How investors are staying afloat in Far North Qld

The Daintree coast has been devastated by recent storms and floods. How are property owners bouncing back?

mark whitham daintree spi jwaegs

When real estate agent Mark Whitham first moved to the Daintree rainforest 20 years ago, the first thing that struck him was the tranquillity.

“It emanates a soothing pulse,” Mr Whitham said. “It quite simply enchanted me.”

The serenity that Mr Whitham felt then is a far cry from the destruction that the Daintree has experienced in recent weeks.

Tropical Cyclone Jasper ravaged Far North Queensland in December, inundating entire communities, smashing up roads and flooding countless families out of their homes. The whole Daintree National Park remains closed until further notice.

With over 800mm of rainfall recorded in just 24 hours, this is the most extreme flood event in the region in written record.

“The Daintree coast took a direct hit and now every property needs a major clean up,” Mr Whitham reported.

“The ferry is currently closed and the two mountain range roads to traverse the area have landslides which need to be cleared.”

For property owners in the region, extreme weather events are nothing new. Where city investors might panic at the destruction wreaked on their properties, owners in the Daintree have taken it in stride.

In fact, long experience with severe flooding has helped many owners escape the cyclone relatively unscathed.

“The majority of Daintree residents had power right through the cyclone as all homes are off-grid,” said Mr Whitham. “No shortage of water either – so there are definite benefits even in a calamity,” he joked.

And it isn’t only property owners that are resilient – property prices in the region are surprisingly resilient too.

The Daintree property market is coming off a two-year COVID-19 boom, and Mr Whitham revealed that “prices are still higher than the long-term average”.

Many of his clients are city dwellers who are sick of the suburban lifestyle and “gravitate here to find the real world”.

Investors are not scared off by the Daintree either. Mr Whitham stated that there are “plenty of Airbnbs in the area by investors who use a local ground crew for cleaning and maintenance and handle the bookings remotely”.

The attractive price tag of property in the local market certainly doesn’t hurt – over the last 12 months, the median sold price for properties in the Daintree was just $280,000.

Today, in spite of the devastation wreaked on the area in recent years, Mr Whitham still believes that the Daintree offers respite from the troubles of the world.

“It’s a place of healing and connection,” Mr Whitham said. “The creeks I have drank out of for 20 years the water is completely pure, the air is clean, and there is always a show being put on by nature if you take the time to look.”

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