THE cementing of Southport as the Gold Coast’s future central business district has sparked an upsurge in developer, investor and owner-occupier interest in the area, according to Ray White Commercial Southport.
Agency team leader Kristoffer Sonter said buyer inquiry in the Southport CBD had ‘skyrocketed’ since the State Government’s declaration of the Southport Priority Development Area in October.
Mr Sonter said developers and investors had been galvanised by the removal of height restrictions and red tape for development in the CBD precinct.
Market confidence had also been bolstered by September’s decisive Federal election result.
“It was a double-whammy in terms of providing a boost to the market and local businesses,” he said.
“Understandably there’s been a lot of interest in development sites both locally and from Asia – particularly parties from China and South Korea.”
Mr Sonter said the impending full operation of the light rail system through Southport had contributed more recently to market momentum with buyers better able to see the upside of the project.
RWC Southport, a division of Ray White Commercial Gold Coast, has chalked up $20 million in sales and leasing across almost 45 transactions in the six months to June, up from $14 million the same time last year.
RWC Gold Coast director Greg Bell said the Southport CBD was finally starting to benefit from a huge injection of infrastructure spending in the past few years.
“It’s been a long and sometimes painful journey for the area but with the light at the end of the tunnel, businesspeople, developers and investors are feeling buoyant enough to jump back in to the market,” he said.
“The declaration of the PDA boosted Southport’s case enormously by providing certainty.”
Mr Sonter said there had been an escalation of interest in Davenport Street as it is transformed into Gold Coast Chinatown.
RWC Southport agent Wayne Devenport recently secured the sale of a 146sqm freestanding building on 73sqm at 29 Davenport St for a sum reflecting a rate of more than $5000/sqm.
“This sale demonstrates just how hot the demand is for Davenport St at the moment,” Mr Sonter said.
“Buyers are jostling to position themselves ahead of Chinatown coming to life later this year.”
Mr Sonter said there had been strong investor and end user interest in a sales campaign for 13 retail outlets in the Southport Central complex.
He said owner occupier buyers were capitalising on low interest rates, depreciation benefits and the ability to use their superannuation fund to purchase a business premises.
“It’s just making a lot more sense to buy at the moment as it’s cheaper than leasing,” he said.
“However, this is a window of opportunity that is closing as prices begin to rise.”
Mr Sonter said Southport’s leasing market was also staging a comeback with an uptick in deals in the past three months.