Expert Advice with Todd Hunter. 5/04/2017

For a long time, the Sunny Coast has been a great location for holiday goers and property investors. It’s a strong market for those with enough extra cash to even own a holiday house or investment unit in Noosa and the surrounding suburbs, so that they could holiday cheaply and still receive an income on their investment.

The major influx of people moving to the area, along with a high tourism population, has seen some fairly significant infrastructure projects now being approved and underway. And understandably the property market has responded accordingly, with property prices starting to show a significant increase in value in the past 2 years.

After being up there recently, I have to say I wasn’t a real fan of Noosa as a holiday destination, but each to their own. I was there to research the location and really see what potential investing locations I could sniff out.

And typical of the SE QLD area, mother nature let us know who was in control. The weather was fairly ordinary, and then sunny, and then poured with rain, and then and then and then. Sounds like a scene from ‘Dude, Where’s My Car?’

But that wasn’t all that mother nature had in store for us. As a believer of global warming and an investor of property anywhere in the world I see opportunity, I must consider the effects of global warming.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to preach about the effects and how we should be living a cleaner life. I don’t even see it really affecting my life in any significant way. It will be a problem for our children increasingly and their children even more so.

But I do see a problem that may well affect Noosa and Tewantin in the near future. And if I am right, Noosa’s economy along with their property market will see a major correction. Meaning many will go bankrupt.

For the first time in history, the irukandji jellyfish has migrated south as far as the southern tip of Fraser Island. As of early January 2017, there were 9 reported stings on the southern tip of the island alone. Now irukandji follow the warm tides of the Australian east coast current and this year the ocean temps are higher than usual allowing them migrate further south than they have ever done before.

Now you may say, 'So what? they are at Fraser Island!' But jump onto Google maps and see how close the southern tip of Fraser Island is to Noosa. Its one headland away. Yeah, they are literally around the corner.

Already the media are saying that they are not sure if the stings on these nine people were from irukandji or another jelly fish. But the signs these people had are leading one way. And I am sure Fraser Coast Tourism is down playing this as Fraser Island is also a huge tourism destination.

Now for those who don’t know, an irukandji has a sting 100 times as potent as that of a cobra and 1,000 times stronger than a tarantula. These jellyfish don’t muck around!

So let’s picture this, one person swimming in Noosa gets stung by one irukandji. It will hit the press but will be down played by the tourism board as another species. Then a second person is stung. Same thing happens. But what about when 20 people in one day get stung?

Noosa will look like a bad scene from Jaws, a mass exodus from the water. And a fear of EVER going back in.

How will that affect tourism numbers the following year?

The numbers could drop by two thirds overnight. Businesses would struggle the following year to afford to stay open. Commercial vacancies on Hastings street would increase significantly and property prices would plummet.

Now it may sound like I’m over dramatising the situation here, so ask yourself; if you were holidaying in Noosa and the day before twenty people had supposed irukandji stings, would you allow your children to go swimming at the beach? Or what if one of the people stung were your children? Would you back the following year?

I think we can safely safe that the answer is No!

You’d probably look at alternative solutions like the Gold Coast or the south coast of NSW.

This may well only affect the beachside or rivers edge suburbs but with over 2,000 jellyfish stings in one weekend in mid January, this could soon be a reality.


Todd Hunter is director, buyer’s agent and location researcher for Sydney-based wHeregroup. He is an active property investor himself and amassed a portfolio of 50 properties by the age of 31. For more of Todd's musings, see his Expert Advice section on our website OR visit the wHeregroup blog.

Disclaimer: while due care is taken, the viewpoints expressed by contributors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Your Investment Property.