Tourism woes buffet coastal cities

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The strong Australian dollar and resulting slower tourism markets has resulted in coastal property markets suffering over the last year.

Figures from RP Data show that house prices in coastal areas have recorded growth of less than 10% in the last year, and rental growth of less than 5%. Tourism and 'sea change' markets have been particularly badly affected, with values in Cairns falling by by 2.7%, the Whitsunday region falling by 2.5%, and declines on the Fraser Coast of 1.6%.

"With the strength of the Aussie dollar at the moment, holidaying in Australia has become much more expensive for our overseas visitors. On the flipside however, our strong exchange rate makes holidaying abroad significantly more appealing for Australians," said Cameron Kusher, research analyst at RP Data. "Unfortunately a flow-on effect from this is that slower tourism markets tend to lead to a lack of employment in coastal regions. This then makes it difficult for owners of investment properties as they are ultimately less likely to be able to find tenants."

Lawless adds that this has been coupled with an easing of sea changers and retirees moving to coastal areas since the GFC struck.

"Many people who were perhaps looking to make the move have seen the value of any equity investments and superannuation schemes decline," he commented. "As a result, they have become more cautious about making a move."

The strongest growth in median prices was in Port Lincoln in SA where median unit prices in the region are up 34.9 per cent over the year. However, Kusher said it is important to note that this is across only a handful of sales (10 for the quarter).

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