17-year drought ends as properties sell unseen


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An artist's impression from the development site called Laughing Waters Apartments. Image: Supplied
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The Covid-19 pandemic has hurt the local economy, but the real estate market is buoyant ending a 17-year drought of properties sold sight unseen.

For the first time since 2003, four properties valued between $850,000 - $1.2 million, sold sight unseen in Port Douglas in September.

These are also the first sight unseen sales for Raine & Horne Port Douglas since the real estate boom of 2003.

And savvy southern state buyers are using pest and building inspectors as an extra set of eyes before making a purchase.

David Cotton, Co-Principal of Raine & Horne Port Douglas, said: “Over the past month cooped up Victorians seeking relief from months of lockdown are desperately leading the charge for properties in Queensland’s tropical north.

“In September we sold four properties sight unseen to buyers from Melbourne. These transactions represent our first sight unseen sales since the real estate boom of 2003.”

The properties which have only recently gone under contract include a 3-bedroom duplex house that sold for $960,000 and a magnificent three-bedroom pavilion home that is under offer for just over $1 million. There is also a superb 5-bedroom 3-bathroom resort-style property that is under offer for around $900,000.

“All the properties are selling for their market prices, which all parties are delighted with,” said Cotton. The sweet spot for properties selling sight unseen to southern buyers appears to be between $850,000 - $1.2 million.

“We are even selling some off-the-plan properties sight unseen at a development site called Laughing Waters Apartments. Usually, when selling off-the-plan, buyers like to check out the development sites. However, with lockdowns and border closures, this isn’t possible,” said Cotton.

Luxury two-bedroom apartments within Laughing Waters start from $1.05 million. In September, Raine & Horne Douglas sold a three-bedroom apartment at the site at 49 Macrossan Street for $1.7 million sight unseen to an interstate buyer.

According to Cotton, the Victorian buyers are a mix of owner-occupiers anxious to make an immediate move to the sun and sea of Queensland’s magnificent Coral Coast, as well as investors who plan to move to the region once they wind up their affairs down south.

“Given the Victorians are in lockdown, we’ve used video to provide buyers with virtual tours with a running commentary,” he said.

While the interstate buyers are making their purchasing decisions sight unseen, they have all visited Port Douglas in the past, said Cotton.

“All the buyers are familiar with our region as they have been here previously and know what they are looking for in a Port Douglas or Mossman home. They are using our eyes and the eyes of the inspectors to make sure they are securing a suitable property.

“Some of the buyers plan to keep homes in the southern capitals and follow the sun here as the winters take hold in Sydney and Melbourne,” he said. 

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