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Real Estate | Demystifying The Port Douglas Market

By Kaz Stanaway

Recently, a confused Melbourne man walked into my office and in an exasperated voice asked me “what are all these different types of properties here? The property market in Port Douglas is like a different planet!”. 

With around 89 per cent of property enquiries being from out of the area (Domain) it’s an important issue to gain clarification.

So, for all us land-based terrestrials I thought some explanation might be helpful.

Port Douglas has two types of properties for sale. There is “Residential” which allows people to live permanently in the property. Then there are “Holiday/Serviced/Resort” apartments. There are no leaseholds.

As Bolt Burchill Tranter Lawyers advise for the holiday letting properties: “The multiple dwelling tourist zoning is restricted to holiday letting, that is to say that these units should not be resided in permanently and may only be occupied on a temporary 3 month basis”.

Some resorts have longer-term tenants by bypassing this and renewing tenancy contracts every three months.

Hibiscus Resort and Spa even have some apartments zoned as ‘holiday’ and others as ‘residential’. It all depends on the Council approval given on the development application.

Investment properties are a great way of securing a permanent warm bolthole from the winters of the southern states of Australia and making an investment at the same time!

With current interest rates at 1 per cent and dropping, it’s important to make your money work for you. Not only can you make profit from the rental side but also from the final sale price.

People love the property market here, as you get so much more property for your buck than in other areas of Australia.

When number crunching figures, remember to factor in body corporate and stamp duty fees to avoid any purchase shock. You can also offset your Port Douglas accommodation costs whilst on holiday!

Once you have bought the property, you don’t have to be involved in the rental and running – it makes money for you without any hassle.

Resorts offer full-service management and can include your apartment into the letting pool cycle. There are also options to ‘opt out’ if you wish to go with another management company. Some resorts are fine with this, others, not so much so make sure this is discussed at the time of purchase.

Purchasing an investment property if ‘residential’ and not in a resort with on-site management is not a problem, as there are many experienced companies in Port Douglas that offer full service.

As part of the purchasing process, I would advise consulting with your prospective property managers and requesting their terms and conditions and prices, so you can also work out your budgeting and be fully versed in the services they offer.

Karen Donato of Loan Market advises said: “buyers should be aware that the holiday properties also require a minimum of 50 per cent deposit.

“Freeing up the equity in another property owned, to use for the deposit is a good way of achieving this”.
I hope this information helps bring Port Douglas down from the outer space galaxies of complexity to making it understood by mere earth dwellers.

Rosie Wang, Sales, Ray White Port Douglas


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