Mar­ket poised for an Easter re­bound

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Rear View -

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.

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