Gold Coast heats up with $700m apartment projects

The Naia apartment project at Mermaid Beach.

Large apartment projects worth about $700 million are in train on the Gold Coast as potential buyers descend on the glitter strip for the summer holidays. 

Peak buying periods are also expected to include Chinese New Year and the upcoming Commonwealth Games, and a separate mega-auction day for established properties will be held at the end of January.

The interest in southeast Queensland comes as buyers look for alternatives to the expensive Sydney and Melbourne housing markets, with Sydney prices soaring more than 70% since early 2012.

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Despite concerns about an oversupply of new units in Brisbane, developers highlight the local tailwinds for the Gold Coast market such as the Commonwealth Games in April and the trend to holidaying in Australia rather than offshore.

The design focus is also shifting to better quality owner-occupier stock rather than investor-grade or holiday-letting product, allowing buyers to enjoy their home or holiday residence in peace.

There’s been no new stock coming to the market to meet the increase in demand

Some of the biggest new projects launched in December include the third tower of the $162 million Cambridge Residences at Robina, the $90 million Naia project at Mermaid Beach and $80 million Elysian at Broadbeach. The $250 million Chevron One on Chevron Island will launch mid-January.

This follows the $200 million Markwell Residences in Surfers Paradise launched in 2016.

Graham Goldman, director of Eastview Australia, which is delivering the Naia project for Chinese developer Jun Xin Ocean­scape, expects features of the 90-unit project such as its rooftop pool and club to draw owner-occupiers.

Gold Coast apartments development

About $700m of new apartments will soon be ready for sale on the Gold Coast.

“Investor units seem to go OK but if you wanted to get a point of difference — something like that, that’s a bit better quality (draws interest),” Goldman says.

“And having minimum three months leasing, so it takes away the holiday letting, that people can have quiet enjoyment in a great location near the beachside.”

The project, designed by TVS Architects and being sold by The Agency, will be priced at about $8000 per square metre, which Goldman says will be relatively affordable to buyers from Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne.

The Commonwealth Games will show the area on the world stage, while the trend of Australians holidaying domestically will also support demand, he says.

Investor units seem to go OK but if you wanted to get a point of difference — something like that, that’s a bit better quality (draws interest)

He sees families buying holiday apartments, renting it out for most of the year and keeping it to use themselves for a few weeks.

“It can pay for itself and hopefully there’s some capital growth,” he says.

Meanwhile, keen buyers are also expected at the mega-auction of established homes on the last weekend of January, known as The Event, which is seen as a test for the Gold Coast market.

Ray White Surfers Paradise chief executive Andrew Bell expects stock levels to be tight, with demand from locals and Sydney and Melbourne investors who are finding the east coast capitals “quite exorbitant”.

He says the new apartment towers are overdue. “There’s been no new stock coming to the market to meet the increase in demand,” Bell says.

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