The GC

PHOTO: Overseas demand for Gold Coast real estate was strong before the pandemic hit. (ABC Gold Coast: Dominic Cansdale )

Queensland’s border is once again shut but the Gold Coast property market continues to surge, driven in large part by interstate buyers unable to visit the properties they are purchasing.

While it is still unclear whether there will be a staged reopening to certain countries, Tourism and Trade Minister Dan Tehan yesterday flagged that the international border will be opened to some travellers by Christmas.

The announcement appears to be mostly directed towards vaccinated Australians at this stage.

Gold Coast

Developers running out of stock in Gold Coast buyer frenzy

But given the Gold Coast property market has been strong despite border closures, the eventual return of overseas buyers, while still uncertain, could drive up demand even further.

More than 50 residential projects with an estimated value of $4.8 billion are under construction across the city, according to research from Colliers International.

Colliers Gold Coast director in charge Steven King said international borders were “the number one question”.

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A large residential tower at sunset.
Demand for new apartments reached record highs on the Gold Coast in 2021.(ABC Gold Coast: Dominic Cansdale)

Demand already high

Urbis research shows that in the June quarter of this year, international buyers represented just four per cent of the Gold Coast market for new apartments — a far cry from the pre-pandemic figure of 25 per cent.

But record new apartment sales still persisted, driven in part by interstate buyers, who represented a 21 per cent share — and low interest rates.

The intensity of interest from interstate developers, especially for the new, high-end projects, is something Mr King says he has not seen in 20 years.

“A lot of people from Melbourne and Sydney always wanted to come to the Gold Coast,” he said.

“COVID has probably brought forward those plans many years, where they’re [buying] now as opposed to when they retire.”

A tower block rising high into a sky of deepest azure.
More high-rises are being built along the increasingly expensive beachside suburbs. (ABC Gold Coast: Dominic Cansdale)

According to Urbis, a record 742 new apartments were sold in the March quarter of 2021, with weighted average prices between $1 million and $1.3m in central and southern suburbs.

While Mr King said that demand meant “prices have got to go up”, the Gold Coast was still more affordable than some other places.

“In Sydney’s CBD we’ve seen prices in excess of $70,000 per square metre,” he said.