Our winter newsletter offers some interesting property offers, and insights to what happening around Cooktown. The property market is performing strongly over the past 6 months due to additional employment opportunities matched with being one of the best regions in Australia to live. This is the Great Barrier Reef & Rainforest Coast!
In today’s times as the world gets smaller, faster, and overcrowded, many often wonder what it would be like to live in paradise away from all the stress. In seeking this outcome in 1988 a family-owned nature retreat was established at the northern end of what was known then as the Great Daintree Rainforest. In those days when Cairns was still small, an adventure further north came with its hardships, namely the tyranny of distance. Over the past 30 years, as the roads improved and services like telephone and electricity became available, the remoteness of such became less and less. Conventional access is now easy and available to all.
Mungumby Lodge established in 1988 has developed over this time an enviable reputation as being one of North Queensland’s more unique lodge experiences. The Wildlife, the ambiance, and the setting became the highlights and supported business growth. There are many lodges through-out Australia yet only a few manage to develop, maintain and grow a reputation that lasts for years into the future. Sir David Attenborough sought out Mungumby Lodge and used the property in 2010 for his well-known documentary “First Life”. Today despite COVID-19 impacts the lodge remains well-positioned within many tour operator catalogues, distribution systems, on the internet, and online booking engines. There is still loads of room to grow and lots of potential nationally and internationally. The vendors post-COVID made major changes to operations and rooms to better accommodate domestic travellers in the temporary absence of international clients. In 2021 tour operator bookings are again growing and referrals remain high. In 2021 as more roads are further improved and tarseal becomes the new norm, a new client is able to easily access Mungumby Lodge as well as get off the beaten track. Not too long ago the journey was reserved for the adventurous few driving 4×4’s, today clients arrive in sports cars, motorbikes, and conventional vehicles.
Cooktown just north of Mungumby Lodge is in positive mode and focused on growth for the future. For the past 20 years, the owners of the lodge have and continue to play an active role in tourism business development for the region. There are a number of projects forecast and more on the drawing board. The Cooktown waterfront is undergoing a major upgrade and beautification program, private school facilities are now available. A $200million wind farm power plant is soon underway at Lakeland (35 minutes from Mungumby Lodge) in 2021 along with proposed new irrigation dams giving water security to support the new agriculture expansion. Queensland Health will be spending $65 million redeveloping the hospital as the medical hub for Cape York to relieve the conjected Cairns Based Hospital. There are new Maternity and birthing services at Cooktown Hospital in place along with minor surgery, dialysis, and other treatments. Galalar Silica Sand Project north of Cooktown. Due to its location, it is proposed that they operate out of Cooktown, and will employ FIFO along with local workers who will be based on-site transiting from the Cooktown region. The COOK Shire is developing at a sustainable pace and still affords those within the very paradise they came to seek out.
In the past 33 years, Mungumby Lodge has only had two owners. Both have maintained these quality structures, and developed the lodge business, reputation, and market position it enjoys today. The property offers good revenues, freehold land, an abundance of fresh gravity feed water a great lifestyle, and a work pace set by you. 95% of the lodge guests are active adventurous types from a broad range of demographics. Due to this, the compatibility of guest and staff is amazing, the team have loads of fun and are reminded every day by the guests that we have something very special.
For the past 15 years the accommodation business has grown each year. This growth has accelerated over the past 5 years due to access, reputation and infrastructure until COVID-19. Despite the GFC and COVID-19 the company has managed to reboot whilst maintaining its market position and initiate the next phase of Mungumby Lodge. Room for expansion has been created, additionally the grounds, infrastructure and facilities are constantly being improved. This business is best suited to an owner-operator or a company seeking to expand into Cape York an area that is the focus of many wishing to escape the confines of the suburbs and regular lock downs post COVID-19.
The current owners of Mungumby Lodge seek expressions of interest in the lodge property, business, and chattels. Expressions of interest for over $1.250,000.00 are sought and ongoing marketing, distribution, and logistical support is available as part of the package. The owners of the company have diversified their interests and without urgency are preparing to implement their next move. Enthusiasm and desire of this family is to see the lodge expand and grow and the business remain strong. Therefore incoming owners will be supported to ensure the future of the business and property remains secure. Live the dream and own this unique business in the center of paradise, surrounded by other top experience destinations.
