Tighter lending conditions hit Port Douglas housing market


Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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OPTIMISTIC: Realtor Mark Flinn is optimistic planned developments in Port Douglas will have a positive impact on the housing market. Image: Newsport.

Property sales in Port Douglas have dipped slightly over the past 12 months, but this is being attributed to the banks tightening up on lending, rather than a change in market conditions.

In the year to date, there has been 390 sales compared to the previous year’s total of 438 sales.

“With the banks, we are now advising buyers to be extremely thorough with their loan applications and spending time setting them up.

“They can then come to us knowing what the banks’ lending criteria will be for them personally,” says Mark Flinn, Sales Manager and Licensee for Ray White Port Douglas.

“I have found if buyers are organized and know what the banks want, they can then start being careful with spending etc., before applying for the loan, and to stop any objections from the bank when they apply for the loan,” he said.

Reflecting on the past year, Mr Flinn said the market has been hot and cold, but you have to accept that in small town you have to ride the highs with the lows.

“I think the market has shown some signs of levelling out which is not unusual when the southern markets start to slow down,” he said.

Mr Flinn said that most of their sales lately had come out of NSW and Victoria.

In terms of our competitors, Mr Flinn said Palm Cove had considerably lifted their game.

“I would say that our competitors are Whitsundays, Gold Coast and then Palm Cove locally.

“We did lose a few sales to Palm Cove – more so over the past 10 years though – where prior to that we didn't find Palm Cove as much competition,” said Mr Flinn.

So what’s the outlook for 2019?

“As I have mentioned previously, we are a boutique/micro market, so I still believe that if we can get some positive news around the Marina and a few more projects and developments happening in the area, we can still be optimistic for 2019.

“I think Council should also try hard to push through some of the projects they are earmarking, eg Warner Street, along with pushing the state government to assist with bringing the sugar mill to life again. This will then help with optimism in the area into 2019.”

Crystalbrook Collection is expected to submit their second DA to Council some time next year to re-develop the Marina.

Crystalbrook CEO Mark Davie was recently quoted as saying: “We are as patient as until the next best opportunity comes along.” 

In responding to whether this comment raises any concerns if any decision by Council may not be favourable in terms of the future of the Marina, Mr Flinn said “I think that they are a large enterprise and that patience can only run for so long.

“This is where our local council needs to step up and roll out the red carpet out and work with them and contribute as many resources as possible to get a result where our community wins first and then Crystalbrook Collection also wins.

“As in business, which this is, everyone needs to have a win and I believe that this is possible for both parties to have large wins in this project.”

Mr Flinn said the flow on effect from this project will be enormous.

“It doesn't take a lot for a small town to prosper, and I want to see more local jobs for our residents and our kids in the area and into the future, which I believe that this will provide," he said. 

“I believe that we all need growth in our communities and markets to prosper.”



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