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Gold Coast property: Massive influx of Sydney residents to Gold Coast expected after lockdown ends

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  • Post published:August 23, 2021
  • Post category:News

Article originally published on Gold Coast Bulletin

THOUSANDS of lockdown-wearing Sydneysiders are preparing to make a Steve McQueen-style “great escape” from NSW to the Gold Coast once the state’s lockdown finally ends.

Mums and dads are joining the stampede to exit the economically devastated southern capital, with Australia’s leading demographer tipping “all roads lead to the Gold Coast”.

NSW shattered records with 830 new cases of Covid on Sunday and three deaths. Victoria recorded 65 fresh instances after now spending more than 200 days in lockdown.

Queensland recorded no new cases and is lockdown free.

Real estate inquiries from Sydney have more than doubled since the state’s lockdown began in June, with agents reporting an uptick in Victorians eager to move since it returned to lockdown a fortnight ago.

Demographer Bernard Salt said over-65s and families were tiring of shutdowns and looking to the Gold Coast for a better lifestyle.

“We call these people the vespas – virus escapees who are escaping from the lockdowns and all roads lead to the Gold Coast,” he said.

“Like Steve McQueen, they’re going to be on the border making the great escape.

“For these people, the narrative of life used to be living in the eastern suburbs of Sydney and travel overseas but now they say they want a bolthole in Australia and life’s too short. Covid has brought them a moment’s of clarity.”

The Gold Coast and southeast Queensland were direct beneficiaries of Victoria’s extended 2020 lockdown, with a dramatic population shift northward.

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data in June showed Victoria’s population fell by 12,700 while the number of interstate migration to Queensland increased by 30,000, or two per cent.

Star Entertainment Group is among those Sydney-based companies experiencing the population shift.

Star Entertainment Group CEO Matt Bekier. Picture: Richard Walker
Star Entertainment Group CEO Matt Bekier. Picture: Richard Walker

CEO Matt Bekier said staff had previously been resistant to moving to its Queensland hotels and casinos before the pandemic.

“We have so many of our people from Sydney trying to get transferred up to Queensland,” he said. “We are moving our head office to Queens Wharf in Brisbane and we thought it would be hard to get people to move to Queensland but now everyone wants to go.”

The population shift also set off the biggest property boom the Gold Coast has seen in 30 years.

The Gold Coast recorded an astonishing year’s worth of new apartment sales in the first three months of 2021, a new report by real estate firm Colliers last week.

The renewed development activity is focused on the future route of the light rail between Broadbeach and the border, particularly Burleigh and Palm Beach.

Colliers Gold Coast residential director David Higgins said his firm had received a significant number of inquiries from Sydney residents in recent months and had sold 10 properties sight-unseen to southern residents in just the past fortnight.

Much of the interest has been focused on the city’s central region as well as residential houses in the north.

“The biggest group of people is not the rich, it’s the people with a price point of between $600,000 and $1.2 million,” he said.

“They love the Gold Coast and it remains very affordable for them.

“We have less congestion, more sunshine, improving infrastructure and so many of the people tell us they don’t want to be stuck in this Covid disaster anymore – they just want to get on with their lives.”