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End of year auction opportunities

By Andrew Bell

As the year comes to a close, now is the time many are thinking about investing  in property. Whether it's a vacation home, lifestyle choice or investment opportunity, Gold Coast property present a number of exciting areas ripe for acquisition.

New reports show that the coming year will be fortuitous for renters, but that doesn't mean the Gold Coast should be overlooked for those wanting to snap up properties at auction.

Increases in vacant property lowers rent 

As vacancy rates continue to rise in Brisbane – up 0.5 per cent each year – tenants are expected to have more negotiating power with landlords.

In a recent report by Domain, the group's latest figures show 3.7 per cent of units and 2.9 per cent of houses are empty, a figure that has risen from 3.2 and 2.6 per cent respectively the same time last year.

Domain Group chief economist Andrew Wilson said that next year, landlords may be forced to lower prices, despite Brisbane's median rent sitting around $400 for the previous three years.

"When we get vacancy rates over 3 per cent we do start to see downward pressure on rent," he said.

"Less demand, more supply; that's the bottom line. It's no surprise with all the new developments we'd be seeing an increase for apartments."

According to Domain, Housing Industry Association figures released this month show that home loans are up 11.2 per cent each year. Warwick Temby, acting chief economist, believes an increase in buyer activity could have driven the result.

"The pipeline of high-density houses reaching settlement stage are now being financed. If they are being used as a rental that certainly puts some pressure on vacancy rates," he said.

Council auctions offer investment opportunity

While the market is looking positive for those renting, the end of the year also brings about exciting opportunities at auction. Every year, the Gold Coast City Council decides to send properties to auction that are plagued with outstanding rates and water bills.

According to the Gold Coast Bulletin, homeowners will typically find the funds and clear the necessary debts. However, both the number of homes the council was forced to move on and the final number that went to auction have increased in recent years.

Although this offers a slightly pessimistic picture of South-East Queensland's jewel a leading national economic advisory group believes the Gold Coast experienced a minor recession in the 2014-15 period.

SGS Economics and Planning economist Terry Rawnsley said figures showed the 2014-15 period experienced a 0.5 per cent drop in the Gold Coast's domestic product.

"The whole of Queensland got a hangover from the mining boom and there were a lot of tradies spending money on things like jetskis and holidays to the Gold Coast so that's drying up. Also the high Aussie dollar at the time meant a lot of people could holiday overseas rather than on the Coast," he said.

"All these issues flow through to a lack of retail confidence."

Gold Coast still a treasure trove

However, the Gold Coast Combiner Chamber of Commerce president, Martin Brady, believes there are strong signs that the region's economy will go from strength to strength.

"If you look at the Coast's major industries than tourism is up, international students numbers are up and just looking around it looks like construction is up," he said. "But there's no doubt we were in tough times a few years ago."

These comments come at a time when overseas investors are pouring interest into the Coast, with new developments and theme parks announced in the new year.

To get the best auction advice on how to pick the property of your dreams, get in touch with the team at Ray White Surfers Paradise today.

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