In an article from the Courier Mail, Jan 18 2014
With new infrastructure projects on the way and a huge increase in building approvals, investors and owner-occupiers alike are displaying renewed interest in the Sunshine Coast property market, writes Melanie Burgess.
NEW infrastructure earmarked for the Sunshine Coast has been welcomed by homeowners and developers anticipating a positive knock-on effect for the property market.
The region, which relied heavily on its tourism industry was hit hard by the global financial crisis and real estate values dropped but plans for diversified economy and upgraded facilities now have the future looking bright.
Place advisory director Lachlan Walker said the area was already beginning to transform and flourish.
“The Sunshine Coast is becoming a property hotspot with huge growth potential,” Mr Walker said.
“For the savvy investor, buying into this area is a chance to take advantage of renewed infrastructure, the emerging luxury market, and the subsequent increase in buyers with cash.”
Housing Institute of Australia figures show building approvals for the Sunshine Coast more than doubled between November 2012 and November 2013, jumping from 132 to 330.
HIA senior economist Shane Garrett said activity had dipped in 2012 but was now on the increase.
Real Estate Institute of Queensland Sunshine Coast zone chair Lloyd Edwards said home values were now back around their 2008 levels.
“We’re hearing stories where the actual turnover has increased by one or two times,” Mr Edwards said.
“That’s across the board but it will always start at the bottom.”
Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson said new infrastructure for the region would help diversify the economy and boost employment, and named a medical precinct at Kawana and an airport expansion as the most important projects.
The medical precinct will include the private hospital, which was completed in November, and a public hospital due to open in late 2016.
According to council estimates the public facility alone will provide 6000 jobs by 2021 and treat 10,000 patients annually.
“There will be many people who no longer need to travel to Brisbane for specialist treatment once that hospital is fully constructed,” Cr Jamieson said.
Mr Edwards said it would boost the Coast’s strong retiree and semi-retiree market and promote development around the facility.
He said nearby project Moko was already snapped up off-the-plan by investors and staff working in the precinct.
The planned airport expansion, which is currently seeking investors from the private sector, is also expected to boost the region.
All going to plan, the $400 million project, which includes a new international runway, would be complete by 2020, create 5000 direct jobs and inject about $1.6 billion into the economy between 2015 and 2050.
“A longer, wider runway would accommodate larger aircraft and make us an easier destination for the international market, particularly the Asia Pacific area,” Cr Jamieson said.
“It’s probably the thing that will create the most difference to the economic profile of the Sunshine Coast.
“The last several years have been hard … and the people appreciate there needs to be a level of development if we are to make progress.”
Other key projects set to begin construction this year are the Maroochydore City Centre, which includes new retail space, and entertainment centre, transit plaza and 4000 new dwellings; and the $350 million Sunshine Plaza expansion.
A solar farm in Valdora and major residential developments Caloundra South and Palm View are also in their planning and approval stages.
“Ultimately, housing (value) is a factor of supply and demand and demand is largely determined by people’s confidence in the future,” Cr Jamieson said.
“I think all these projects will give great heart to investors on the Sunshine Coast.”
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