Market poised for an Easter rebound
THERE’S something about Noosa that tends to grab people almost immediately. In fact, with its perfect blue skies, all- year warmth, laid- back locals, turquoise waters and white sands, it has that quality so rare in real estate of being able to inspire the impulse buy.
So it makes sense then that real estate agents in that neck of the woods are among the handful of people right now in Queensland who find rain depressing.
According to co- principal Peter Butt, Richardson and Wrench Noosa reported a fairly ordinary start to the month of January. For the first three weeks, holiday makers filled out the restaurants and bars, when they weren’t fiddling with in- house DVD players, while the rain came down in sheets: We’ve suffered because of weather and rain patterns.’’
Come week four, people were rummaging for their swimwear and sunscreen as they dashed out to grab the first rays of sunshine. And many people pulled out their chequebooks while they were at it. ‘‘ With tourists we get an influx of buyers,’’ says Mr Butt.
He says that within eight days of the skies clearing, the agency’s sales board jumped from $ 8 million to $ 38 million: ‘‘ Since then, there have been strong sales consum- mated.’’ January highlights for Richardson and Wrench Noosa include a $ 7.6 million sale on Hastings Street Beachfront, a $ 6 million sale on the Esplanade on Sunshine Beach, a $ 5 million plus sale on the Hastings Park penthouse that was auctioned earlier in January. A number of middle to upper- middle market properties sold; a waterfront apartment on Noosa Sound for $ 1.75 million, a $ 4 million home on Noosa Sound.
Mr Butt notes that investment units also surged in activity towards the end of the month with a strong number of French Quarter, Sebel and other non- beachfront apartments finding buyers. The highlight of the investment sales was a one- bedroom penthouse at Netanya selling for well over $ 2 million.
Hopes are now up for good activity over the Easter holiday period.
‘‘ The next test will be Easter holiday period,’’ notes Mr Butt. ‘‘ Some people contemplating selling will save their properties to go on the market until Easter and other busy periods.’’
Properties scheduled for auction include a four- bedroom beachfront apartment on Hastings St Beachfront: Fairshore apartment 39. On Sunshine Beach there’s a three- bedroom beachfront home in Arakoon Crescent. Other properties include a villa at Noosa Springs that fronts onto the golf course, as well as a lovely hinterland home. Still, sales volumes remain down in Noosa over the last year. Mr Butt reckons it’s because people are treasuring their little plots of land more these days.
‘‘ The reason we’re down on sales numbers is because no one wants to give away their piece of paradise unless they can trade up,’’ he says. ‘‘ And there’s less room to trade up than there was last year.’
Prices in Noosa and alternative locations have all increased over the last 12 months.
Mr Butt notes that Noosa is now experiencing something of a renovation frenzy as people look to consolidate their investments. Either that or pull down old dwellings to make way for bold new architectural statements.
Still, he reports continued buyer interest in Noosa Sound, Sunshine Beach and also residential apartments in Hastings street.
A number of major new developments are under construction, including the Viridian, The Sanctuary and Noosa Drive and Settlers Cove.
Richardson and Wrench Noosa also operates a substantial holiday letting busi- ness. Mr Butt estimates that around 30 percent of Noosa’s population are full- time residents, with around 60 percent being tourists and absentee owners. This is relatively unchanged from a year ago. He predicts that the next 10 years, however, will see a very different story emerge.
‘‘ I think Noosa is becoming more of a long- term destination for families and for the next generation,’’ he says.
‘‘ There’s a drive to do property rather than position that’s reflected in the fact of fewer sales. Confidence is strong and dollar investment is still strong.’’
Activity at the very high end in Noosa remains strong. ‘‘ We are selling a number of significant properties, such as on Noosa Sound at around nine to 10 million,’’ Mr Butt notes.
Australian songwriter Michael Chapman recently bought the famous Cintamani property at the foot of Cooray Mountain for $ 8 million. The 92- acre property was once owned by tennis star Thomas Muster.
Other big sales of late include a 3br apartment in Noosa Court which fetched $ 8.2 million, $ 7.5 million for a beach front house in Sunshine Beach. Several other contracts worth over $ 7 million are in negotiations.