Lifestyle a lure for some heavy hit­ters

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Rear View -

COM­MER­CIAL and res­i­den­tial prop­erty in the Sun­shine Coast is go­ing gang­busters as the state’s boom­ing econ­omy con­tin­ues to at­tract peo­ple and in­vest­ment from within Aus­tralia and all over the world.

Soar­ing pop­u­la­tion num­bers have in­spired mas­sive new in­fra­struc­ture projects in­clud­ing roads, ports, schools and hos­pi­tals. And com­mer­cial space is be­ing gob­bled up. Cur­rently, there are around 7364 sq me­tres of un­oc­cu­pied space on the Sun­shine Coast com­pared to 23,496 on the Gold Coast.

The Sun­shine Coast is a ma­jor eco­nomic cen­tre in South East Queens­land and is seen as the base for a num­ber of key in­dus­tries in­clud­ing, re­tail, con­struc­tion and ac­com­mo­da­tion and food ser­vices,’’ says He­len Swan­son, com­mer­cial re­search man­ager with Col­liers In­ter­na­tional.’’

Sev­eral in­fra­struc­ture projects are cur­rently in plan­ning or con­struc­tion stage to sup­port the ex­pected eco­nomic growth in the area.’’

Among the most highly an­tic­i­pated of th­ese are ma­jor plans to solve the no­to­ri­ous traf­fic prob­lems af­flict­ing Caloun­dra.

Ms Swan­son says that she ex­pects the Sun­shine State’s com­mer­cial and res­i­den­tial prop­erty mar­ket to grow at around 20 per­cent for the next few years.

The Sun­shine Coast is one of the strong­est pop­u­la­tion growth cen­tres in Queens­land and in 2007 the area ex­pe­ri­enced ro­bust con­struc­tion and tourism sec­tors, strong jobs growth, grow­ing me­dian house prices and record com­mer­cial and in­dus­trial sales,’’ she says.

In ad­di­tion, record sale and leas­ing prices in Bris­bane for both com­mer­cial and in­dus­trial prop­erty is en­tic­ing new play­ers to the Sun­shine Coast mar­ket keen to take ad­van­tage of the Coast’s plans for im­proved in­fra­struc­ture and de­vel­op­ment plans.’’

In­ter­na­tional com­pa­nies, es­pe­cially those from Asia, are look­ing in­creas­ingly to Queens­land and the Sushine Coast for their Aus­tralian of­fices.

From what I’ve heard, speak­ing to Asians, is that there’s start­ing to be a pres­ence of firms look­ing to en­ter be­cause of the in­fra­struc­ture and the lifestyle,’’ Ms Swan­son ex­plains.

Re­cruiters from over­seas are re­port­ing this.’’

Ac­cord­ing to the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment’s Plan­ning In­for­ma­tion and Fore­cast­ing Unit, the pop­u­la­tion of the Sun­shine Coast is ex­pected to grow by up to 2.9 per­cent over the next 10 years.

Its labour force grew 8 per­cent last year, while in­ter­na­tional and do­mes­tic vis­i­tors in­creased by 7 and 12 per­cent re­spec­tively for the year end­ing June, 2007.

Com­mer­cial prop­erty sales to­taled a record $ 158 mil­lion for the year end­ing March 2007. Re­tail also per­formed strongly with big deals in­clud­ing Melbourne’s Pel­i­cano Group pur­chas­ing Cen­tral One on Plaza Pa­rade, Ma­roochy­dore last De­cem­ber for $ 11m which in­cluded 1964sqm of re­tail space on the 5157sqm site.

In ad­di­tion, Caloun­dra’s city fringe con­tin­ues to achieve record prices with a 1760sqm site on Om­rah Ave sell­ing for $ 1.8 mil­lion.

The site pro­vided the op­por­tu­nity to re­de­velop 3520sqm of mixed use space.’’

Fur­ther north, a 203sqm re­tail shop in Noosa Hast­ings Street changed hands for $ 3.425 mil­lion, rep­re­sent­ing an ini­tial yield of ap­prox­i­mately 5.6 per­cent late last year.

And Kawana Wa­ters is belt­ing along with a ma­jor new road cor­ri­dor and new hospi­tal.

A ma­jor new tourist de­vel­op­ment in­clud­ing surf club is in progress. Stock­land also has a ma­jor de­vel­op­ment on the ta­ble. There’s also talk of a 15- storey tower as well as new sport­ing precinct. Real es­tate agents are also tout­ing Sippy Downs as a key area to watch.

New bench­marks are be­ing set on the in­dus­trial real es­tate front in Coolum with a num­ber of ware­house deals in the in­dus­trial area notch­ing up be­tween $ 275 per square me­tre and $ 280 per square me­tre. In Kunda Park, prices are av­er­ag­ing be­tween $ 300 and $ 350 per square me­tre.

Last Oc­to­ber, a 400sqm ware­house build­ing at Mof­fat Beach on a 675sqm site sold for $ 555,000 and an in­dus­trial prop­erty sold last De­cem­ber for $ 1,690,225, achiev­ing $ 425 per sqm. Ware­house rents are also push­ing on av­er­age above $ 100 per square me­tre in the Ma­roochy­dore and Caloun­dra ar­eas.

Col­lier’s Ms Swan­son says that th­ese two ar­eas stand to ben­e­fit greatly from new trans­port in­fra­struc­ture:

‘‘ It will end con­ges­tion be­tween Caloun­dra and Ma­roochy­dore. Caloun­dra is the cor­ri­dor of growth, it and Kawana Wa­ters.’’

Ms Swan­son notes also that build­ing ap­provals for Caloun­dra have risen sharply over the last few years:

‘‘ It’s the only area where there is avail­able land to be de­vel­oped not far from the coast.

This is all bring­ing growth and chang­ing the stig­mas with Caloun­dra and Kawana.’’

Re­ports from both places are that of a chang­ing de­mo­graphic from re­tirees and hol­i­days mak­ers to a new gen­er­a­tion of young fam­i­lies and pro­fes­sion­als. And it’s still pos­si­ble to buy a three- bed­room home in Kawana Wa­ters with­out en­ter­ing mort­gage hell.

With ba­sic prop­erty fun­da­men­tals in place the Sun­shine Coast looks to con­tinue to en­tice both in­di­vid­u­als and busi­nesses to its pros­per­ing coastal precincts,’’ says Ms Swan­son.

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