STRADBROKE BARGAINS DRYING UP

STRADBROKE BARGAINS DRYING UP

APARTMENT bargains appear to be drying up on South Stradbroke Island following the multimillion-dollar rejuvenation of Couran Cove Resort over the past year.

Realestate.com searches show apartment prices are sharply higher on the island which for years had been among the hardest hit property markets on the Gold Coast.

Apartments had sold for less than $100,000 in recent years, but buyers appear to be raising their expectations following a release of apartment stock by resort owner Craig Dowling with prices starting from $220,000.

The resort says it has secured eight contracts in the past week from the campaign.

The buyer interest appears to have rubbed off on the secondary market on the island, which includes apartments that are not in the letting pool managed by resort operator Ramada.

"While the prices in this secondary property market have substantially increased since we purchased the resort, the number of owners selling at Couran Cove has also dropped significantly,” says Couran Cove Resort chief executive John Muntz.

“There are only a handful of privately owned apartments and cabins now on the market ranging between $140,000 and $285,000, and when we first took over some properties were being marketed at below $100,000,” he says.

“The increase is significant. The majority of owners, many of them long-term investors in the island, are holding on to their Couran Cove properties now that improvements have been made and occupancy is up.”

Dowling is understood to have spent more than $10 million reviving Couran Cove Resort since purchasing the long-dormant asset from liquidators in late 2012.

Muntz says the resort put the full-house sign up over Easter and the Queen’s Birthday weekend this year, marking a big turnaround in business performance in the past 12 months.

Couran Cove is offering apartments with guaranteed returns of 7 per cent a year over two years through a lease-back arrangement.

The resort owner has just re-launched the marketing of one-bed bedroom apartments after withdrawing them from sale in January in order to complete refurbishments across the portfolio and “adjust pricing”.

Dowling’s company Couran Cove Holdings owns 100 of the resort apartments and has released 40 of them for sale.

“The one-bedroom apartments start at $250,000 and we will be releasing the two and four-bedroom apartments in the near future," Muntz says.

“The response we have had since we released the apartments again has been very encouraging.”

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