A cloudless blue sky and bright sunshine greeted us upon our arrival into Coolangatta airport in the Gold Coast. It has been 2 years since I last step foot on Australian soil but the beautiful weather at least has not changed. Memories of good times spent on the Gold Coast during semester breaks from the university came back to me in a wave of nostalgia.
We were back in Aussie to meet with old and new developers, check on completed projects and look for interesting new projects in both Brisbane and Melbourne. Without further delay, we packed into the car and were on our way to Brisbane.
As we drove up into Surfer’s Paradise, we caught sight of the newest mode of transport in the Gold Coast, the GoldlinQ light rail. The light rail winds its way from Griffith University to Mainbeach and Broadbeach. With future stages slated to extend the network to the Helensvale rail station which links commuters up to Brisbane and down to Coolangatta airport, it stands poised to be the best way to travel along the Gold Coast.
With many infrastructure projects being proposed, the proposal that stands out from an economic standpoint is a new integrated resort and cruise terminal proposal for the Broadwater Marine project submitted by ASF Consortium. The consortium is projected to fund $600m worth of infrastructure and create 5,000 new jobs during construction and 15,000 new jobs upon completion.
But perhaps one of the most telling signs of rejuvenation are the few cranes that are starting to come up after an absence of a number of years. With developers already looking to build new residential projects, this would seem to indicate that the oversupply that was prevalent during 2009 has been mostly absorbed by the market. With the 2018 Commonwealth Games just around the corner, there is significant interest in the Gold Coast region from developers and investors alike.
The Gold Coast region will definitely be a market to look out for in the near future as interest picks up and more developments start to appear on the market. However, lessons learnt from the last market downturn still apply strongly with proper sized apartments to be picked over small service apartments.
It was an uneventful drive up the M1 up to Brisbane. I was pleasantly surprised when I caught sight of the city. While the CBD skyline has not changed much, some the inner city suburbs were almost unrecognizable from just a few years ago. The iconic buildings of South Brisbane, Queensland Museum, Queensland Performing Arts Centre and Brisbane Convention Centre, are now accompanied by new 20 story residential apartment projects. This is in contrast to a few years ago, where once the tallest building was only around 10 stories high.
Most surprisingly most of the new developments were not targeted in the CBD itself but in the surrounding inner city suburbs. This is quite unlike Melbourne where the majority of residential developments are built within the CBD. Here in Brisbane, the cranes were most prevalent in the suburbs of Newstead and Fortitude Valley with 4 to 5 new projects each. While there is a still a dwelling shortfall in Brisbane, investors need to be more circumspect when dealing with where to invest in Brisbane.
The population of Brisbane has not reached a level approaching that of Sydney or Melbourne. Furthermore, there is still ample land available for development in the inner city. Coupled with the fact that even though the Brisbane CBD accounts for a significant portion of Queensland’s GDP, it is still not as significant a contributor as compared to Sydney or Melbourne CBD due to other significant industry contributions from mining and agriculture in Queensland. This can cause an uneven growth rise across suburbs, which makes picking the correct suburb in Brisbane more crucial. I had a few reunions with friends who have stayed on in Brisbane after their graduation and the conversation always seem to lead to where would be an ideal place to stay in Brisbane. Many of us, including myself, stayed near the university when we were studying there. However, most of my friends are now working in the CBD. This is why they were moving out of their current homes in Toowong and Indooroopilly to find accomodation closer to the city. The premier suburbs of Hamilton and Ascott are always talked about but are nigh on unattainable for fresh graduates at this point.
One suburb that is always being mentioned is Woolloongabba. Situated between South Brisbane and Kangaroo Point and around 5 km to the city, it is an inner city suburb that has somehow has flown under the radar until quite recently. Major rejuvenation plans for the suburb are already underway and future improvements with the Bus and Train project (BaT) that will provide a new link from the south to north Brisbane being the flagship project. This is a suburb that we have had significant interests in since earlier this year.
Wolloongabba’s local heritage landmark definitely has to be the iconic Brisbane Cricket Ground or more locally known simply as the Gabba. The Gabba is rich with sporting history as many of Brisbane’s major sporting events being held there over the years. Many local hangout spots like the Pearl café and my personal favorite Italian restaurant, 1889 Enoteca are located in the shopping and dining areas on Logan road near the Gabba. During the weekend, the Wolloongabba antique centre attracts crowds hunting for antiques.
With more jobs moving into the CBD, it seems almost inevitable that apartment style living will become more prevalent. The shift towards this kind of lifestyle can already be seen among the younger demographic group.
However, the Australian dream of one day owning house and land remains strong not only among the locals, but also with immigrants as well. Many immigrants migrate to Australia with their families in tow and having lived in apartments most of their lives are keen to own their own house and land. Immigrants to Queensland are no exception especially when considering that comparative house and land packages are priced much more competitively in Brisbane as compared to Melbourne or Sydney.
Let’s have a quick look at Brisbane’s future landscape. With the international spotlight on Brisbane through the G20 summit and the upcoming 2018 Commonwealth Games, Brisbane is finally getting more global recognition. There is strong local interest not only from Brisbane developers and investors but also those from Melbourne and Sydney due to the comparatively competitive prices between the capital cities. With strong economic fundamentals shifting in favor of Queensland, it is my prediction that Brisbane will outperform the other capital cities in terms of price growth in the next few years.
I felt that this was a very fruitful trip with many new friends and partners made. On a personal level it was great catching up with my friends who have decided to stay on and getting their perspective on the changing Brisbane market. Brisbane is one market that is near and dear to me as Melbourne is to my colleague Colin.
I hope that you have enjoyed my article and please feel free to drop me an email if there is anything you would like to ask. Look forward to our next article by our Client Service Manager Liz.
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