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  • Gavin King

    Tropic Now editor

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    Cairns property market shakes off the Aquis factor

    Increasing confidence and a shared realisation over the Aquis rollercoaster seems to be spurring a seller's renaissance in the Cairns real estate market.

    It's taken nearly two years and one hell of a rollercoaster ride, but the shadow of Aquis hanging over the Cairns property market may finally be lifting.

    The city has been in the grip of what some are calling an "Aquis curse", a situation where homeowners have held off putting their homes on the market to wait for the multi-billion dollar boom that never came.

    But local real estate agents and home builders are now reporting a steady increase in economic confidence and a rise in the number of homes being put up for sale.

    Matt Powe from McGrath Estate Agents said Cairns was a rising market with more sellers and increasing inquiries from buyers.

    Other real estate industry observers have recently noted similar positive trends in the local market.

    "Previously potential sellers would hang their hat on Aquis, but now people just aren't talking about the project and seem to be moving on instead," he said.

    "They've had their plans on ice waiting for Aquis to start but with all the ups and downs of the project they're now putting those plans into action."

    "There are definitely more properties coming on to the market, a real boost in the past month or so.

    "This time I get the sense Cairns is in for a steadier rise with more sustainable growth rather than the type of quick boom we used to get in the past.

    "Properties that are well priced and marketing well are selling quickly but there are still some properties that aren't quite meeting the market that are sitting there, so it feels likes there's a good balance at the moment."

    Peter Musso from the Property Shop is particularly buoyant about the local real estate market.

    "There are a record number of properties on the market in Cairns at the moment," he said.

    "It seems that sellers are tired of waiting for the market to rise. There's some great buying at the moment."

    These anecdotal observations are matched by recent data analysed by Rick Carr from Herron Todd White.

    According to a recent Cairns Watch report, steadily increasing prices are attracting more vendors into the market.

    "The volume of property for sale is still rising due to new listings still exceeding the now reduced levels of sales," Mr Carr wrote.

    "The number of properties listed for sale stood in trend terms at approximately 2,800 in the June quarter of 2016, consisting of approximately 1,850 houses and 950 units."

    There's a similarly positive trend occuring in the home building sector.

    Troy Cavallaro from Allaro Homes told TropicNow he had seen a month-on-month rise in the number of inquiries and new home builds.

    "I would say that things have picked up dramatically... each month is better than the last," he said.

    "We're getting our inquiries from far and wide and we're building homes across the region, from Port Douglas to Mission Beach and up to the Tablelands.

    "People aren't looking at Aquis anymore for a few reasons. You've got two or three cranes on the skyline now and the Nova City project is progressing, which has just about replaced the whole Aquis factor.

    "There's enough momentum in our region as it is, and I think people are realising we don't have to rely on Aquis going ahead to grow our economy."