Cairns property update Feb 2018

Positive indicators are starting to emerge as the Cairns property market begins to gain real confidence.

Cairns now sits around 7.00 o’clock on the recent National property clock complied by lead property analysts Herron Todd White.

It is said that the 7.00 o’clock mark is the perfect time to invest as an area BEGINS it growth phase.

In addition to this you have expert property analysts based down South who can see the writing on the wall for massive improvements to the Cairns Property market.

Here is one such article well worth reading 

Unemployment is also on the decline and is the lowest in 8.5 years (watch video below)

Should you be looking at purchasing in the area then here are some recently completed brand new apartments located just 100 metres from the beach……4 remain for sale starting at $429,900 with rents fetching between $450.00 – $465.00 per week!


Soaring Sydney house prices to spark mass migration north: Macquarie

By business reporter Stephen Letts, ABC.NET.AU

Soaring property prices in Sydney are likely to spark a fresh wave of migration into south-east Queensland, according to Macquarie Bank researchers.

Macquarie’s equity strategy team said the economic fundamentals had aligned, “for another great wave of interstate migration into Queensland”.

“Sydney house prices are nearly double those in the other capital cities and job creation in Queensland is on the rise,” the Macquarie team wrote in a note to clients.

If history was any guide, Macquarie argued, then about 130,000 people would make the trek north over the next three years, bringing with them a large transfer of wealth.

While an average of 134,000 left New South Wales in similar circumstances in the mid-1980s and mid-2000s, that didn’t translate into a loss of population in Sydney as overseas immigration and natural growth led to an average net gain of 330,000 over those periods.

“However, probably the most important aspect of this is not the number of people moving, but the fact that they are asset-rich,” Macquarie noted, with the wealth being built by Sydney property prices over the past decade.

“We estimate the housing equity transfer could be around A$8.1 billion into the region, with the bulk coming from NSW [$7.3b billion].”

Direct Flights from China to Cairns

China Southern Airlines flies Guangzhou to Cairns from Dec.

THE number of Chinese tourists travelling to the tropical north is expected to soar with the start of direct flights between mainland China and Cairns later this year.

China Southern Airlines will operate three flights a week from Guangzhou to Cairns from December.

A three-year deal was struck between the airline, the Queensland Government, Cairns Airport and Tourism Tropical North Queensland.

The services will be able to carry up to 33,000 passengers a year. The boost to the economy is estimated to be $30 million annually.

Tourism Minister Kate Jones said the new flights were the first secured through the Palaszczuk government’s Connecting with Asia fund.

Huang Xiaoya, Xiao Yongxiang and Chen Zhiping are part of a new wave of Chinese tourists set to increase in numbers due to the announcement. Picture: BRENDAN RADKE

“With the support of the Palaszczuk government, China Southern Airlines will fly the first-ever year-round service by a Chinese airline into Cairns,” she said.

“In the first year we expect these flights to bring more than 33,000 Chinese visitors to Tropical North Queensland, which in turn flows on to the local economy and supports jobs.”

Treasurer and Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt said the new flights were a game-changer for the region.

“This is the first time we’ve ever been able to offer direct access to Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef from mainland China,” he said.

China Southern Airlines will fly the first-ever year-round service by a Chinese airline into Cairns. Picture: Simon Casson.

• Flights three times a week from December, 2017

• Direct from Guangzhou, city of 14 million people

• Three-year deal involving 33,000 seats a year

• Worth $30 million a year to region’s economy

• $10-$20 million route start-up costs

• Using Airbus A330-300 aircraft, about 260 seats

• Biggest airline in China

• Fleet of 700-plus aircraft

• 2000 daily flights to 208 destinations in 40 countries

• Carried 109 million passengers in 2015

Cairns Airport chief executive Norris Carter estimated the flights had the potential to generate up to $44.2 million a year and create nearly 300 new jobs.

He said it would enable Chinese visitors to spend more time holidaying in the region instead of travelling.

“The service will also open up new opportunities for our region’s high-quality primary produce to be exported to China, tapping into this enormous market through the China Australia Free Trade Agreement.”

Considering investing in Cairns while prices are very affordable? Click on the image below to view some stunning apartments located just 100 metres from the lapping waters of a Palm Fringed Beach…………Golf Course and Marina close by. Just 20 minutes to Cairns CBD and International Airport.


Tourism Tropical North Queensland chairman Max Shepherd said it was “incredibly rewarding for the destination to finally have direct China services confirmed”.

Treasurer Curtis Pitt with Chinese tourists at the Reef Fleet Terminal. PICTURE: ANNA ROGERS

He said the tourism industry had been lobbying for two- and-a-half years for the direct services.

“The establishment of scheduled services from the world’s largest tourism market will connect new consumers to Australia and create profound opportunities for the Tropical North Queensland industry.”

Barron River MP Craig Crawford said the flights “remove the complexity of connecting flights, which puts Cairns on a competitive pegging with destinations like Hawaii and Bali”.

