Simon Lloyd

More punters are warming to houses one street back from the beach. (If only they’d warm to this house I can’t sell, one street back from reality!)

Taken aback…

My good friend Sheena Hyena from McMansion & Hovel Realty and I were having one of our real estate deep-and-meaningfuls the other day.

We have a joint-exclusive listing on a completely hideous seven-bedroom pile owned by an Eastern European maniac and his banshee wife, and on this occasion neither Sheena nor I could be arsed showing yet another bunch of sticky-beakers through the place. After having it on the market for so long, we prefer to let prospective buyers discover its wonders by themselves.

I mean, we never object to escorting people through homes with “wow” factors: it gladdens the real estate agent’s heart and hip-pocket to see their dear faces light up in awe.

It’s different with this joint, however. This is a house of “bloody hell” factors.

Example: the basketball court-sized formal living room boasts a large, ornate white plaster fish pond with a faux-stone Buddha water feature slap bang in the middle of it, and if Sheena and I have to try and explain this away as a cutting-edge-Thai-Neopolitan-fusion concept one more time we’ll definitely slap someone.

So we stood there in the dusky pink terrazzo kitchen and chewed the property market fat (interrupted sporadically by cries of alarm from our hapless visitors echoing around the saffron stucco walls).

Now this museum of contemporary kitsch is in a suburb called Mooroobool, (which is aptly pronounced “mirrorball” by locals). Tired of cherubs and velvet, Sheena and I were yearning for a bit of chic, absolute beachfront to sell for a change.

Actually Mooroobool might have been beachfront had the threatened tsunami eventuated earlier this year, but it steadfastly remains a hillslope suburb, and I for one am over the hills … er … well, anyway, Sheena was moaning that she has a marvelous executive-style pad in one of the northern beach suburbs that deserves a better response than she’s had so far from buyers. Gorgeous it might be, and only a 60-second walk to the delightful sands of Clifton Beach, it’s still a block back from the beach, and everyone who inspects it says she’s asking too much. “It’s not on the beach,” they whinge.

Of course it’s a no-brainer that punters are going to pay more for beach frontage than “one street back”, and even a no-brainer like Sheena can see that.

However, after we’d managed to shoo our (by then) very silent and somewhat pallid buyers out of the Mooroobool Monstrosity, I decided to do some research back at the office into the vexed issue of “one street back”.

What I found out will gladden Sheena’s day if, that is, when I get around to telling her. And that is that the traditional gap between beachfront and one street back is actually narrowing sharply.

And this is happening up and down the Queensland coast.

Not trusting the figures I collated for Cairns and the Far North, I looked into other prime growth areas such as the Sunshine Coast and there was the same trend.

In the Kawana market, for instance, at the southern end of the Sunshine Coast, the median house price for beachfront at the end of 2006 was $837,500. One street back and the median was $542,500. Yes, of course that’s still a sizeable difference, but consider this.

In the 12 months to December last year, Kawana beachfront median prices grew by 27.4%. But prices one street back surged by a whopping 40.9%.

The anecdotal evidence I’ve been able to gather from the real estate bible, RP Data, so far in 2007 suggests the trend is continuing firmly.

So the message to property hunters seems pretty clear to me. If you can’t run to paying absolute beachfront prices and you’re not prepared to risk waiting for rising sea levels to provide Buderim with an esplanade, then spend a truckload less dosh for somewhere like Sheena’s stylish low-set one street back and you’ll be laughing all the way to the beach.

(On the other hand, perhaps I could interest you in a sunken bedroom with scarlet leatherette walls and matching spa … ?)

To read more Simon Lloyd blogs, click here.



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