Quick Snips September 2012

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OK now, Three cheers for El Nino! 31 days of sunshine and not a drop of rain anywhere. It seems like it was a long, long time ago that happened around here. Whilst a little drop of rain won’t hurt let’s hope that August was a tease for what we are about to receive. It’s not rocket science but everyone that you talk to around here will tell you that sunshine = lots more people at the coast = lots more people spending money at the coast. It has been well over three consecutive years that we have been dealing with very much above average rainfall and a return to our good old days is top of the wish list for this summer. Hopefully at some stage the surf might return too because it has been as flat as a tack here all month as well. Fortunately the beaches are in great condition and the water is already warming up. Early reports from resort and holiday operators are that there has been a significant improvement in enquiry and bookings already and expect that to continue if these conditions hang in.
On the novelty front, the local area has experienced numerous seal sightings during August. I do not have any idea why but this last month has seen New Zealand fur seal sightings from Yamba to Noosa. I thought I was pretty special to have one come up next to me whilst floating around on a crystal clear day at Marcoola until I started mentioning it (to everyone). Who knows if there is more than one of them but we have had photos in the local paper of a seal on the beach at Peregian and in the water at Mooloolaba and one of the Coolum clubbies tells me he had one follow him from Point Arkwright back to Coolum whilst he was stand up paddling and then watched the seal get out and sun himself on the rocks in front of the high rises. Maybe they need a break from all of the New Zealand earthquakes too.
This years whale migration seems a bit of a non event so far. Reports are that there are 6200 whales travelling through Harvey Bay this year but they must be travelling a route that is away from the coast. I can only recall one sighting so far on an early Friday morning in front of the clubhouse at Coolum. Hopefully they will travel closer to the coast on the way back heading south.
The walking track at Mount Coolum has reopened recently after it had been closed for most of this year to stabilise and repair after substantial rain damage made it unsafe. I have had the chance to go up a couple of times since it has reopened and I will say that it is an unbelievably impressive job that has been done. I think I read that there are now 500 very manageable steps that have been laid out in easy to scale rock and stone. I can only imagine that the blokes that performed this task will look a lot like Popeye with forearms the size of tree trunks. Whilst I might have made it sound like it was easy now that these steps have been laid out, I actually found it harder because you just keep going without any impediment to slow you down anywhere along the way. Think 20 minutes non stop on the Stairmaster at the gym and you will understand that thighs and lungs weren’t naturally designed for this type of activity. But if you pace yourself a little and take a bottle of water, the trip up to the top is more than worth it. I haven’t yet had the chance to verify the rumour that if you look at the new track from the cockpit of a plane it is shaped like Clive Palmers head.
The initial three month trial of direct flights between New Zealand and the Sunshine Coast finishes on the 18th September. By all reports the initiative has been very successful and is expected to continue again next year and hopefully over an extended length of time.
Our new council has been dealing with it’s first real controversial decision regarding councils ongoing employment of it’s permanent team of lifeguards. Until now councils lifeguard operations have been maintained “in house” however a recent decision has seen the management and responsibility for the service contracted to Surf Life Saving Queensland. From an outsiders perspective it seems like a fair enough call as SLSQ is federally funded, financially sound and better equipped to take on the role. It also seems to move away from some doubling up of equipment and services. But it has definitely caused an uproar among the existing brigade based on some perceptions that they will have their pay lowered and services will be reduced. A split decision in council over the matter and some very public dissent since is the first real test of the new mayor’s authority.
I attended the Macquarie Bank economic and property update last week and it was very evident that there was an overall more positive feeling spread across the room. A very quick summary of the presentation was that there is a good chance the market is approaching somewhere near the bottom of the cycle but it is also most likely that prices that we are selling at now will remain the norm for the next 2 to 3 years at least. Most people that I spoke to agreed that there are improved numbers of sales happening with more sellers starting to understand that there are less genuine buyers but there is a market there if they do need to sell. This is consistent with our local experience and is reflected in the success we have been having with our “in rooms” auctions. Our last auction saw 6 out of the 11 properties that were marketed actually sold by the end of the evening. Since commencing this auction program last October we have now sold 59 out of the 77 properties marketed for a clearance rate of 77%. We feel that this has been an outstanding success throughout what has been a very difficult and patchy year and will be continuing this program for the foreseeable future. Our next auction event will be 18th October so if you are thinking of selling or buying at the moment please talk to any of our sales team.
School holidays coming up with the last long weekend of the year. The weather and the water is perfect so it’s time to get to the beach. Hope we see you soon.

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