Interest high in north Queensland

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 June, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 June, 1993, 12:00am

ALMOST on the doorstep of Australia's Great Barrier Reef, prestigious Port Douglas units are moving fast in a real estate market that shows the Cairns area is luring thousands to life in a tropical paradise.

According to figures just released by the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ), the Cairns area, only 65 kilometres south of Port Douglas, had the highest increase in average house prices in the state over the past 15 years.

Research showed the far north Queensland tourist hub and international port of Cairns had increases of 11.2 per cent per annum. This reflected a 13 per cent combined population made up of new settlers who had moved to the area in the five years between 1986 and 1991.

A closer breakdown of the figures showed 1,044 new (interstate and overseas) migrants settled in the Douglas shire where the units were being marketed.

The president of the REIQ, Ray Milton, said Cairns had experienced high levels of appreciation due to a large population growth.

The Queensland population generally is forecast to grow from three million at present to four million by the year 2008 and the Cairns/Port Douglas area is expected to lead the trend.

As the gross human flow into the area escalates, the A$8 million (HK$40 million) Port Douglas complex of 27 luxury Beaches units, located on The Esplanade next to the famous Four Mile Beach, is seeing unprecedented demand from local, interstate and foreign investors.

Only seven of the units, priced between $348,000 and $380,000, remain for sale off the plan since the project was released in May by the developers, Beachfront Terraces Pty Ltd.

The marketing agent, Chris Harvey of L. J. Hooker Port Douglas, is confident investors will snap up the remaining units well before building starts in October.

Mr Harvey said there had been immediate interest in the three-level complex, which would be built around a central courtyard giving all units a view overlooking the central pool area and the Coral Sea.

He said the design was a contemporary adaption of traditional north Queensland architecture featuring wide shady eaves and pergolas.

''It will also have steep pitched roofs and wide useable verandahs and decks to suit the tropical climate,'' he said.

The fully air-conditioned apartments come in six different designs to suit individual tastes.

Special features include expansive en suites to the master bedrooms with spas, big guest bathrooms, granite bench tops in the kitchens, and the latest European appliances and quality finishes throughout.

''If purchased as an investment unit, the estimated return on an average apartment valued at $383,000 will be between seven per cent and eight per cent,'' he said.

''This is based on accommodation rates of between $160 and $190 per night and an occupancy rate of approximately 73 per cent.'' He said the prime Port Douglas location and the general quality of the Beaches apartments would attract many holiday-makers from overseas.