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Australia’s Fastest Developed City Of The Century

Australia’s Fastest Developed City Of The Century
June 7, 2022 Propertyology Head of Research and REIA Hall of Famer, Simon Pressley

As recently as 50-years ago, it was an uninspiring, wide-open, sleepy region with limited infrastructure and a population of less than 100,000. Now it is Australia’s 6th largest city (home to 650,000 people) and a globally popular metropolis which frequently hosts major events.

Just a 1-hour drive south of the Queensland capital city, Gold Coast is a large region with a 40-kilometre coastline from Sanctuary Cove at its northern point to Coolangatta on the border of New South Wales.

With a median house price at the end of 2021 of $950,000, real estate on the Gold Coast is quite expensive. 5 out of 8 capital cities are more affordable than Gold Coast.

From Sleepy Chalet To Glitter Strip

The region was originally little more than a spattering of tiny villages.

In the 1920’s it became increasingly popular to wealthy Brisbane people seeking a secluded, beachside holiday.

Due to its proximity south of Brisbane, the region was referred to as the “South Coast”.

But fast-rising popularity between 1920 and 1950 produced strong demand for new amenities and accelerated development, including hotels and high-end retail.

Within a short space of time, it had established a national reputation for glitz and glamour. This, combined with booming real estate prices, resulted in the nickname “Gold Coast.”

Sprawling development progressively connected the aforementioned secluded villages.

This major region now boasts a major international airport, a plethora of luxury hotels, one of the largest casinos in Australia, numerous theme parks and multiple A-grade sport and recreation facilities.

Such is the quality and scale of amenity that Gold Coast played host to the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

From what it resembled to 100-years ago to the population mass and amenities enjoyed today, Gold Coast is indisputably the fastest developed city in Australia over the last century.


Gold Coast Property Market

Until recently, the Gold Coast had an unhealthy reliance on the discretionary household expense of tourism.

As a consequence, the Gold Coast property market had somewhat of a bumpy ride over the last 3-decades.

The median house price has increased from $149,000 in 1990 to the current $950,000.

In comparison, apartments have grossly underperformed.

Over the last 30-years, Gold Coast produced two big property booms. The median house price doubled during the 4-years ending 2004, while the second boom began in late-2020.

On the flip side, there were downturns during the 2-years ending 2012 and again in the 2-years to mid-2019.

The 2018 Commonwealth Games did not deliver the real estate results which many gum-flappers forecast.

Gold Coast’s property market was very underwhelming over the 5-year period which encompassed the pre-event infrastructure investment and the post-event hype.

In recent years, Gold Coast house prices increased by a whopping 53 percent over the last 3-years while apartments increased by 38 percent.

That performance was superior to 7 out of 8 capital cities and on par with Australia’s best-performed capital city, Hobart.

Across the region, Main Beach ($2.5 million) and Mermaid Beach ($2.3 million) have the highest median house price, while Labrador ($580,000) and Coomera ($655,000) are the most affordable.

55 percent of Gold Coast’s 260,000 residential dwellings are detached houses.

The suburbs which are most densely populated and have the highest ratio of apartments to detached houses are Southport and Surfers Paradise.

Related article: Australia’s best property markets

Other Gold Coast suburbs which have more apartments than detached houses are Biggera Waters, Broadbeach, Burleigh Heads, Coolangatta, Currumbin, Hope Island, Labrador, Main Beach, Mermaid Beach, Palm Beach, Runaway Bay, Tugun and Varsity Lakes.


A Migration Magnet

High quality infrastructure, a coastal lifestyle and good weather consistently attract people from other parts of Australia to relocate to the Gold Coast.

Over the 5-years ending June 2021, net internal migration added 5.2 percent to the region’s total population. This is significantly higher than the two biggest capital city beneficiaries (Brisbane 2.8 percent and Hobart 1 percent) although various other regional locations were bigger per capita beneficiaries.

The 25 percent increase in Gold Coast’s total population over the last 10-years was equal to the growth rate of Australia’s fastest growing capital city over that period, Melbourne.

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