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Bianca Keegan
Saturday, October 6, 2012
© The Cairns Post
 With interest rates down, rental vacancies at the lowest levels in six years and affordability creeping back into the Cairns market, experts say investments are ripe for the picking.
Real Estate Institute of Queensland CEO Anton Kardash says affordability in the housing market is the best it has been in Queensland in several years and vacancy rates in the Far North are well below the Queensland average.
With current vacancy rates for houses falling below 2 per cent, Cairns industry experts are tipping a rise in investment purchases.
Ray White’s Brian Bolton said the combination of factors has led to increased opportunities for investors.  
“With property prices at the lowest we have seen in a long time, I believe it is a great opportunity for investors both local and interstate to get back into the market,” he said.  
Property manager at Management Excellence in Cairns Jade Kilpatrick said she was seeing at least five applications to rent per house or unit in the Cairns region.  
“The whole process for tenants seems to be becoming more and more stressful and difficult for them,” she said. “There is less stock available so what is available has increased in price.”
She said two-bedroom furnished apartments in Cairns city were proving popular for long tenancies.  
LJ Hooker’s Amanda Boccalatte urged people waiting to invest to take the plunge.  
“The sale prices are low and there are lots of well-priced properties out there, particularly in the unit market,” she said.
“They are selling for less than a couple of years ago,  but the rental prices have not dropped at the same rate so returns are excellent – generally about 1.5 to 2 per cent better than at the peak of the market.”
While some may be concerned about higher body corporate fees, MsBoccalatte said rental returns and purchase price outweighed the fees.  
“The low vacancy we have at the moment is another plus as properties are staying vacant for less time, rents are increasing slightly in some sections of the market so maximum returns for investors can be achieved.”
When interest rates dropped this week, Member for Cairns Gavin King said Cairns should benefit from the RBA decision.
“Cairns is set to benefit from a perfect storm of positive economic factors that should help kick-start our embattled construction industry,” he said.  
“We have introduced a $15,000 building grant for new homes, reinstated the stamp duty concession saving around $7000 and streamlined various real estate processes such as scrapping the sustainability declarations.
“When combined with the extremely tight rental vacancy rate in Cairns and the rate cut, the time is ripe for new housing supply in our city.
“That means Cairns is one of the best locations in the nation to build a new home from a cost, investment and lifestyle point of view.”

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Refresh Property Australasia is a sophisticated boutique international real estate group primarily based in Australia. With a single international website and a superior brand incorporating a soft colour scheme, Refresh Property operates only in specially selected metropolitan and lifestyle locations where a savvy, discerning clientele appreciates our premium, boutique identity and unique points of difference.

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