Mayor Bob Manning said “this is what we’ve been working toward for a long time”.

How To Use Investment Property To Pay Off Your Home In 10 Years

I pulled the following post from the “Your Investment Property Magazine” 11/06 2015….very interesting article indeed. It’s a long read but well worth your time if you want to get into the property market PLUS slash years from your existing mortgage….

Combine the strategies below with the tax effective brand new properties we deal with such as house/land packages, townhouses PLUS apartments and you have all the ingredients of a dynamic Investment opportunity.


Terry Loftus

Australia’s top property investment experts unveil insider strategies for how to use investment property to pay off your home loan within 10 years. They reveal what, where, and how to buy to reap the rewards.

Owning your own home is something many of us aspire to, despite claims that homeownership is overrated. But let’s face it, most of us will carry our mortgage for at least 25 years before we can get rid of it.

Turns out you don’t have to. In this game plan, our experts lay out practical strategies for paying off your home loan sooner, using your investment property. They show you how to structure your finances, and what property to buy and when.

Philippe Brach’s Strategy
Investor Profile

In this case study, Bob and Irene have an ambitious goal of paying off their mortgage in 10 years. They are currently paying $3,000 per month towards their mortgage, after refinancing.

Looking at it very simplistically, if they want to repay their mortgage in 10 years they need to increase their monthly repayments to $5,000 (assuming a 4.5% interest rate), which is an extra $2,000 per month. Obviously, this is not possible given the couple’s current circumstances.

They are wondering if they can somehow use the equity in their home to invest in an investment property with a view to helping them with their goal.

Many people think they need to fully repay their home loan before they can invest in property, so Bob and Irene’s line of thought is on the right track.

Borrowing capacity
Their current financial profile will allow them to borrow $540,000 to invest in property.

We could boost their borrowing capacity to about $750,000 by converting their home loan to interest-only repayments, as some lenders are happy to take actual repayments towards servicing.

However, this would be increasing the financial risk for the family, and I would not recommend this approach.

Using equity to invest
There is about $100,000 of equity in their home that can be used to help them acquire a property and still keep the overall loan-to-value ratio (LVR) below 80%, which is a LVR that most banks are comfortable with.

I would suggest accessing this equity by setting up a line of credit (LOC) of $100,000 secured by their home. LOCs are fully transactional accounts with a limit to spend. They’re a bit like a giant credit card but with home loan rates.

The LOC will be used to fund the deposit on the property, stamp duty, legal costs, etc.

A summary of the structure would be as follows:

Structure Matrix

Finding a property
I would suggest that our couple invest in a vibrant, up-and-coming location with substantial infrastructure spending, a multi-industry approach and strong population growth.

For the purpose of this case study, and to allow for a great property within Bob and Irene’s budget constraints, I have chosen a four-bedroom house and land package property in a great location in the Newcastle area.

This type of product is great for Bob and Irene because stamp duty only applies to the land portion of the purchase, and also because there is currently a $5,000 stamp duty rebate from the NSW government for new properties. This will substantially lower acquisition costs.

The property purchase price is $525,000 and the anticipated rent is $560 per week. This is higher than the average rent in Newcastle, but this property is ideally located by a sandy beach and can easily command such a rent. At a 6% interest rate, this property is cash flow neutral. So, in the current environment where interest rates are much lower, the property is cash flow positive.

Financing the property
As our couple has only $100,000 available in their LOC, thenew property will have to be financed by borrowing 90% of the purchase price. At 90%, lenders mortgage insurance (LMI) is applicable. LMI costs vary depending on the lender, but they are around $9,300. This one-off premium will be added to the loan and will increase monthly repayments by about $35.

The total amount that is needed to fund the acquisition is about $59,000, as shown below. This amount will be funded from the LOC.

Financing the Properties 

Safety buffers
During construction of the house, interest will be payable on the amounts drawn and will add up to about $8,000 over the period of construction. Again, this will all be paid out of the LOC.

So by the time the property is ready to be tenanted, Bob and Irene will have used about $70,000 of their LOC. This includes interest on the LOC itself. As a result, they will have a $30,000 ‘buffer’, or unused funds, in their LOC when the first tenant moves in.

All rents collected, expenses (council rates, managing agent fees, interest on the investment loan, tax refund, etc.) are paid into or out of the LOC.

Since the property is cash flow positive, the balance of the LOC will decrease over time. If interest rates increase to 6%  then the property wil be cash flow neutral and the balance of the LOC will remain the same over time.

The $30,000 buffer is designed for unexpected expenses and for peace of mind for Bob and Irene. In our case, our couple also has $20,000 in savings which they will keep for personal expenses. So they have two buffers, which should allow them to sleep soundly at night!

