Housing crisis calls for desperate measures

Vanessa Bacon-Hall


It is an all too common occurrence lately – a look on any social media platform shows scores of people pleading for new places to call home and people desperately making a call out within their local community for somewhere to live.

Local woman Kristi Smith found herself in this situation and took matters into her own hands and posted a video on a Coolum community board on Face Book – asking for anywhere that her family could move into after their home of six years was placed on the market and sold within one day.

“I have never asked for help before, but I was desperate,” Kristi said.

“We were given four weeks to move.

“I was hoping that maybe someone might have a large powered shed that we could move into or even a caravan.”

With nearly ten thousand views, Kristi’s plea for help did not go unnoticed by the local community with many offering help of some sort.

“We had a few take over leases offered and now have two properties that hopefully will come through, but they are in the hinterland area… even if we wanted to stay in Coolum, we wouldn’t be able to afford the rents here.”

For the past six year the family of four have been paying $500 for their rental – never missing a payment and keeping an immaculate home, a similar house now, if it could be sought, would fetch prices close to $750 – something out of reach for many and buying is often not an option.

“I had mostly all positive feedback from the post, but there was a few that asked why we couldn’t buy and unfortunately we just haven’t had that opportunity to get into the housing market.”

Agent Stuart Cook from Coolum Beach Realty said that properties are being snapped up quickly and that southern migration is ultimately the driving force behind the current market.

“We have a huge surge in numbers of interstate buyers, coming from NSW and VIC, and those numbers outweigh the amount of properties we have listed on the market for sale.

“This has created an imbalance, weighted in the seller’s favour, which has created a huge capital growth for all owners in Coolum and surrounding suburbs over the last nine months,” Stuart said.

Properties are often selling in just five days or less and by owner/occupiers resulting in the lack of rental properties in the region for people like Kristi Smith and her family.

“Many interstate owners are now moving into their investment properties which have been rented for many years, further adding to the imbalance of rental properties available.

“Rents are also increasing dramatically, most by 25 per cent from what they were nine months ago,” Stuart said.  

And what is feeding the market? Returning Aussies buying in the southern states.

“In my opinion, because so many expats are moving back from overseas, they are purchasing properties in NSW and VIC, and those sellers are then migrating up to Coolum and surrounding areas – they are cashed up, and ready to pay well above list price, to avoid missing out.” 

Kristi stated that their house had 150 enquiries within 24 hours and that it was purchased by someone from down south who was going to move into it.

“I understand why this has happened and I am not bitter,” Kristi said.

“It’s just unfortunate for us that we can’t stay in the area and I know that this is happening to so many others.”

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