Increasing demand and major infrastructure spending are transforming one neighbourhood, with the trend set to continue.
2015 is expected to be the “biggest year ever” for the town of Bli Bli on the Sunshine Coast, which is “firmly cementing itself as a property hotspot”, according to PRD.
Damian Brown of PRD Project Marketing Sunshine Coast said the riverside locale has undergone a major transformation over the past few years, with strong demand for a variety of local residential communities and major infrastructure spending well underway.
“The historic community that many people know by the iconic Sunshine Coast tourist attraction is experiencing a ‘coming of age’ at the moment,” he said.
“Bli Bli’s history dates back to the turn of the 20th century, when the town was established and the first school opened in the area, but in recent years it has grown in popularity and morphed from a sleepy little town into a thriving residential community.”
Mr Brown said the region had experienced enormous growth over recent years, with the company’s “on-the-ground research” indicating the government’s current projections of a 2.5 per cent population growth rate may be too conservative.
“[Our research] of sales and new homes built and occupied showed a net increase of 450 residents – or close to seven per cent growth. We expect this sort of growth to continue well into this year as well,” he said.
In addition, Mr Brown said there is more than $522 million in infrastructure investment planned over the next decade to cater for the ongoing growth – including a major new housing project, major new retail/medical/commercial development, schools, transport and recreation infrastructure – $100 million of which will be rolled out in 2015.
Mr Brown also cited the proposed new 4,000-square-metre three-level Bli Bli Village Centre as a sign of impending change and something that will open up the town to “a number of new enterprises never seen before in Bli Bli such as a gym, a tavern, professional offices and a diverse range of medical practices”.
The rest of 2015, he said, will see Bli Bli further transform, with the sell-out of two major developments (Parklakes and Halcyon Landing), and the launch of Parklakes 2 – a 700-lot masterplanned residential community.
Mr Brown said a number of residential developments in Bli Bli had experienced strong demand from a variety of buyers – largely due to the town’s “reinvogration” driven by planned infrastructure, the already completed $15 million redevelopment of the IGA and the River Markets shopping precinct, and upgrades to the Sunshine Castle and the Cable Ski Park.
“Bli Bli is also in a convenient location – not only does it have growing infrastructure itself, but it’s also close to the Sunshine Plaza in Maroochydore, Mudjimba Beach, Nambour and the Bruce Highway,” he said.
“The nearby Sunshine Coast Airport expansion, which will deliver a second runway, new terminal complex and aviation industry precinct, is currently in the EIS assessment stage and due to commence in 2016 and the region’s new multibillion-dollar hospital and medical precinct at Kawana is also just 15 minutes away.”
He said all these factors were drawing in owner-occupiers, but investors are starting to take notice and will be “impressed with returns down the track”.
“Bli Bli is landlocked, which means supply is limited. It used to be home to the Sunshine Coast’s sugar cane industry, and while most of the industry is gone the land has been designated as green space which is not permitted for development under the urban plan.”
PRD cited SQM Research figures which place the residential vacancy rate in Bli Bli below one per cent, with rents growing 9.2 per cent in the past 12 months.
“The first lots at Parklakes sold for around $100,000 in 2003 and are now selling from $231,500, representing an increase of more than 10 per cent per year,” Mr Brown said. “The millions of dollars in infrastructure planned over the next few years in Bli Bli will only increase demand and combined with limited supply, land prices will be pushed up further.”
Mr Brown said the perfect storm was brewing in Bli Bli for investors, with not only all the infrastructure and growth occurring, but the recovery of the broader Sunshine Coast market.
“The Sunshine Coast market has had its ups and downs since the global financial crisis, but it’s now firmly in the sights of many investors, with all the fundamentals aligning,” he said.