“The months between May and September are a great time to visit Cairns and Port Douglas, especially as the mercury plummets in Sydney and Melbourne,” Mr Cotton commented.
“Consequently, we see a significant surge in enquiries this time of year from southern state visitors captivated by the weather in Cairns and Port Douglas, as well as the many pleasures on our doorstep such the Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree rainforest and so on.
“They just walk in the door or send us an email before they get here asking about the state of the market and what we have to offer.”
About 5-10% of these enquiries will translate into sales immediately, according to Mr Cotton.
He added, “In saying that, we find that once these leads are in our database, in a few years’ time, they might decide to move to Port Douglas after doing their research.
“This region attracts a mix of buyers looking to move to our region immediately, some who purchase an investment property intending to convert it to retirement digs down the track, and direct investors seeking an affordable rental property with a competitive yield between 5-7%.”
Mr Cotton said that Port Douglas’s wide real estate choice is attractive to southern buyers.
“It’s possible to buy a 1-bedroom apartment for $140,000 earning $200 a week through to a magnificent waterfront mansion closer to $8 million.”
That said, the median 3-4 bedroom house price around $650,000 exemplified by a recent Raine & Horne Port Douglas listing, 5 Sunbird Close, Port Douglas, appeals to many buyers.
The advent of online holiday rental disrupters such as Airbnb is impacting the permanent rental market in Port Douglas, noted Mr Cotton.
He explained, “Owners are taking properties out of the permanent rental market and making them available to platforms such as Airbnb and Stayz.
“While this is squeezing the availability of permanent rentals, it’s pushing up rents and investment yields in Port Douglas.”
The story is slightly different in the nearby rural town of Mossman where local owner-occupiers rather than interstate investors dominate the property market.
“That said, if you can’t afford to buy in Sydney and Melbourne, there’s a great opportunity for southern state rentvesters to buy a small property in Mossman or Port Douglas that always rents well and delivers a small amount of capital growth,” said Mr Cotton.
“Once they have built up some equity in a Mossman or Port Douglas investment, they can sell up in a few years and have a deposit to buy in Sydney or Melbourne.”