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Buyers Fleeing Southern States Snap up Queensland Properties Sight Unseen

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  • Post published:August 13, 2020
  • Post category:News


QUEENSLAND is in hot demand with COVID refugees from southern states flocking to the sunshine state – some without even inspecting their future home.

Victorian and New South Wales buyer interest in Queensland has risen 18 per cent in the past six months.

Fresh data from reveals 4 per cent are ready to buy now, 14 per cent are considering a move, and 22 per cent are simply browsing, possibly considering a longer-term lifestyle change.

It comes as the nation’s top social experts say COVID-19 has accelerated interstate migration into Queensland and predict even more Sydney-siders and Melbournites will make the move to the Sunshine State, once border restrictions are eased.

Leading demographer Bernard Salt said the pandemic has shifted people’s priorities about where they wanted to live.

“I do think there will be a new driver in the 2020s … you’ll have people who feel uncomfortable with the congestion of living in the city whereas previously the congestion of the big city was seen as a positive, a drawcard,” he said.

“The bright lights have dimmed a bit and they don’t have the same allure now that we’ve had full exposure to a pandemic.

“A lot of people have decided to reassess their lifestyle and their location, and Queensland looks pretty good on both of those fronts, in terms of affordability, climate, security and non-congested lifestyle.”

Coastal locations are at the top of shopper’s wishlists, with eight of the top 10 most searched suburbs on the Gold Coast and Surfers Paradise the most popular.

Tolemy Stevens of Harcourts Coastal on the Gold Coast said that while interstate inquiries had always been strong, volumes had gone “through the roof” in the past three months.

“I have never seen this level of demand, specifically from Melbourne and Sydney buyers, with such genuine voracity to secure properties yesterday,” he said.

“These aren’t people who are toying with the idea of buying. These are people coming to me and saying, ‘I have $1-2 million or $4-5 million, find me a property and I’ll buy it’.”

In Brisbane Judi O’Dea of Ray White Paddington said her level of inquiries from southern states had doubled during COVID-19 and properties were changing hands in all suburbs at all price points.

This house in Koppa Place in Pelican Waters on the Sunshine Coast this week sold to a Victorian buyer for $829,000. Selling agency McGrath received as many inquiries from interstate buyers as local interest.

“I’ve got clients from Sydney, Melbourne, Los Angeles and Hong Kong,” Ms O’Dea said. “They’re all trying to get to Brisbane and are all chasing as large a land size as possible because they have been holed up in apartments, and they are fed up,” she said.

“Brisbane offers them something that is affordable. What has become apparent is that anything on a sizeable block that is family friendly is selling like hot cakes.”

The phenomenon is happening across the state, according to Scott Louis of McGrath estate agency on the Sunshine Coast, who recently sold two homes in Caloundra for record prices to separate Victorian buyers.

“People are realising they should live the life they want to live now, and so are speeding up their life plans, he said.

“Lifestyle properties are especially popular, with hinterland acreages or houses on larger blocks sought after. Making a lifestyle change has always been a thing, but COVID has accelerated that, especially for those coming from Sydney and Melbourne.”

Sarah Hackett, lead agent at Place Bulimba in Brisbane, said that the pandemic effect was benefiting Queensland’s property market, and would likely continue for some months.

“We have had a huge increase in inquiries from interstate. The most recent lockdown has slowed things slightly, because people can’t come to view properties, but once it passes and people can travel again, that is when we’ll see a flurry of sales,” Mrs Hackett said.

However, closed borders have done little to hamper some southerners’ desire to secure a place in the sun, with many happy to purchase online or sight unseen.

“Recently I have had five sales between $1 million and $4 million where the buyers from Sydney and Melbourne bought without inspecting the properties, and three were all cash, no finance,” Mr Stevens said. “Forget about the prices, it’s all about the volume.”


Narelle and John Cartwright bought their house in Kalinga sight unseen before relocating from Sydney in the height of COVID.

