How Sunshine Coast house market has been hit by a reverse sea change

A dramatic downturn in house prices was occurring in some Queensland holiday spots as a reverse sea change takes effect, according to Ray White.

Oct 19, 2023, updated Oct 19, 2023
A reverse sea change effect was occurring in holiday locations (file photo)

A reverse sea change effect was occurring in holiday locations (file photo)

Among the top 10 locations for the downturn were Minyama, Sunshine Beach and Alexandra Headland, all on the Sunshine Coast, where prices had tumbled between 28 per cent and 32 per cent in the past year.

NSW locations like Lismore, the Tweed Coast and Port Macquarie had also faced significant house price downturns.

Ray White data analyst William Clark said while generally price growth had returned to the housing market, it wasn’t consistent and many had gone backwards.

He said coastal suburbs “had been heavily affected with a reverse sea change”.

“Interest in having a holiday home surged during the pandemic but with rising interest rates and growing restrictions on short term rentals, this is a luxury that few can afford,”  Clark said.

“As a result, prices are declining in these areas, particularly in parts of the Sunshine Coast and coastal NSW.”

While areas of the Sunshine Coast had been hit hard in the past year, that came after the period when they had also increased significantly during Covid. In many areas that was as much as 40 per cent.

“It’s really a mixed bag on the Sunshine Coast. The aggregated area has seen some decent growth in recent months but it’s not being shared everywhere,” he said.

Sunshine Beach was also at the premium end of the market and small percentage decreases added up to big losses in dollar terms. The Ray White data showed Sunshine Beach’s median value had fallen from $2,030,000 in 2022 to $1,365,000 in 2023.

The localised nature of the impact was also found in recent data from PropTrack showed which showed that Broadbeach Waters, on the Gold Coast, had joined the $2 million median price bracket after an increase of 3.68 per cent in the past quarter, rising from $1,946,751 just three months ago to reach $2,018,383 now.

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PropTrack median price data also differed greatly from Ray White’s. It showed Sunshine Beach was Queensland’s most expensive homes with a median house price of $2,849,736, but that was down from $2,892,736 in the previous quarter and $2,922,205 just 12 months ago.

He said the downturn in the Lismore market was likely related to the devastating floods that hit the town in 2022.

“It looks like those who were left with homes in a marketable condition had to walk away with potentially more than 40 per cent losses on sales, or over a $200,000 loss on their net wealth for the median sale,” he said.

“While many holiday home towns and some select mining towns have seen declining prices, it isn’t consistent across the board.

“While some selected Sunshine Coast suburbs have seen declines in prices, across the region, prices are back where they were during the 2022 peak.

“In Western Australia, green energy minerals are pushing up values in places that have previously been very low in growth. It is likely that in 2024, we will be looking at quite a different list of suburbs.”


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