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2018 is a year to look forward to, with the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games due to start on April 4th.  With over 6,000 athletes, 15,000 volunteers and 1,200 media, broadcasting to a worldwide audience of 1.5 billion people, the Gold Coast will be on show as never before.

According to a study by Griffith University, the Games Village, other venues and related construction projects that were brought forward, such as the Light Rail Stage Two, accounted for $1.6 billion in construction over the past four years.  This is apart from major retail and tourism projects, such as upgrading of Pacific Fair, Robina Town Centre and The Star Hotel and Casino.

It is estimated that the Games themselves will attract an additional 672,000 visitors this year, spending $323 million.  Pre and post Games, an additional 490,000 visitors are expected to spend $550 million.  Over the nine years to 2022, this brings the projected extra tourism to 1.1 million visitors and $870 million across Queensland.

The Gold Coast real estate market is already in an enviable position.  Median prices rose by 6.9% over the year to September 2017.  Residential vacancy rates are low and rental yields are higher than in the Eastern Seaboard capital cities (4.9% for houses and 5.8% for units).  This is based on analysis by CoreLogic.

The positive outlook for the Gold Coast apartment market is partly based on the number of developments that were proposed, but have not proceeded.  This is largely due to conservative lending by banks.  This has seen development funding of mainly smaller projects of fewer than 100 units.

In contrast, some parts of the capital city markets are facing oversupply and downward pressure on rents.

The largest apartment development of recent years on the Gold Coast is the Parklands project of 1,252 apartments and townhouses, to be used as the athletes’ village during the Games.  By early 2019, it will be transformed into rental accommodation, associated with the adjoining Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct.

Serviced by the Light Rail and adjoining Griffith University and two hospitals, the Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct is envisaged as a knowledge hub, focused on commercialisation of new technologies.  Griffith University already has a reputation for world-class biomedical research.  The University’s Advanced Design and Prototyping Technologies Institute is one of three facilities already committed.  The $80 million institute will include 3D printing equipment and medical implant technology.

Ray White Projects premium apartment projects under construction include “Elegance” and “Ivy95” in Broadbeach, “La Riviere”, “Serenity” and “One16 The Esplanade” in Surfers Paradise and “Lanikai” in Southport. The team are also excited to be associated with some of the best house and land estates on the Gold Coast such as “Luna Estate” and “The Heights” in Pimpama.

A feature of the current apartment market on the Gold Coast is the way development has spread south from Broadbeach to Coolangatta and to suburban centres, such as Hope Island, Biggera Waters, Varsity Lakes and Carrara.  Some of these suburban projects have had strong appeal to owner occupiers.

With the Gold Coast maintaining its more affordable price advantage compared with Sydney, it is likely that 2018 will be a year when southern buyers continue to support demand for apartments across the region.