Avoiding cross-collateralisation
By structuring the loans in this manner, we avoid cross-collaterisation of the two properties, which is never advisable as it creates issues in the future, especially when trying to sell one of the properties or when refinancing. Banks love to cross-collaterise properties because it is easier to do and it makes it harder for the client to move to another lender. The client becomes a ‘sticky’ customer.

This structure also allows for the creation of a buffer, which is not only a good risk management tool but is also tax efficient (LOC interest is fully tax deductible) and allows for easy financial management of a property.

Capital growth expectations
According to BIS Shrapnel’s Australian Housing Outlook 2014–2017, the Newcastle area has grown by 10% in 2014 and is tipped to increase in value at a rate of 7% per annum over the next two years.

It is hard to predict what will happen beyond the short term. So investing in an area where the fundamentals are sound is the best we can do. At 7% growth, the property will almost double in value in 10 years. If the property is sold, capital gains tax will be payable, as shown in Table 1 below.

I have assumed that the tax rate is 22.5%, which is the highest rate for individuals who hold a property for over one year.

Fast-tracking repayments
At their current repayment rate, the balance of the home loan will be $330,000 in Year 10, assuming that the current interest rate on their loan remains at 4.5%.

As a result of the above, their loan balance will now be $228,400 in Year 10.

This means our couple could repay their home in Year 10 by selling the investment property, provided the property grows by about 5% per annum on average.

If interest rates go up during these 10 years, and there is a good chance that they will, then the numbers will look different. If we assume an average 6% interest rate over the 10 years, then the balance of their loan in Year 10 will be $305,600, and in order to repay their home loan our couple will need their investment property to grow by about 6%.

Profit of Sales after 10 years

Further considerations
Although it is possible to use investment properties to repay home loans, investment properties are not ‘designed’ for that purpose. In this case study, the property helped to repay the home loan, but the homeowners had to increase their repayments to achieve the desired outcome.

Growing wealth is all about planning, leverage and time. If Bob and Irene decided not to sell their investment property in Year 10 and keep it until Year 15, the results would be as shown in Table 2 below.

By keeping the property for a further five years – at 6% capital growth – profit would increase by 80%; and at 7% profit would increase by 85%. So Bob and Irene will need to decide if they should sell the property in Year 10 and repay their home loan, or keep it and grow their overall wealth. I know what I would do.

Profit after 15 years

More comments below from Ben Kingsley, but before you scroll down you maybe interested in the type of property that fits perfectly with these types of strategies?

Here are some lovely Townhomes located in the Premiere Bayside Suburb called Manly West that could fit the plan.

Ben Kingsley’s Strategy

It’s an interesting concept that you can actually invest in property to help pay down your personal home loan sooner. The strategy I’m using to illustrate this is a passive investment strategy, meaning it won’t focus on any renovation or developing for profit.

It will be a buy-and-hold approach, focusing on taking advantage of the low interest rate environment and securing three cash flow positive properties. Then we will add the surplus cash flow into the offset or onto the actual mortgage to reduce the interest and accelerate the mortgage pay-down until there is no owner-occupier mortgage on the family home.

Before I show you my property recommendations, it’s important that we understand all the financial ‘numbers’ that are at play in this scenario. We have a couple with a home valued at $650,000 and a mortgage of $450,000. The couple has one dependent child, and we have assumed each parent is working, earning $50,000 gross each. There are no current investments and, importantly, no other debts.

Given this is an example household, we have had to make other assumptions about their financials.

Investor Profile: Couple with one dependant

How mortgages work
For those new to understanding how mortgages are paid out over time, this means the household would make 360 monthly repayments over 30 years of $2,416 to pay this loan off, and also pay the interest amount every month over this period.

Therefore, if you pay extra on your mortgage or pool your surplus into an offset account, you can pay off the home loan sooner, as the interest calculated will be lower each month.

Using the numbers above, if the household was to apply the $935 per month in surplus onto the mortgage in this example, then the home loan would be paid down by March 2028, just over 13 years from now – pretty close to the 10-year target.

Furthermore, if we assumed the property would grow in value by 6% per annum, this household would be debt-free and the house would be worth $1.386m. Not bad at all. For the record, at the 10-year milestone interval this family’s household debt would be $153,000 and the property value would be $1.164m.

Paying off extra on the mortgage and using offset.

Why bother investing?
So, what is the benefit of trying to pay the home loan off within 10 years when by just paying extra on the home loan you can pay off the home loan in 13 years?

Well, besides the additional interest that you save over this three-year period, by paying your home loan off sooner, the much bigger benefit is in the property portfolio asset wealth and the ongoing passive income you are building up during this 10-year period.

This effectively means your money has worked harder for you than by just paying down your loan, and one could argue that by committing to this strategy the household becomes more focused on ensuring the surplus is maintained each month rather than being spent on discretionary items.

At the end of this article, I will reveal the asset value difference at the 10-year milestone interval so you can compare the two scenarios.

To secure more property, we need to borrow money from the bank, as we don’t have any cash savings in this scenario. We just have our equity, which is $200,000 – the difference between the value of the property and the mortgage balance.