Narelle and John Cartwright from Sydney bought their home at 62 Henry Street in the Brisbane suburb of Kalinga sight unseen in the middle of the pandemic.

“We recognised that if we sold our place in Sydney we could get a brand new home in Brisbane, with access to so many different things and with a reduced mortgage, which has allowed me to cut back on my work hours. Now I can fit in with the children, clean the house, go to the gym, go for a walk and just have the lifestyle that I could never have had in Sydney,” Mrs Cartwright said.

While buying a property in the middle of COVID-19 was a daunting prospect she said it wasn’t enough to derail the family’s plans.

“I had great confidence in our buyer’s agent Jordan Navybox of Cohen Handler and he put me on Facetime and so we felt quite confident. Now we’re here, we couldn’t be happier.

“If I can give advice to anyone thinking of moving for a better lifestyle, it would be just do it. It’s not worth wasting time waiting.”

With international travel off the cards, wealthy southern buyers not interested in making a permanent move north, are grabbing beachfront properties to use as a holiday destination.

Mr Stevens said these high-net worth buyers don’t care where they buy as long as it is beachfront, although areas such as Noosa, the Gold Coast and Byron Bay are hot spots.

“Anywhere from Main Beach to Palm Beach is sizzling,” he said. “Buyers are trending towards the blue-chip areas and they’re not interested in returns, they just want a lockup and leave holiday home.

“They see these destinations as not only a good place to come on holiday, but a safe haven for their money.”


Matt and Kim Ely recently sold their Little Mountain home to a Victorian buyer sight unseen for a record price. Photograph: Lachie Millard

Estate agent goes doorknocking to find sellers

They say lightning doesn’t strike twice but for one Sunshine Coast real estate agent that’s exactly what happened.

During the pandemic Scott Louis of McGrath estate agency sold a property in Little Mountain to keen Victorian family, but left behind a swath of disappointed potential buyers.

To keep them happy and his sales record on a roll Mr Louis took matters into his own hands, doorknocking the street, looking for another potential vendor.

“I tried the house next door, because it looked like the type of property my clients were after,” Mr Louis said.

He couldn’t believe his luck when Matt and Kim Ely, the owners of a nearby Casuarina Drive home, opened the door and invited him in.

Mr Ely said the request wasn’t a complete surprise to him.

“For years I had joked that this house would sell to someone who knocked on our front door and low and behold …”

Mr Ely, who owns a building company, Ely Projects, had not long ago finished a renovation of the house that he, his wife Kim, and their four children have lived in for 12 years. “We were thinking of maybe selling later in the year, but when Scott knocked on the door, with the promise of a long list of genuine buyers, we decided to just go ahead,” he said.

The house was put in front of six interested groups and sold to a Victorian family, sight unseen, for a suburb record of $1.25 million.

Mr Louis said Queensland properties offer interstate buyers excellent value for money. “To get a house like this in Melbourne, on almost 2896sq m and 10 minutes from the coast, you would be paying $3 million to $4 million,” he said.

Southerners seeking a sea change or a holiday home can pick up this five-bedroom waterfront home at 17 Southern Cross Drive, Surfers Paradise through Kollosche estate agency


1 Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast

2 Hope Island, Gold Coast

3 Buderim, Sunshine Coast

4 Palm Beach, Gold Coast

5 Coolangatta, Gold Coast

6 Broadbeach Waters, Gold Coast

7 Robina, Gold Coast

8 Maroochydore, Sunshine Coast

9 Southport, Gold Coast

10 Broadbeach, Gold Coast

11 Peregian Beach, Sunshine Coast

12 Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast

13 Coolum Beach, Sunshine Coast

14 Coomera, Gold Coast

15 Burleigh Waters, Gold Coast

16 Noosa Heads, Sunshine Coast

17 Labrador, Gold Coast

18 Noosaville, Sunshine Coast

19 Tugun, Gold Coast

20 Runaway Bay, Gold Coast