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Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast House Prices Surge as Remote Workers Swap Traffic for Sand

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  • Post published:May 3, 2021
  • Post category:News

Article originally published on Domain

The Sunshine Coast could soon become Queensland’s priciest place in which to buy a house after median prices surged to a record $770,000 following one of the strongest rates of annual growth across Australia.

House prices in the sun-drenched city rose a staggering 19.4 per cent – or $125,000 – over the past 12 months and an incredible 6.9 per cent in the March quarter alone, the Domain House Price Report for the March quarter revealed, with a near once-in-20-year boom ignited by roaring rates of interstate migration.

While the Sunshine Coast has continued to outperform the rest of the state for a few consecutive quarters, the report revealed South-east Queensland’s coastal hotspots continued to reap the benefits of an exodus from major Australian hubs, with the Gold Coast also clocking a record high median house price of $749,950, following a 4.2 per cent quarterly rise and 15.4 per cent annual jump.

Domain senior research analyst Nicola Powell said the figures demonstrated the compelling pull of lifestyle precincts within a new world where more and more Aussies worked remotely and could swap the concrete jungle for less traffic and more sand.

“The Gold and Sunshine coasts continue to be standout performers, although the pace of price acceleration appears to be easing on the Gold Coast,” Dr Powell said.

“South-east Queensland’s housing market has become increasingly popular with interstate buyers [and] the number of Australians relocating to Queensland from other states is at its highest level since 2006.

“Changed lifestyle preferences post-lockdown and the option of remote working has driven demand to south-east Queensland as buyers are drawn by affordability, liveability, climate and greater value for money.”

While the report revealed unit price growth continued to lag behind houses, with Gold Coast unit prices weakening by 1.2 per cent over the March quarter, the sheer strength of the Sunshine Coast market sparked an eye-watering 10.2 per cent unit price rise over the same period to $550,000.

It’s a figure that’s also up 18.3 per cent year on year, which equates to a whopping $85,000.

“This is the quickest rate of price increases in roughly 17 years,” Dr Powell said.

“The Sunshine Coast has been such a stable market for a number of years where it hasn’t seen major swings either way, so there are probably greater legs on this price rise … It [also] doesn’t surprise me that the Sunshine Coast outperforms the Gold Coast …  I think it’s probably the difference in lifestyle that people are looking for.”

Wayne Beck of McGrath Estate Agents Caloundra said while the Sunshine Coast was in the midst of a boom, he believed the long-underrated region was merely coming back into line with other Australian hotspots that had enjoyed significant growth over the past decade.

But while it’s a price correction he felt needed to happen, the buyer demand had placed enormous pressure on all aspects of the market, including rentals.

“For us, we go into a property, we appraise it, and two weeks later, it’s worth more,” Mr Beck said.

“When you look at rentals, we have zero occupancy levels … and it’s predominantly because a lot of people moved from down south where they’ve already sold, but our market doesn’t have enough supply to meet the demand, so they have to rent.

“Now, if you look through our caravan parks, they’re completely full because people are living there until they can buy.

“That’s going to push our market and sustain our market.”

Harcourts Coastal Group sales director Rob Forde said their team had clocked up an astonishing quarter on the Gold Coast with southern buyers from Victoria and NSW fuelling the price growth fire.

“The Gold Coast still offers great value for money, especially what you can get, and I think the kind of lifestyle it represents … you’ve also got a maturing cafe and restaurant culture, which has come a long way and, of course, there’s the weather we’ve got,” Mr Forde said.

“No market can keep going forever [with this kind of quarter-on-quarter growth] … but, I think, if you’re looking across a national level, it was undervalued previously, and buyers have just realised that.

“I think we will remain in a good market, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the growth we’ve seen in the past two quarters continue.”

Across the Gold Coast, Broadbeach and Burleigh recorded one of the biggest annual house price hikes, according to the data, with prices rising 27.1 per cent over the past year to pass $1 million, soaring from $945,000 to $1,201,500.

On the Sunshine Coast, the Noosa Hinterland stole the show after house prices soared by 25 per cent, year-on-year, from $640,000 to $800,000.