The bank’s won’t let us use all this equity (nor should anyone seriously consider it), but in this property portfolio strategy build, we are going to have to use up to 90% of the equity in this property and across the portfolio initially as we build it out to meet the challenge of in 10 years having no principal residence debt.

It’s important to stress at this point that taking on higher debt does increase your financial risk, so do not try to replicate this example strategy without seeking advice from a qualified and licensed finance broker, as your circumstances more than likely will be very different from this illustrated example.

Once again, to best illustrate this example scenario, we need to document all the moving parts in terms of the variables and assumptions behind the ‘real’ numbers.


  • Interest rate on all lending/borrowing at 5% over the 10 year period
  • Household expenditure indexing at 3%
  • Incomes increasing each year at 3%
  • Rental occupancy of 95%
  • Holding/maintenance costs of 1% of purchase price, then indexing at 3% per year
  • All properties purchased in joint names-50/50 ownership of taxation calculations
  • Purchase costs at 5% of the property values
  • Property management fees of 7.7%
  • Capitalisation of LMI onto new loans

With the above variables and assumptions in mind, and in determining the value of each investment property purchase, we need to be mindful of several other factors, such as the goal we are trying to achieve within the 10-year timeframe.

This means we need to accumulate as much value in the properties as we can, ensuring they are sufficiently positively geared and trying to limit any downside valuation risk, because more often than not most cash flow positive properties do carry higher volatility in terms of their valuation fluctuations.

Purchase price: $550,000
Target yield: 6.5%
Annual growth target: 5%

Depreciation: $220,000 building write-downs
Fixtures and fittings: $35,000 write-downs
Timing: Immediately

I have led with a higher-value price point of $550,000, focusing on a good yield target of 6.5% and an annual growth target of 5%. In purchasing this property I have focused on some steady growth in addition to the cash flow focus.

Over time this will serve the investor well, as beyond the 10-year target this property will deliver a good mix of yield and growth. In addition, and in support of the cash flow focus, the property needs to have $220,000 in building depreciation and at least $35,000 in fitting and fixture write-downs. This property will be acquired immediately.

Purchase price: $450,000
Target yield: 7%
Annual growth target: 4.5%

Depreciation: $170,000 building write-downs
Fixtures and fittings: $28,000 write-downs
Timing:6 months after first purchase

The second property will have a lower purchase price of $450,000, with a slightly higher yield target of 7% but a lower growth target of 4.5% per annum. I call this a yield-weighted property, whereby the yield/income is more important than the growth story.

By focusing on a lower price point, it makes it easier to find properties that offer this level of yield, as opposed to the higher-value properties where higher yields are harder to achieve unless it’s a remote or mining town location.

Once again I have factored in depreciation benefits – at least $170,000 on building write-downs and $28,000 in fitting and fixture write-downs. This property in my modelling would be acquired six months after the first property.

Purchase price: $250,000
Target yield: 7%
Annual growth target: 4%

Depreciation: $135,000 building write-downs
Fixures and fittings: $15,000 write-downs
Timing: 6 months after the second property

The final property we need to acquire is a true little ‘cash cow’. At a purchase price of $250,000 this property is pretty much all about yield – at 7.5%, with the growth target at 4% per annum.

I’ve intentionally focused on a lower valuation on this purchase, because this is where you secure the higher-yield outcomes, and it is very much a yield play.

On the depreciation front I’ve factored in $135,000 of building write-down provisions and $15,000 worth of fixture and fitting write-downs. In terms of timing, this purchase would be made six months after the second property.

How the assumptions were made
In terms of the properties and the depreciation estimates I’ve used, they are consistent with properties that are about five years old.

The couple would need to acquire three properties in relatively quick succession – each different to the other and each serving a purpose in providing improved monthly household cash flow surpluses to get the home mortgage down more quickly.

My modelled result tells us that the principal home loan will be paid off in just under 10 years with the above property portfolio plan, and factoring in all the detailed variations and assumptions that are ‘real’ factors in testing the numbers and the possibility of this scenario working.

STRATEGY 1: Paying extra to the mortgage, investments
If our pure focus was to pay off the mortgage in 10 years, with just the monthly surplus we would end up with a debt of $153,000 remaining against an estimated property valuation of $1.164m.

Strategy 1
Total debt against the home: $153,000
Home value: $1.164m

STRATEGY 2: Investing in three properties
Year 1
Total debt: $1.3m
Total property portfolio: $3.213m

Strategy 2
Debt: Nil
Passive income: $209,400 pa
Total value of properties: $5.878m

Comparing Strategy 1 & 2

In our new scenario we have no personal mortgage against our owner-occupier home, but we do have deductible investment debt of $1.3m against an estimated total property portfolio of $3.213m.

