The growing shortage of land on the Gold Coast could damage one of Queensland’s fastest growing economies and property markets, according to numerous analysts.
While there are large tracts of unimproved land, most of it isn’t really suitable for development, according to Chris Mountford, the executive director of the Queensland division of the Property Council of Australia.
“It’s not as simple as where is vacant land; it’s the appropriateness of that land. It could be high environmental value, it could be far from infrastructure,” Mountford told the Domain Group.
Mountford said the impact would be far-reaching on the district, driving up property prices and negatively impacting some of the Gold Coast’s largest industries.
“A big part of the Gold Coast’s economy has always been property and construction,” he said. “There’s tradies, plumbers, sparkies getting work off development. If we don’t ensure supply is meeting demand, that will almost certainly mean declining housing affordability.”
Indeed, failing to sustain the city’s employment sector and affordability would greatly reduce its livability.
“We want to ensure the Gold Coast remains a lovable and liveable place,” Mountford said. “What we definitely want to make sure is that everybody has their eye on the horizon.”
Michael Yardney, director of Metropole Property Strategists, said the looming economic risks should prompt stronger government action.
“This will encourage the government to make suitable land available because what little is available will become expensive and stifle the growth,” Yardney told the Domain Group.
He added that the government should continue the “snowballing” effect the Gold Coast was accumulating as Queensland’s biggest economy, behind Brisbane. However, recent infrastructure spending on the city made it unlikely governments would commit to additional spending to open up more developable land.
Alternatively, Yardney suggested governments and private enterprises focus on building up the M1.
“I believe it would make sense to develop that corridor than go further inland because there are town centres and shopping centres and infrastructure dotted along the way so that would make sense for me,” he said.