A weekend getaway to Noosa was far more happening than I expected. Could this downtrodden market be the next best thing to heaven on earth?
By Lauren Day
There’s so much to love about Noosa. The lukewarm water in the month of March, the delicious breakfast at Bistro C, people watching at 10 Hastings Street (you know the one, with the chairs all facing the street) and the gorgeous national park with something I never appreciated before – a cement path to push a pram along!
This place is paradise. It’s where you don’t mind paying $11.50 for an ice cream because you know you’re in Noosa and it doesn’t bother you that people always seem to drive really slowly down the main street. It means you’re on holidays.
Even the crazy long line at the surf club is fun because you’re overlooking what is surely one of the most beautiful beaches in Australia. The waves are safe for the kiddies and still big enough for the teens to be considered an acceptable surf spot. Less fake tan than the Gold Coast (sort of), more flesh covered down the main street than Bondi (also debatable).
This time, there was one big difference I noticed since about 18 months ago. There were definitely less shops with ‘for lease’ signs and noticeably more people eating out and spending. In the shop windows of real estate agents, more properties were under contract (or at least it appeared that way) and talking to some of the agents, they reported a definite increase in both enquiries and sales. Things seemed to be, well, ‘humming’. Perhaps not enough to say ‘buzzing’ but definitely more than ‘boring’.
Is this most amazing part of the world finally sought after again? I know so many people living in Brisbane who plan to retire in Noosa. It’s the equivalent of wanting to move to Port Macquarie or Coffs Harbour for those in Sydney. I can’t help but wonder, as the baby boomers retire, will property become even more popular in Noosa? I expect the demand is near Hastings Street and the beach, and probably for smaller accommodation. With interest rates so low, a quick search on realestate.com.au and you’ll quickly realise many of these properties can now pay for themselves. Who would have thought – this ultra expensive area in 2007 is now actually cash flow neutral in some areas. Okay, it might not have huge population growth like Sydney or massive road and infrastructure upgrades like Brisbane, but as I sipped on a skim cappuccino in my French-laced chair, none of that seemed to matter. It appears my froth-filled findings weren’t a coincidence either.
RP Data reports the Sunshine Coast had the highest change in value behind the Gold Coast over the past 12 months, out of the 30 most populated regional councils.
The median house price increased by 8.4 per cent up to $460,000.
And SQM Research managing director Louis Christopher is also bullish when it comes to the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast.
“The Sunshine Coast is starting to look better, most of the holiday locations are starting to look a bit better,” he told me this week.
“Noosa was in a lot of trouble in 2010 and 2011, with too much stock on the market. It wasn’t fun to be a property owner back then. You had falls in excess of 20 per cent but with the market now, stock on market listings are falling and vacancy rates are tightening. Asking prices are starting to rise. We’re confident about the Sunshine Coast, the market is going into recovery.”
Are you telling me there’s an exclusive location where prices are actually affordable, 20 per cent less than a few years ago and now potentially rising? Where baby boomers want to retire and the vacancy rate is decreasing? Where you can swim in the water, even in autumn, order muesli on the beach, go for a run in the park and have a champagne as the sun sets and the little lights wrapped around the trees in the main street start to glow? Now that’s what I call heaven on earth.
What about you? Have you found heaven on earth? Or do you consider coastal locations bad investment areas? We’d love to hear your story!