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Surfers Paradise commercial market update: An interview with Greg Bell

By Greg Bell

The Surfers Paradise property market has been through some immense changes over the last few decades, and Greg Bell has been an important part of many of them. Along with his brother Andrew, Greg owns and operates the Ray White Surfers Paradise Group, and has done for the last 25 years.

During that time, the business has grown to include commercial and residential operations, along with more specific markets, such as the marine sector. Today, Ray White Surfers Paradise is one of the largest and most successful agencies in the country and within the Ray White international network. 

With all of this in mind, there aren't many people who know more about the region's property market than Greg, so we sat down with him to discuss what's happening on the commercial side of things. 

The post-GFC property market

Over the last few years, we've seen a steady increase in commercial property values, and the first factor that Greg identifies in contributing to this is the positive growth following the move out of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). During the GFC, property in Southeast Queensland endured a pretty torrid time, particularly the residential and commercial sectors which fell significantly in value. 

"Since about 2012, we've been slowly recovering," said Greg. "As interest rates fell, our yields were a lot higher so we started to look really attractive to interstate investors, which is really what fuelled the market."

While this growth could be seen throughout the Gold Coast, Greg emphasises that commercial real estate presented the stronger investment for the likes of superannuations funds, due to a much higher return. Within the commercial sector, properties for industrial, retail and office use have all seen significant interest from potential buyers than in previous years, with the last 18 to 24 months in particular seeing a significant number of sales. 

In terms of which commercial investments are leading the pack, Greg does say that he's seen an increased focus on the "quality of the tenant" as well as other factors such as location. In addition, while all aspects of commercial real estate are doing well, retail does stand out as a top performer. 

The future of the Gold Coast

Speaking about the future of the region and the potential for more people to move into the region, Greg believes that our best days are still ahead of us. This is particularly visible in the many different developments currently underway throughout the area. 

"As we head towards the [2018] Commonwealth Games, it's not about the 11 days of competition. It's about the money that goes into infrastructure and creating jobs," he said. 

From Stage 2 of the Gold Coast Light Rail through to the expanded capacity of the Gold Coast Airport, there are thousands of workers being employed in construction projects across transport, accommodation and entertainment projects. In addition to these, a lot of sites have been sold recently, with cranes popping up all over the place and creating the potential for even more large scale work. 

These sorts of operations should result in population growth, which Greg identifies as something very important to the area. "We need to get to 800,000 to a million people over the next 15 to 20 years" In fact, Greg believes that within the next 25 years, the Gold Coast will be an extended part of greater Brisbane, especially with a lot of interest from people currently living in Melbourne and Sydney. These sorts of buyers might not be looking to move, but in terms of an investment, the Gold Coast offers a significantly better bang for their buck then they'll get in the big state capitals. 

For more information on all things to do with commercial real estate on the Gold Coast, get in touch with Ray White Surfers Paradise today.

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