The modelling illustrates an over $900,000 improvement in wealth after 10 years, and as time moves forwards the total investment debt will be paid off by May 2036, at which time our modelling indicates the passive income being generated by these three rental properties will be $209,400 (in future-value terms). Even more impressive is that the total value of all their properties is projected at $5.878m.

Looking for the type of properties that suit the above strategies? GO Here and lets see if we can help find what you are looking for.

38 Reasons to get excited bout the Cairns economy in 2017

38 reasons to get excited about the Cairns economy in 2017

It’s clear the sense of anticipation for growth and prosperity in the Cairns economy that percolated in the latter half of 2016 wasn’t just a pipe dream.

Projects long talked about like Nova City are set to turn the first sod, the major hotel redevelopments by GA Group are underway and the Cairns Aquarium is preparing to open its doors.

Most importantly, the fundamentals of our economy are sound.

The Australian dollar is stable and could even drop further, providing favourable international conditions for another bumper year in tourism.

Local house prices are steady and predicted to gradually rise, unlike the bubbles some fear are close to bursting in capital cities down south.

The rental vacancy rate is still incredibly tight, meaning more houses will need to be built as our population grows.

Best of all, jobs are finally being created after an unflattering run of sky-high unemployment.

From tourism to construction to the health sector, from agriculture to the marine industry, the experts all believe in a bright future for Tropical North Queensland.

Here’s our comprehensive list of all the reasons you should too…


1. Australian dollar will stay low

We all know the Tropical North’s tourism industry relies heavily on a low Aussie dollar, and the good news on this front is set to continue in 2017.

In his recent forecast, AMP Capital’s chief economist Dr Shane Oliver predicts the Australian dollar will fall below $US0.70 in 2017.

Our tourism industry – and the broader regional economy – certainly hope he’s right.

2. Hotels are so hot right now

The lower dollar is of course a major factor behind our tourism boom, which in turn is fuelling remarkable results in local hotels.

Recent accommodation statistics show occupancy rates hovering above 90 percent compared to around 70 percent in 2012. And that’s led to a wave of hotel purchases, including the massive play by GA Group in the CBD.

Cairns hotels are doing so well a recent report by Knight Frank described our city as the “standout performer” on the national accommodation scene. If the sector stays buoyant, expect more redevelopments and expansions in the year ahead.

3. HMAS Cairns expansion

Some 12 months ago, the Turnbull Government came to town with a big swag of loot and a bunch of promises to expand our navy base.

The $120 million, 10-year plan included additional wharf space and infrastructure upgrades to support the arrival of 12 new Offshore Patrol Vessels.

To help broaden our economic base beyond an over-reliance on tourism, we’re hoping for some action from the Feds on this core promise in 2017.

4. We’re not Townsville

OK, so that’s a bit cruel. While we don’t buy in to the hackneyed Cairns vs Townsville rivalry of days gone by, we do think a humble comparison between the two North Queensland cities is a worthwhile exercise – if only to put our own situation in perspective.

While things aren’t perfect in the Cairns economy, we are outperforming our friends in Townsville on a range of economic fronts, in large part due to their struggle to adjust to the end of the mining boom.

Whenever someone complains how bad things are going in Cairns, encourage them to view the glass as half full compared to other regions.

5. We’re not Mackay either

OK, that was too much. Moving on…

6. Cairns Aquarium will open

One of the most anticipated tourism infrastructure projects in decades is due to open its doors in coming months. And we can’t wait.

Apart from the confidence its construction has helped foster and the 130+ operational jobs it will create, we’re particularly excited about the long-term benefits the Cairns Aquarium will bring to the Cairns CBD.

For too long, the city centre was an after-thought for tourists who only ever came for the reef and rainforest. Soon, there’ll be even more reasons to stay in the tropical north longer.

7. Cairns Performing Arts Centre will near completion

Say what you will about the protracted history of a performing arts venue in Cairns, the fact is we’re looking forward to the opening of the Cairns Performing Arts Centre.

While the council says the project will be completed in early 2018, we love watching the progress on site as the building rises out of the ground.

With funding from all three levels of government locked in, the CPAC includes a new 940-seat venue, a 400-seat performance space and other upgraded facilities.

We can’t wait to see what shows are in store once it’s built.


8. We could get regular direct flights between China and Cairns

It’s a case of long talked about but never secured when it comes to year-round direct flights from China. 

But our soaring tourism industry and a new funding deal with the State Government means we are closer than ever to securing that jewel in the crown of our aviation sector.

Negotiations are underway with airlines like China Southern and China Eastern with hopes a regular service would boost Chinese visitation by 15 percent, some 30,000 extra tourists per year.

Here’s hoping we get an official announcement by year’s end.

9. Construction will start on the first Nova City tower

After the disappointment over Aquis, our city needed a major project to boost our flagging confidence.

Singapore’s Aspial Corporation and its development arm World Class Global delivered that and more, with its Nova City project on Spence St launching apartment sales and starting earthworks in the second half of 2016.

With sales of the first tower called Nova Light reportedly going strongly, expect construction to start on this important development in coming months.

