Cairns real estate principal, Ray Murphy, says demand is outstripping supply in his region, particularly in location within 25 km of the city.
“Areas from Gordonvale to Palm Cove and out to Kuranda are the worst affected,” Mr Murphy said, “and especially properties in the mid-range, $400,000 to $600,000, which tend to be the four-bedroom/two-bathroom homes, often with pool.”
He suggests a forced saving pattern as a result of lack of travel opportunities, a confidence that interest rates will stay low, and the fact that Cairns, as a regional city, is already very well-known and recognized for its amenities and infrastructure plus numerous attractions.
“This time last year we had 300 listings, we currently have around 200. Furthermore, buyers are cashed up and making quick decisions.
“At the end of last year, I said that 30 per cent of buyers hadn’t set foot in the property they bought, and that has definitely increased.
“Many properties are selling sight unseen, other than virtually, subject to building and pest inspections. At RE/MAX Real Estate Services, we have an inhouse photographer/videographer producing quality images and we see how that builds buyer confidence in making extensive use of our professional virtual tours.”
While there are people moving into the region, Mr Murphy says many locals are upgrading because of the low interest rates and the savings they see building because they are not spending it elsewhere.
He says that while he wouldn’t call housing shortage in relation to listings and sales severe, this is the case in rentals, which is at less than one per cent vacancy.
“Cairns has always had high rental yield, but currently rents are going up by eight to ten per cent with each new lease.” He says first home buyers were additional competition for other buyer and investor groups. “Government incentives have encouraged first timers to build, but there are not that many new builds.
“We saw a rise in land purchases, but first home buyers are still buying established homes, often because these are the locations they want to live in, the buy-in price works for them and they are happy to make their own improvements.”
He said local council was encouraging people to subdivide in an effort to bring new stock to the market, but new housing doesn’t happen overnight.
“In the meanwhile, people have to have a roof over their heads. If they want that to be in this region, they have to rent and face competition and rising prices there because rentals are in short supply.”
Contact for media:
Ray Murphy, Broker Owner, RE/MAX Real Estate Services – M. 0408 079 340
Lyn Cox, Public Relations, RE/MAX Australia M. 0418 793 096
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