Property investors searching for meaty, short-term returns may want to start eyeing Australia's Gold Coast. According to analysts, the regional tourist haven, 60 kilometres south of Brisbane, will see housing prices climb nearly 20 per cent a year, derived from a fall in supply coupled with increasing demand, an expanding population, tourism and the 2000 Olympics. 'When people visit the Gold Coast they are attracted by the weather, the environment and low cost,' said Mickey Cheng, a sales director of Australian property at L J Hooker. Offering the highest yields, between 7 and 9 per cent, were serviced apartments in prime locations such as Surfers Paradise and Main Beach. There are high-rise flats that can be rented out by the week or the month, including services. Gold Coast luxury houses with waterfront views were reeling in high capital gains (re-sale profits), Mr Cheng said. Their yields were low at 5 to 6 per cent because of the high purchase price. However, the city's steady price increases were making deluxe homes advantageous for quick turnover profits. For the long-term investor, Mr Cheng recommended recouping on the non-luxury housing market. With its low investment prices and a high rental demand from the city's swelling workforce, yields were at 7 per cent. The Gold Coast has a population of 322,000 permanent residents and it is estimated the numbers will continue to grow around 4 per cent a year over the next decade. According to Mr Cheng, now could be the best time to buy, with the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and the country's inflation at a 20-year low of 3 per cent. In addition, Japanese investors have dumped several large investments, resulting in prices falling as much as 20 per cent in the city. Sydney and the Gold Coast were the key residential markets for Hong Kong investors, said Mark Witheriff, manager of the New Zealand and Australia department at Richard Ellis' Hong Kong office. The average price for a good quality two-bedroom serviced Gold Coast apartment is between A$300,000 (about HK$1.75 million) and A$400,000, yielding 7 to 9 per cent. A luxury waterfront Gold Coast house costs $A600,000 to A$1 million-plus and yields 5 to 6 per cent, with high capital gains. Non-luxury houses in residential areas of the Gold Coast cost between A$150,000 and A$250,000 and yielded 7 per cent.