Real Estate News - UK buyers snap up Coast property

United Kingdom buyers continued to swap their depressing drizzle and rocky beaches for south-east Queensland’s sun, sand and surf at a growing rate.

Last financial year, they snapped up $112 million worth of residential property alone in the Sunshine State.

Sales figures from the Sunshine Coast showed UK buyers purchased residential properties worth $21 million in 2006-07, not including unconditional contracts in projects being sold off the plan or under construction.

Apart from the UK, New Zealanders stepped up with $13 million worth of deals, followed by South Africa on $2.5 million, Ireland with $1.6 million and the rest of Asia at about $5 million.

The sales were part of the ongoing overseas buying spree that saw a total of $558 million worth of residential property bought in Queensland in 2006-07 according to figures just released by global real estate advisor DTZ.

The value of Queensland property being sold offshore has increased at an average annual rate of 26% since 2003.

Speaking at a presentation in Brisbane on Friday, DTZ director of project marketing, Paul Barratt, said research showed more than 1500 Queensland residential property contracts were settled by offshore entities in 2006-07.

Mr Barratt said Brisbane had emerged as a favourite among foreign investors with $145 million in sales. New Zealanders actually led the way in that market with $32.5 million in purchases, followed by buyers from the UK at $30 million, China at $12 million and the rest of Asia at $30 million.

Russian buyers have obviously discovered the Gold Coast, snapping up $35 million worth of residential property on the glitter strip, with New Zealanders next on the list at $32.5 million. Other countries generating plenty of sales included New Caledonia with $28 million, Japan with $26 million, the UK at $22 million and the rest of Asia with $86 million.

The average value of offshore residential sales across the south-east ranged from $417,000 on the Gold Coast, $363,000 on the Sunshine Coast, $322,500 in the wider Brisbane area and $383,000 in Brisbane City.

Also speaking at the presentation was Peter Braithwaite, DTZ’s UK residential business unit chairman who said Queensland property was an appealing option for buyers looking to diversify their investment portfolios.

“High growth across the UK has created an equity-rich investor class. Purchasers are looking to use this buying power to secure lifestyle opportunities in international marketplaces such as Australia,” Mr Braithwaite said.

“Queensland in particular is seen as a desirable location among buyers looking to immigrate in pursuit of the ‘sun and surf’ lifestyle. These purchasers will pay top dollar for high-end property that meets their requirements for ample living space and quality finishes.”

Mr Barratt had a warning, however, saying while offshore sales had remained strong in the first half of this financial year, the global credit crisis had slowed activity across the board and would have a knock-on effect in terms of foreign investment into Queensland.

“While the present figures bode well for continued growth, the impacts of the global credit crunch aren’t to be underestimated. Realtors will have to be proactive in pursuing sales opportunities in key overseas locations to keep the momentum moving forward,” he said.

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