Another crane on our skyline will do wonders for our collective confidence.

10. House prices are tipped to increase

The median house price remained flat through most of 2016, finishing last year at around $391,000.

But the continued strength of the tourism industry, rising economic confidence and the forecast of more jobs (particularly in construction and health) means experts are tipping prices to steadily increase over the next 12 months.

11. Health jobs as part of the NDIS will be created

The State Government says around 19,000 new jobs will be created across the state when the NDIS is rolled out over the next couple of years.

The scheme will open up opportunities in Cairns for everything from support workers to yoga instructors.

12. Tradewinds Esplanade redevelopment is in full swing

Along with the Nova City project, the arrival of GA Group into Cairns has been a massive boon for our economy.

Expect the company’s influence to ramp up in 2017 as work progresses on the Rydges Tradewinds redevelopment, a project worth an estimated $100 million led by Andy Taylor and his local firm Prime Constructions.

13. Shields St is being upgraded

Cairns Regional Council has done an exceptional job of starting community projects at a time when our economy needed it most.

With the Lake St redevelopment now widely considered a masterstroke of urban renewal, the council is flat-out sprucing up nearby Shields St.

Work on landscaping, lighting, public art and green spaces along Shields St are well underway.

Stage 3 of the redevelopment will commence in the next month or so, with the total project worth more than $17 million.

14. Renewable energy projects will light up this year

Billionaires like Elon Musk can’t be wrong: renewable energy is big business.

Here at TropicNow we’re keen to see 2017 be the year of progress and completion of key green power projects like the Mt Emerald Wind Farm, the Lakeland Solar Farm Project and MSF Sugar’s bagasse-fuelled power station near Mareeba.

These three projects alone are worth a combined $475 million and send a powerful, innovative economic message to the world.

15. Cairns Marine Precinct upgrades set to commence

Talks are underway between Federal departments, Ports North and local shipyards about utilising the Turnbull Government’s $24 million election pledge to upgrade our marine facilities.

Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch tells TropicNow the election promise will translate to action sooner rather than later.

We’ll be tracking the progress of this important economic driver to make sure it does.

16. Port Douglas Marina redevelopment has been approved

Douglas Shire mayor Julia Leu and her council team have given this exciting $85 million project the green light after much local debate.

The approval means the potential for 320 jobs and a further 300 indirect can now progress, Reef Marina co-owner Andrew Hooper-Nguyen confirming the first stage to be rolled out will include boardwalks and 19 of 85 luxury waterfront townhouses and apartments.

17. Looming state election means big promises

The predicted impact of One Nation in regional seats at the next Queensland election means both major parties will need to dig deep into their bag of campaign tricks to woo voters in the Tropical North.

What will Labor and the LNP conjure up for us? We’ve got a long list of infrastructure priorities, in case they need ideas.

18. Population growth

All of this confidence and these projects inevitably lead to one of the greatest economic drivers of them all: population growth.

New residents create new businesses, jobs and consumer demand.

Rick Carr from Herron Todd White fears the state government’s population projections of 223,000 residents by 2036 are woefully short.

Other research suggests the tourism boom and flow-on effects over the next decade will see our population reach much loftier heights.

The key, of course, is how we manage and accommodate the growth while maintaining our enviable lifestyle.

19. Population growth means we need to build more homes

The construction sector, from residential to commercial, has done it extremely tough since the Global Financial Crisis reared its ugly head back in 2006-07.

But demand has been slowly picking up in the past 12 months, though building approvals remain low.

Expect this to change in 2017 as the rubber hits the road on job creation and economic growth.

20. Expansion of Cairns Convention Centre is on the agenda

This is another long-talked about project we desperately need to help grow our economy.

We know the Cairns Convention Centre is world-class, and events like the universally acclaimed Australian Tourism Exchange in 2014 proved we can host world-class conference events.

But we’re missing out on those large-scale events due to current floor space restrictions.

21. School of Arts redevelopment due to open

Another great project by Cairns Regional Council that has now been completed ahead of its official opening in July, including the brand new Cairns Museum.

22. D-day for Aquis

Have we given up on Aquis entirely? Probably, yes.

But at the very least 2017 will be the year we will know once and for all if the Fung family are going to do anything on the Yorkey’s Knob site they have kept options over for the past couple of years.

23. KUR-World will need to stack up

This year we’ll know whether the massive, mixed-use development at Kuranda known as KUR-World is more than just a great idea on paper.

The developer Ken Lee is seeking investors for his grand $640 million project.

Could this be the year he finds them?

24. James Cook University opens its CBD campus

The rise and rise of CQUni has pushed JCU to do what it should’ve years ago: open a campus in the Cairns CBD.

The $10 million project on Shields St is yet another shot in the arm for our city heart.

25. CQUniversity plans expansion

The approval of a $20 million plan to expand the Cairns Square building on the corner of Abbott and Shields St paves the way for more growth at CQUniversity’s CBD campus.

