enced a 20 per cent price in­crease.

‘‘I’m down to half the stock I had 18 months ago.

‘‘We also haven’t had any new de­velop- ment...’’

Vista Realty Port Dou­glas agent Pauline Hal­sall said many people were look­ing to pur­chase property to rent be­fore re­turn­ing to live years on.

‘‘People are com­ing from Vic­to­ria, Western Aus­tralia and North­ern Ter­ri­tory where prices are high.

‘‘’’They are sur­prised at the value of proper- ties here,’’ she said.

‘‘Re­cently I had a group of real es­tate agents and their in­vestors from South Aus­tralia pur­chased quite a few (prop­er­ties) all in the same re­sort - they just could not get enough.’’

Agents said the re­cent ac­qui­si­tions of Sher­a­ton Mi­rage and Ma­rina Mi­rage plus plans for Aquis Great Bar­rier Reef Re­sort at Yorkeys Knob had boosted buyer con­fi­dence.

Vic­to­rian in­vestor Grant Burnell has bought up big in Port Dou­glas

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