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Not worried about global warming? Then bag a coastal bargain

Tim Lawless writing in Smart Company, says now is the time to think about buying your dream beach house. Prices have taken a battering over the past year or so, as asset rich but (suddenly) cash poor owners have been hit by the global financial crisis.


Tim Lawless writing in Smart Company, says now is the time to think about buying your dream beach house. Prices have taken a battering over the past year or so, as asset rich but (suddenly) cash poor owners have been hit by the global financial crisis.

A marked drop in local tourism is also a factor – no potential sea changers peering wistfully into the windows of local estate agents. So prices have been slashed as properties flooded the market.

With the economy picking up, these coastal properties represent a great investment and lifestyle opportunity. Some indicators* that the market is picking up are:

  • The number of home sales is up by 37% since bottoming 12 months ago.
  • The time it takes to sell a home is decreasing.
  • Vendors are discounting their properties less.
  • The total amount of housing stock available is gradually reducing.

It's still a buyer's market though, because monthly sales volumes are still well under the 10-year average.

The Gold Coast is a good example of what's been happening over the past year. Good news for buyers, the median house price is 7.7% lower than last year and the median unit price is 8.4% lower. However, the available stock has fallen by 6% from 20,500 in September last year to 19,300 over the last 12 months. Similarly, competition has been fierce in the lower end of the market with houses and units taking only 68 days to sell, as opposed to 100 days for houses and 92 days for units last year.

An RP Data report from earlier in 2009 featured some coastal hot spots where it's possible to grab a real bargain.

And, again, according to RP Data and realestate.com.au, the cheapest oceanfront suburbs by state were:

  • NSW – Corrindi Beach (median house price $272,000) 29km from Coffs Harbour
  • Tas – Beechford (median house price $158,500) 48km from Launceston
  • Vic – Loch Sport (median house price $149,250) 45km from Sale
  • Qld – Halifax (median house price $200,000) 45km from Ingham
  • SA – Port Pirie West (median house price $140,000) in Port Pire Township
  • WA – Withers (median house price $270,000) in Bunbury

So investing in a beachside bargain could be a smart investment move, whether for potential capital gain, or as a long-term lifestyle change.

* As stated in the RP Data, 2009 ‘Seachange markets now in reach‘ report

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