The proposed extra two storeys mean CQUni can start strategising about ways to meet its target of 2000 domestic and 500 international students by 2020.

26. Food and beverage scene will continue to grow

We’ve devoted a lot of editorial space highlighting and celebrating the evolution of the Cairns food scene.

From small bars like Three Wolves and Harvest to suburban trail-blazers like NOA and Mama Coco – not to mention our world-class coffee and café scene – we’re excited about what the year ahead might bring in our food and hospitality sector.

Perhaps this year we might see the neglected southern suburbs of Cairns receive a much-needed boost with a high-quality café or restaurant offering?

27. Northern Australia white paper

This is still a happening thing, right? We certainly hope so.

Let’s push for 2017 to be the year of action on this much hyped, long delayed body of work led in large part by Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch.

28. Sea Swift expansion

The growing economic clout of Sea Swift has always been under-estimated in the company’s home town of Cairns.

The company employs over 400 people and its expansion into the Northern Territory means it has cemented its status as Australia’s largest privately owned shipping company.

Sea Swift celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2017 – a milestone the entire community should celebrate.

29. Frank Gelber’s prediction

As one of Australia’s most respected and renowned financial forecasters, economist Frank Gelber has described Cairns as a “boom town”, set to ride tourism’s wave over the next five years.

Check out issue 2 of Tropic Magazine for more on Gelber’s exciting predictions for our city.

30. Challenges present opportunities

Youth unemployment and a potential construction skills shortage are both major challenges for the Cairns economy in 2017.

We’d love to see some clear-cut, accountable strategies in place to address these pressing issues.

Even better, governments at all levels should work together to find innovative ways of tackling both issues at the same time.

A large cohort of unemployed youngsters surely presents opportunities for new apprenticeships and employment pathways into carpentry, electrical, plumbing and other trades.

30. CBD is getting its mojo back

Here at TropicNow we’ve long advocated for a more vibrant, livable and economically buoyant Cairns CBD.

A range of developments and initiatives in the second half of 2016 look like setting this wish in motion over the next 12 months.

Small bars, world-class cafes, small businesses, the council’s Shields St redevelopment and the expansion of universities are all creating the type of city heart we want to spend time in.

There’s still one key ingredient missing however: small-scale residential living options.

32. To dredge or not to dredge

Seriously, what is happening with the dredging of Trinity Inlet?

Ports North and the state government have been working on a revised, scaled back plan for what feels like forever.

Some clarity sooner rather than later this year is needed. The booming cruise ship industry won’t hang around and wait indefinitely for action.

33. Regional casino license will be sorted out

In case you missed it, there’s still a casino license up for grabs in regional Queensland.

With Aquis backing out of the process for its Yorkey’s Knob project, the state government says it is in talks with other proponents to build an integrated resort and casino development somewhere outside Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

While details are a closely guarded state secret, Cairns is one of only two or three cities suitable for such a development.

A preliminary report on potential proponents and cities will be presented to State Development Minister Anthony Lynham in coming months. Could a new casino still be on the cards for Cairns?

32. More foodie events

For years we’ve watched with envy as capital cities host mouth-watering foodie events like pop-up restaurants and food truck weekends.

Thanks to trailblazers like Mama Coco’s pop-up menus, the Cairns on a Fork event at Redlynch and our own Meet Eat Repeat street food event, our local food scene is catching up.

Foodie events are important to our economy for a bunch of reasons, not least of which is the contribution they make to a vibrant lifestyle that attracts and retains residents in our city.

Hot tip: Don’t miss Meet Eat Repeat 2 at the Cairns West Bowls Club on March 25th!

35. Major roads are being upgraded

A growing city needs adequate transport infrastructure.

While Mayor Bob Manning’s plan for a light rail system is a long-term vision, we’re pleased to see action on items like the Bill Fulton Bridge and the Peninsula Development Road.

Still, we’d like to see movement this year on key projects like the Western Arterial Road and continued improvements on the Bruce Highway.

At the 2016 Federal election, the Turnbull Government made a $42 million promise to upgrade sections of the Hann Highway – some progress on that project would be welcomed.

36. Demand for our agricultural produce will grow

Experts say demand and prices for products like milk and beef will rise in 2017 after a few tough years due to drought and export restrictions.

Sugar, too, is expected to fare better over the next 12 months. We’d like to see a greater focus this year on the Tropical North becoming a premium producer of agricultural exports to Asia.

Could 2017 be the year a strategy is developed to map the opportunities and address the obstacles?

37. Jobs are finally being created

For so long the unemployment rate remained stubbornly high, at one point reaching crisis levels as one of the worst in the nation.

It’s taken some time for the tourism boom to filter down through the broader economy.

In the second half of 2016, though, that started to change.

Conus economist Pete Faulkner has noted a positive upswing in the local jobs market of late, saying Cairns was producing “stellar results” on the employment front.

