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High rise apartments in Gold Coast performing well

The report, undertaken by Colliers International senior analyst Lynda Campbell, found high rise apartment sales accounted for 394 unconditional sales across 29 developments in the March 2008 quarter.

11 of these projects had an average price of over $2 million and were situated on prime sites by, or within walking distance of, the beach, Broadwater or esplanade.

The high rise sales were more than double the sales figure for the previous quarter and the highest number of sales recorded in the high rise sector since the survey began in December 1996.

Across the board, 577 sales were achieved, with a gross sales value of $470 million, across 75 developments stretching from Cabarita in the south to Hope Island on the Gold Coast's North Shore.

Ten new projects entered the survey during the March 2008 quarter, adding 763 apartments to the market. Six projects sold out.

Colliers International director of project marketing Queensland, Brinton Keath, said the high sales figures had gone against general market sentiment, with other segments showing signs of slowing down as buyers came to terms with higher interest rates and general market uncertainty.

"With much longer construction timeframes, whereby settlement may not be for a period of two to five years, residential investors are seeing this as the safest sub-market to invest in to ride out the current market," he said.

"This also allows them to buy at today's prices and settle in a potentially stronger market."

Raptis Group's $700 million dual tower Hilton Surfers Paradise Hotel and Residences was the best performing project, recording 160 sales in its first stage, the Boulevard Tower, which equated to around 40 percent of total high rise sales for the quarter.

This was followed by the third and final tower of the Group's Southport Central development, with 90 sales, and the Pikos Group's $90 million Pure project, with 21 sales.

The three towers were all new to the survey.
"The release of one of the largest blue chip developments Surfers Paradise has seen in recent memory, Hilton Surfers Paradise, has had a significant impact on the overall sales results for the quarter," said Mr Keath.

"This project has wide ranging local, interstate and international appeal, which has led to the strong sales figures it has already recorded.

"Buyers in the high-end market are looking for buildings with a point of difference and the Gold Coast continues to offer standout projects with high quality design, fixtures and fittings."

Ms Campbell said based on the current selling rate the high rise sector had an overall supply level of 9.3 months.

"This compares to 18.1 months supply at the end of the December 2007 quarter," she said.

"The Kirra/Tugun area has the least amount of supply with just 3.6 months followed by Surfers Paradise with 4.5 months and Main Beach with six months."

The medium rise sector, classified as developments rising up to seven storeys, slowed down during the quarter with no new projects entering the survey and 74 apartment sales recorded compared to 139 in the previous quarter.

Meriton's Brighton on Broadwater Dune project was the best performer recording 14 sales over the quarter followed by Central Apartments at Helensvale and Gallery Vie at Robina with 12 sales each.

Zone at Mermaid Beach was the most popular low rise development with 41 sales for the quarter. New projects Sidewalk on Scottsdale at Robina and Coolangatta Gold at Tugun recorded 20 and 18 sales respectively.

Surfers Paradise and Southport recorded the highest number of apartment sales, but the southern end of the Gold Coast has seen more activity as far as new projects.

"The south is becoming a hotspot of development as developers' focus shifts south," said Ms Campbell.

"The area offers proximity to the beach and arguably a quieter lifestyle. When the much awaited Tugun bypass opens in June we will see less traffic congestion in the area and less travel time to other destinations.

"Population growth will continue to drive the Gold Coast, currently sitting at 3.5 percent, well above the Queensland figure of 2.4 percent."