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Thought About investing in the Port Douglas Real Estate Market?

By Kaz Stanaway

Want to do something with your money that’s more exciting than owning bonds, less stressful than the futures market and more user friendly than the share market?   Owning a property in Port Douglas can be extremely user friendly, a vibrant investment and ultimately profitable.  This obscure & tiny fishing village in Far North Queensland came into the national psyche in the mid 1970’s when the flamboyant Christopher Skase built the Sheraton Mirage in front of fabulous Four Mile Beach. As a result  Port Douglas was on its way to being one of the premier travel destinations in Australia.  Today  this  “ village” continues to attract travelers from near and far and it would be my claim that if you walked into any travel agent in the world and asked about Port Douglas they would know what and where you were talking about.

Property Investors in Port Douglas have a wide choice of holiday, residential and commercial properties to consider.  Let me present a rundown of selections for you to consider.

FREEHOLD, freestanding homes can be as good an investment as any in this town.  Permanent let properties  almost always rent at or over their current market value  and occupancy is good with the right property manager. Capital gains can also be very satisfactory providing you sell at the right time. Owning a permanently rented home (or unit)  means income all year round with no personal use by the owner which may be exactly what you wish to achieve.  However, if you buy a house which can be holiday let, this can allow you to use the property yourself from time to time in between bookings. Keep in mind however, that the more you use the property yourself the less income you get. Also, whereas you can buy a permanent let property virtually anywhere in Port Douglas you do need to be more selective with holiday properties; are they suitably designed for holiday let and are they in the “right” location.  As always,  location is an important factor when assessing the value of a property, regardless of purpose and that mandate applies equally in Port Douglas.  The house/apartment on Island Point or adjacent to Four Mile Beach will generally cost more than the ones that are elsewhere

Strata titled holiday apartments/units in and around Macrossan Street and what we call the “GOLDEN TRIANGLE” (roughly the first 4 blocks from “downtown” including Island Point)  are easy walking distance to Four Mile Beach, the shops and restaurants of Macrossan St and the Marina.  This fact makes them popular with investors and holiday users alike  – a win/win situation.  Prices range from around $100,000 for a one bedroom unit to $3,000,000 plus for a modern 3 story/ 4 bedroom townhouse with all the trimmings.  Most of these properties are located in complexes which have On Site Managers but some are represented by Off Site Managers and others are managed by the owners themselves. There have been some great buys in this sector in recent times and more to come so check it out.

The COCONUT GROVE is an up market accommodation house located in Macrossan St which opened around 2008.  Very well managed, prestigious,  and worth considering if you are in the market @ $850,000 – $1,500,000.

Similarly we have THE BEACH CLUB not far away with its very popular own beach pool ( with sand). Prices took a solid hit here with the GFC and and these trendy apartments are now good value if you can pick up  one at the right price.  Range $600,000 – $1,000,000 plus.

SHERATON MIRAGE: Arguably remains the flagship of the town with its beautiful grounds & restaurants and around 180 privately owner villas –  all on beach front land! Body Corporate fees require you to take a stiff drink when the bill comes in but income can also be high. Still popular with the rich and famous. Villa prices range from $500,000 – $2,000,000  depending on size and location.

NIRAMAYA RESORT (former BALE): Award winning “contemporary tropical” villas in beautiful surrounds. About 40 villas in total with plans for a final development of 20 odd up market homes to complete the project in 2014.   Your  choice of owner occupancy, permanent or holiday let on site or off site management.  Real buyers market in the last 12 months in this complex have seen most of the bargain priced villas sold. However still excellent buying available in the writers opinion.  Price range: $795,000 – $1,795,000

SEA TEMPLE:   Beachfront location on the edge of town  Opened around 2008 which was bad timing as values dropped by up to 40% as a result of GFC coupled with a premium buy in price.   Good buying for investors now  from high $400’ks to $1,000,000 plus for the beautiful stand alone villas. Management by Accor is a big plus. Classy establishment with ever improving occupancy figures.

Timing is everything when buying and selling investment real estate and now is the time to buy. These days you can get almost any information you want from websites like domain.com.au or realestate.com.au – plus many others. Facts such as recent sales, trends, expert opinions  & demographics are just a selection of data available for free or a small cost.  Do some homework, check your finances as to what you can afford/get a loan for, browse the market to get a feel for what’s out there for sale, select a suitable /experienced agent (Ray White Port Douglas & Four Mile are very good!) and  go for it.  Enjoy!

Author: Alan Crossman, Principal, Ray White Port Douglas & Mossman |  May 2013

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