Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ice Cream Lickers Are Back

"THEY are usually like a thorn in the flesh of real estate agents but this summer the "ice-cream lickers" are responsible for the early stages of a recovery in the holiday home market.

Real estate agents describe holidaymakers who inspect properties after looking at the advertisements in the windows of real estate agencies, yet rarely follow through with a purchase, as "ice-cream lickers".

Agents are reporting that it is these interested parties who are snapping up the bargain-priced homes in beach locations along the east coast. ...

Exclusive destinations such as Palm Beach, in Sydney's north, and Noosa, north of Brisbane, had also reported more interest.

Real estate agent Marcus Bengtsson at Tom Offermann Real Estate in Noosa said there were "absolutely" more inquiries this year compared with last year. "People come up here and fall in love with it," he said.

"It might be on their first visit or the second (that they decide to buy a property). They look at the local property magazines while lying by the pool."

Joe Buchanan of Firstlight International -- the offshoot of private equity player Blue Sky Capital -- said he now had 30 names on a reserve list for those wishing to acquire a share of the company's yet-to-be-developed luxury beachfront apartments on Noosa's Hastings Street.

Up to eight of the 20 units will be priced between $12m and $16m for individual ownership, while the remainder will be co-owned. "Over the Christmas holiday period, we have maybe had eight to 10 inquiries," he said.

While property prices in some holiday destinations have recently staged a recovery, they have fallen in price by about 10 per cent since the start of the global financial crisis, defying the trend of a stronger housing recovery in state capitals.

APM economist Matthew Bell said that in Queensland and NSW during December, prices were still not back to the levels they were during the boom more than two years ago, despite rising between 1 and 3.5 percentage points during the past six months.

Hotel and resorts analyst Dean Dransfield of Dransfield Hotels & Resorts said securing sales from holidaymakers could be challenging. "You have to call in bankers (and such people) and that type of work people don't want to do on holiday," Mr Dransfield said." Source: The Australian

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