Gold Coast Set to Glitter

Date Released - December 15, 2013.

The future looks very bright for the building industry on the Gold Coast according to a recent think tank of industry and government experts.

Hosted by Master Builders the annual ‘Outlook and Opportunities’ event, held at the Lone Star Tavern, was a platform to identify key trends.

The panel debated local issues, such as planning approval processes and reducing infrastructure charges, as well as providing advice on how to tap into key projects and opportunities happening in those areas.

The evening was compéred by John Crittall from Master Builders and included Councillor William Owen- Jones, Sarah Webb, Property Writer for the Gold Coast Bulletin and QM Properties Sales Manager Damien Ross.

QM has extensive experience on the Gold Coast, with current projects including the notable, Coomera Retreat in Upper Coomera.

“The fact that at the Councillor Owen- Jones turned up to represent the Council at the roadshow says it all about the Gold Coast City Council,” said Damien.

Councillor William Owen-Jones has been very motivated to reduce the red tape that holds back property development and the building sector. It all started with a personal experience that he endured a few years ago.

In his previous life as an accountant, Cr Owen-Jones once wanted to simply divide a large block of his land into two, but was refused by Council Officers.

“It took him 5 years to get it through council,” said Damien, “so he became very interested in running for Council to solve these problems that the building sector face on a daily basis.”

As a former numbers man, no doubt he also saw the waste of resources, so was integral to the draft town planning scheme for the Gold Coast Council dropping from 450 pages to 180 pages.

QM Properties enjoy an excellent relationship with the Gold Coast City Council, going back over 10 years.

“The panel agreed that the very proactive attitude of the Gold Coast Council was making a difference,” Damien said. .

All of the panel praised Gold Coast City Council Construction Kick Start Program which has reignited the market.

“This program has made a mammoth difference,” said Damien.

The councillor presented very positive figures on new developments, which were echoed in the latest figure released state wide by Master Builders a few days later.

A forecast of 32,000 new housing starts along with solid renovation activity is expected in 2013-2014, according to Master Builders annual Building industry outlook.

“However, despite 2012-2013 levels remaining below the decade average, there is growing optimism that the residential sector has bottomed and a recovery is now underway. This view is supported by recent building approvals data, which has gradually trended upwards since the decade lows of late 2011,” said Paul Bidwell, Deputy Executive Director of Master Builders. .

“QM’s interests on the Gold Coast are at the Northern Corridor‘’ said Damien

“The Gold Coast has really run out of residential land, except in the North where we hold a large number of approvals,” said Damien.

QM is developing Coomera Retreat, with 100 more lots to be released over the next 12 months.

Upcoming developments include, Gainsborough Park, near Coomera, with over 600 lots including residential, medium density and retail, as well as Coomera Rivers, both to be released soon.

Builder Shane Somers who works mainly in Hope Island and Sanctuary Cove agreed that the Northern Gold Coast is the hot spot.

“The public’s expectations of a housing development have risen dramatically,” said Damien.

“We now create public spaces like parks, landscaping and bikeways but someone has to pay for them, and the buyers don’t want it to be them.’’

“Councils like Gold Coast City Council are honouring their local government election promises and rewriting town plans, which frees up the building economy.”

“Investment interest has certainly risen, up 45 per cent since last year, although at QM we really don’t have any investor pitched developments at the Gold Coast.” said Damien.

One of the invited guests commented on the trend to renovation, with many consumers choosing this as a low risk way to add value to their home. She said that renovation was also driving the recovery, particularly in the older areas of the region.

Master Builders anticipated the renovation market will remain solid in 2013-2014, with high transaction costs, like stamp duty, and the uncertain economic environment and fears about job security like to encourage some home owners to renovate rather than upgrade to a new home.

The positive outlook was given another confidence boost event with more Master Builders figures released in early December.

Representing the Real Estate industry, Brad Duncalfe from Ray White Commercial commented that they were seeing more ‘high end’ businesses as the year progressed.

“Queensland housing finance commitments rose again this month from 9,606 to 9,635 (seasonally adjusted),” said Paul

“The forum was an opportunity for local building industry participants to hear what’s in store for the industry over the coming years.’’ said Damien.

“Hopefully the drop in the Gold Coast figures released by Master Builders is a minor glitch,” he said.

“We feel that the Commonwealth Games injection in interest and the Councils Kick-start will see the Gold Coast lunge forward,” said Damien.