According to the 2011 Census figures, the Sunshine Coast now has a population of around 300,000 people, which is an increase of just over 10% since the last Census figures were taken in 2006. Many demographers are predicting that the Sunshine Coast will continue to see increasing growth, particularly with projects such as the Stockland’s Caloundra South development in the pipeline. And with a number of large scale projects like the new Kawana Hospital becoming a reality, there is probably good cause for a degree of optimism. While new jobs certainly means more people coming to the Coast and therefore more demand for retail and service sectors, I cannot help but worry about our accommodation dilemma. After all, before any workers are going to relocate to the Sunshine Coast for their employment, they will have to ensure that suitable housing is available.
Those fortunate enough to be able to buy their own home will no doubt benefit from the low cost housing options that these new projects will deliver but for those tied to the rental market, there is a degree of uncertainty. According to the 2011 Census figures, there are around 34,000 investment properties on the Coast. When you take out of the equation those that are reserved for holiday letting, it becomes apparent that the pool of rental properties is relatively limited. If the Coast is going to be able to support an influx of workers then more investment properties are needed. But with such high Government set costs to invest in the property sector, how can we be confident that property investors will be prepared to park their “hard earned” in the domestic property sector?
Perhaps it is time for our new State Government to show some initiative and remove some of the barriers to entry, like stamp duty and land tax that are currently making investment in real estate less attractive than equities, bonds and bank accounts.