With a range of factors (from construction to the NDIS) ramping up in 2017, we expect this promising trend to continue.

38. We live in the best city in Australia

Melbourne may have its world-class culture and art scene and Sydney its glorious harbour, but no matter where we travel across the nation we love flying back home.

Our laidback lifestyle and natural environment, the return of economic confidence and our connectivity to the world are what entice investors to spend millions on projects and tourists to flock here in droves.

Most of all we love the multicultural mix and sense of community that makes Cairns the kind of tropical world city we’re proud to call home.

The importance of THIS June 30th versus other years

Although it’s only early May, June 30 is fast approaching and I would like to touch on a number of changes to be aware of in the property industry come July 1st 2017.

1. VICTORIA. If you are looking at purchasing an apartment or Townhouse in Victoria get your skates on as from July 1st FULL stamp duty applies to off plan purchases….

For instance a purchase price of an “off plan” property in Victoria of say 500K today would attract stamp duty of about 2K….If you sign off on a contract AFTER 1st July 2017 then full stamp duty applies in the region of 20K

2. QUEENSLAND..The first home buyers grant of 20K for new or off plan purchases comes to an end $30th June so again if you are a first home buyer in Queensland you should now have your “ducks in order” ready to make your move.

3. HIGH INCOME EARNERS. If you are looking at a substantial income tax bill 2016-2017 you can claim a large deduction if you are in a position to purchase and settle on a property prior to June 30th 2017…Basically you can pay interest in advance on the property in this financial year FOR NEXT YEAR and lowering your taxable income this year.

4 TAKE ADVANTAGE OF DEVELOPERS AND BUILDERS. Its no secret that developers and builders like to head into a new year, (whether it be end of financial year or just end of the year) with sales under their belt.

Therefore in many cases incentives are offered to secure sales leading up to these dates and it is where I will be focusing on over the next few weeks for clients to secure the best deals possible, but you need to put your hand up and let me know what your requirements are if you wish to take advantage of these deals.

“To create massive leverage I need to have keen buyers ready to make a move and if you are keen to buy in 2017, why not take advantage of the group leverage we can create today”

E.G If I approach developers/builders with a list of keen buyers ready to act then I know great deals can be done.

On the other hand if I approach developers/builders for stock to introduce to my clients then we maybe looking at a sale here and there, but it does not create any kind of leverage.

As you can see by the reasons above, there are plenty of reasons to laser focus on 30th June 2017 if saving money, reducing tax and securing great deals are on your agenda.

By the way, this is very important if you are purchasing off plan in Victoria your contract needs to be signed off by both parties and dated on or before 30th June 2017. If you are unsure speak with your solicitor today.

Well that’s all from me for now, if you need help sourcing a property that suits your needs whether you are a first home buyer, high income earner or first time investor I deal with hundreds of developers and builders across Australia and can help you find what you are looking for, but I need you to raise your hand……So may I ask, do want to secure a great deal prior to 30th June?


Migration to Queensland

Property in Brisbane is now officially half the price of Sydney.

Sydney’s median house price today’s sits at 1.1 million dollars its officially twice the price of Brisbane’s median house price of $540,000.

Due to the affordability on offer in Queensland and the fact that massive spending on infrastructure projects is underway interstate migration is set to increase substantially to the “Sunshine State” from families living in areas such as NSW.

Real Estate Institute of Queensland chairman Rob Honeycombe said the economic performance of New South Wales over Queensland in recent years was partly responsible for the huge price differential.

“It was inevitable that we’d see a widening gap in median house prices and the latest stats shouldn’t come as any surprise,” he said.

“There’s a pretty consistent pattern in interstate migration following house price growth in Sydney particularly. People regularly move to chase work and employment opportunities, but lifestyle is also a huge factor.”

Honeycombe said Queensland had long been the happy recipient of strong interstate migration and the trend was likely to continue given the property price disparity between the two states.

Honeycombe believes that Queensland’s employment fortunes are on the improve, which, along with housing affordability, will underpin future strong interstate migration growth into the state.

“The house price gap is just too large,” he said.

“People can save so much money by making that move, and that’s going to start to become very attractive for those who either already own a home in Sydney or who are weighing up the option of buying in Sydney.”

So which areas will people move to in Queensland?……..Brisbane and surrounds are obvious choices but their are many other regional areas on the radar.

To help you as an investor work out which will be the most attractive areas for growth over the next few years, the following statistics from Queensland Government treasury re projected population growth to 2036 may help.

Many of the above areas have been through the doldrums in the past few years and yet to begin their growth cycles.

This offers investors the opportunity to purchase while prices are very affordable plus take advantage of low vacancy rates and excellent rental returns.

Areas such as Ipswich already has great momentum, Cairns is set to begin a growth surge and Townsville may yet be some way off but its turn will come in the near future.

If you need reports/statistics or a quality new property in any of the above areas feel free to call Terry on 0412472172.