The changing face of Redcliffe

With hundreds of million of dollars worth of new road infrastructure underway and a finite, land-locked supply of accommodation, the booming Redcliffe peninsula is proving to be a popular investment choice. Sarah Megginson reports

Despite being situated within close proximity to the Brisbane CBD, the coastal city of Redcliffe is the opposite of hectic. The people are friendly and unhurried, and move at a relaxed pace while they shuffle between work and play. Plenty of the region’s 50,000 residents commute to Brisbane – located 30km north – for work, but with almost a dozen local schools, a public and private hospital, two marinas, several shopping centres, a couple of art galleries and a museum to boot, Redcliffe has plenty of local employment opportunities for those who wish to work closer to home.

After living for far too long in Brisbane’s shadow, Redcliffe has evolved over the last decade or two to become a cosmopolitan city in its own right.

The coastal string of close-knit suburbs located on the peninsula now boasts top-class amenities and attractions, says Andrew Reibelt from RealWay Property Consultants Redcliffe, who adds that industry insiders to have been forecasting a property price boom for the region for years, “based on its close proximity to the Brisbane CBD, together with the numerous family-safe beaches and laid back lifestyle”.

There’s been a strong ramping up of Federal and State spending on infrastructure, Reiblet says, including the new motorway link to the new Gateway Bridge.

“As a bi-product of that, a dramatic cut in travelling time is anticipated to both airports [the city council funded Redcliffe Aerodrome, and Brisbane International Airport],” Reibelt says.

A new jetty is planned, which will enhance tourist and include ferry facilities, with suggestions to link to existing water-commuter services in Brisbane city.

These upgrades and developments will improve a city that already has everything going for it, says Lynda Roberts from Gateway Property.

“I used to say to people the only thing we don’t have is an ice skating rink,” Roberts says. “As well as all of the local services and amenities, we’re right across from Moreton Island, which is like a little oasis right at your doorstep. What more could you want?”

Renovation and renewal
Redcliffe is an established neighbourhood and properties in the area are going through staggered stages of renewal, as young couples renovate and cashed-up baby boomers knock down and redevelop. There are several pockets of ex-government housing with multi-level mansions fringing the foreshore, and as a result, Redcliffe is a place where “multimillionaires and pensioners live side by side”, Roberts says.

“There are still those who come to the peninsula for a laid back life, and they just want something small and cheap to live in,” Roberts says, “and there are still flats around that accommodate them. But the demographics are changing, with young families and business people on the increase.”

Brisbane commuters view Redcliffe as a good place to live, she adds, as they can afford to rent or buy upmarket accommodation with pools, gymnasiums and security in Redcliffe for a fraction of the cost of similar abodes in Brisbane.

“Then there are the families who want to get out of suburbia, but they need to be close to jobs, schools and shops.”

The types of properties in the area are as varied as the people, she adds, with older, more affordable established properties competing for space with luxurious new developments and immaculately renovated residences.

Upgrades to infrastructure
In response to changing demographics and the region’s growing population, the landscape and local infrastructure of Redcliffe is also evolving.

“The Newport residential precinct has been extended by another stage, and the Scarborough beachfront has been upgraded, which is now extremely family friendly,” says Reibelt.

“The Margate CBD has had a major landscaping upgrade, and a multi-million boardwalk along Margate Beach has been completed. There’s also been an explosion of activity in the Woody Point precinct, with two new high-rises, Infinity Blue and Point Plaza both nearing completion. And, of course, this is notwithstanding the exciting new jetty under construction.”

There are also numerous new high-rises and two new large shopping centres “en train”, Reibelt adds – with the largest Sutton Street complex to include Woolworths as anchor tenants and a new hotel – along with the state government’s major project, the expansion of the Houghton Highway.

The $315m project will refurbish existing roads and see the Hornibrook Bridge duplicated to ease traffic congestion. Main Roads Minister Warren Pitt says the project, which is due for completion by 2011, will “vastly increase traffic capacity between the Redcliffe Peninsula and Brisbane’s northside” for the 36,000 vehicles that use the Houghton Highway every day.

Where to buy
For investors considering buying into the Redcliffe property market, the old real estate cliché of “location, location” rings true, Roberts says.

“East of Oxley Avenue is considered to be the top location, and along the Hornibrook Esplanade is sought-after – basically, anywhere within easy walking distance to the waterfront [is best],” she says.

Roberts is quick to add that the type of investment each buyer is seeking will have the greatest bearing on their property choice in Redcliffe.

“If you are buying purely as an investment, with the intention to sell at a later date, then probably an average unit or low maintenance house would be the go. Most properties in the rental range of $200 to $400 attract acceptable tenants with ease,” she says.

“But if you’re investing with the intention of retirement, then obviously the location would become much more important. Some people with big blocks are starting to sub-divide, and they’re at a premium because we’re land-locked here.”

Entry level prices start at around $250,000, which will secure an older style two-bedroom apartment located east of Oxley Avenue, and within walking distance to schools, shops, and the waterfront.

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