NEW: Simon Lloyd

Stand aside – the next wave of property demand will not be lifestyle-driven, but will be led by thirsty southerners with dirty cars.

…and not a drop to drink

Last week my good friend Sheena Hyena from McMansion & Hovel Realty and I were having a chat over cocktails and canapés at one of the real estate industry awards functions we regularly attend, courtesy of our local newspaper and its insatiable desire for property advertising dollars.

You get your clients to spend a couple of grand on marketing their house in the Weekend Thunder’s realty section, and you’re off to a resort for a couple of nights, plus you get an attractive Perspex plaque to hang over your desk! Sheena and I had already collected our awards when we started discussing water – as one does.

Sheena has been reading my blog and thinks I have water on the brain. Well, I certainly have it on my mind, but who hasn’t? And despite promising myself that this latest Property Hunter instalment would not refer to swimming pools, tidal waves or rain, I’ve reverted to writing about water again.

Why? Because Sheena and I have noticed the beginning of what we’re predicting will become the most significant trend in Queensland property since the canal estate.

It has all to do with water, and potentially it’s very good news for property prices in Far North Queensland. You’ve heard about the sea change, you’ve heard about the tree change. Well now here comes the “rain change”.

Sheena tells me she’s been fairly inundated with calls lately from suburbanites in south-east Queensland, and especially retirees, at the end of their tether waiting for rain.

Their gardens are turning to dust, their cars look like they’ve been in the Sahara leg of the Paris-Dakar rally and, most commonplace among all their complaints, they’re dreading the thought of brushing their teeth in recycled loo water.

And just to rub the drought in with more sting, for the past few months they’ve been watching weather reports about the daily drenchings denizens of the tropical north have (admittedly rather guiltily) been enjoying.

Ironically, in FNQ long-timers are always amused when southerners move up here, stick it out for one wet season and promptly head back south, appalled at having endured six months of watching mildew form on the walls and listening to the grass grow.

Now the rain change seems about to turn that whole dynamic on its head. Sheena has sold two houses since Easter to “rain changers” from Shailer Park and Ipswich in the south. Other agents around town are reporting similar demand, and I’m sure it won’t be long before this trickle becomes a flood.

Which means prices will be pushed up as demand increases. Which means sellers will be more than happy to put their homes on the market. And which means, most importantly, more cocktail parties, resort weekends and Perspex plaques for Sheena and me.


[Next week: No more water, honest. Instead I’ll be providing tips on the most difficult questions a property investor can ask a real estate agent.]


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