Independent and FREE - 2021 Best Online Publication

Residents head to the hills amid ‘crazy demand’ for big blocks

Independent and FREE – 2021 Best Online Publication (Qld Country Press)

Residents head to the hills amid ‘crazy demand’ for big blocks

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Breathing space: Why we are ditching small blocks in the 'burbs for greener pastures

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The COVID pandemic has sparked demand for rural acreage as Sunshine Coast families ditch crowded suburbs to live large on the fringes.

Triggered by the confinements of lockdown, buyers are wanting to spread out on big blocks where they can enjoy the outdoors.

No longer content with standard-sized land – or the ever-shrinking handkerchief lots and townhouse-living in new estates – people are instead looking to the hills.

As a result, house values have risen as much as 10 per cent in some Sunshine Coast hinterland suburbs within driving distance to beaches.

“There has definitely been a massive swing to acreage and lifestyle properties rather than condensed living,” REIQ Sunshine Coast zone chairman Matt Diesel said.


“People have experienced the pandemic for the first time and thought, if that happens again, they don’t want to the be stuck in suburbia.”

However, with fewer houses on the market than normal – with stock down as much as 40 per cent on last year – it has created a competitive environment.

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Properties that struggled to sell before the pandemic are being snapped up after lockdown well above the initial asking price.

In one example, a sprawling 1904 homestead on 4850sqm (1.2 acres) at Hunchy which had failed to move before COVID sold in a jiffy after the lockdown for $1.1million.

Property Lane realty agent Athena Law said the house at 114 Ratcliffe Road was placed on the market in January for $1.07million but was taken off for three months during the height of the pandemic.

Afterwards it was advertised for sale again and this time sold to a Melbourne buyer for $30,000 more than had initially been sought.


114 Ratcliffe Road sold for $1.1 million to a Melbourne buyer. Photo: Property Lane Realty

Ms Law said another lifestyle acreage at 48 Roys Road, Landers Shoot, with fruit trees, a dam and alpacas, smashed sales records in the area when it sold to local buyers for $1.297 million before reaching the market.

Prior to COVID the previous record for the small suburb was $970,000.

Ms Law said there had always been a “healthy interest” in living rural but the current demand was “crazy”.

“So much of it has come from COVID and locals wanting to get away from their neighbours,” she said.

“As humans it’s a survival instinct. People experienced a pandemic for the first time, and they have thought, if this happens again how can we live a better life in the next lockdown.

“Those of us who live on acreage had a good time showing off our lockdown on social media and bragging and everyone else in their apartments were thinking ‘damn you’.


“I think there is also a drive to be self-sufficient and have a sense of security in a pandemic and to have your own chooks and you can’t do that on a 600 sqm block.”

This orchard on Roys Road set a record price for Landers Shoot. Photo: Property Lane Realty.

Maleny Realty agent Jess Luthje said many buyers were moving to the hills from Brisbane after COVID enabled the freedom to work from home.

Ms Luthje said people seeking the fresh air of Maleny were not necessarily attracted by the size of the land but the location in the open countryside.

However, like other parts of the coast there was a shortage of homes for sale leading to intense competition and a rise in property values of up to 7 per cent.

“We’ve got buyers walking in with cash ready and no properties to show them,” she said.

“We have less stock than we’ve had in years because of COVID because local people do not want to leave.”


Ms Luthje said most of the potential buyers from Brisbane were attracted to the lifestyle and the town’s sense of community.

MAIN IMAGE: Heaven on a Hill by photographer Edan Raw of australianlandscapephotography.com.au