Interesting to see southern investors eyeing off Queensland’s northern frontier township Cooktown. Commercial and residential inquiries are strong and contracts are processing. If your heading north, make sure pack your wallet!
Set to be the location of a greatly enhanced Queensland Health facility, the Cooktown Hospital is bringing in new employees and creating jobs for locals part of a long term strategy for the facility and region. The budget for this has been recently released by Queensland Health. This will places a great deal of pressure on the rental sector, yet creating more opportunity for investment in the residential sector. Meanwhile property investment group BInvested are under contract with the Cooktown Motel /Pam’s Place – Backpackers establishment. Others include large Queensland companies looking around and doing due diligence here along with small southern investors like TTV Australia looking for a long term strategy for investment in the region. Nearby Lakeland, currently the economic driver of the Cook Shire, is forging ahead as the regions food bowl and major employer. High volume producers Red Valley, Swiss Farms, MacKay’s Bananas and Collins Family employ large workforce’s with excellent production of bananas, avocado, papaya, passion fruit, organic beef, pork, and coffee to name a few. This is further stimulating the desirability to live on Cape York with year-round work and opportunity.
Snap lock downs can miserably disturb the most well-prepared travel arrangements. Travelers coming unstuck due to snap lock downs, boarder closures and quarantine restrictions is putting some people off travel to anywhere. All that said Queensland’s Cape York is bracing for a bumper winter tourist season possibly starting as early as April 2021. February & March are the wettest months of any year and punters are already out and about. With the wet now well advanced, Cape York is enjoying its great soak before arrival of the stunning winter. The winter will bring many road travellers wishing to escape, resulting in a long-awaited boast to the tourism sector.
Further stimulating regional visitation will be the Rising Tide festival held in Cooktown combined with the hugely popular Laura Dance festival held at Laura, the Laura rodeo/races/camp muster, and music festivals BMUP & Wallaby Creek Festival in Rossville all events retelling a combined Australian story from a Cape York perspective.
If you are looking to escape the pandemic madness, move your business and life to the Cooktown region, you won’t regret!
Ever imagined escape yet still be able to access those items we need for living easily. Years gone by, conducting such an adventure escape meant dealing with the tyranny of distance. Lack of access to basics, let alone today’s modern equipment. Over the past 15 years all that ended!
With great internet access to the rest of the world, your escape is now possible whilst ensuring you don’t lose touch with loved ones and the outside world. You no longer need to be Tarzan and Jane swinging from the vines. You may if you wish, but the reality is, with some real-life skills one can turn this patch of paradise into an amazing haven in the wilderness. Most things can be purchased online and delivered by post. You can work online at your favourite job, be creative, write a book or work the markets from a laptop then escape out the door to create your treehouse, go fishing or work your garden.
What are you waiting for? give Hamish a call 0407 654 066
With 2020 almost behind us we see many talking up 2021 already. Reality is, this coming year is going to remain difficult, financially and emotionally for many organisations across the globe. The property market took a huge hit as a result of this recent health scare, but has not yet felt the full effect of the pandemic driven recession yet. We can expect to start feeling it nationally in 2021. At Real Estate Downunder we don’t take to predicting the weather or the future, we like work it as it comes. However, we do like to ensure we make the best of any situation. So with foresight, and forward-thinking we intend to make the most of what is ahead. Nothing is impossible!
Some of the more permanent changes from COVID-19 will be an acceleration of working from home, remote working and remote learning. House prices are set to bottom out by June 2021, helped by improving affordability, but banks predict a national recovery is likely to be held back by high unemployment that is expected to remain above 7 per cent until 2022. While mortgage deferrals allowed by lenders will help stem large-scale forced sales, weaker household income, lower population growth and a “collapse” in the rental market would depress the market over the coming years. This last point is interesting as CoreLogic is indicating prior to Christmas a strong national demand in the rental sector. Mid-2020 we were told the national property market was going into decline with prices sliding up to a possible 20%. This did not happen with most capital cites starting to show signs of recovery. Adelaide & Canberra has remained strong with Brisbane remaining steady with predictions of Brisbane property prices set to rise significantly.
2021 Early Indicators
- Consumer confidence has been consistently improving as has business confidence
- More buyers and sellers are in the market and national transaction numbers have increased consistently.
- Despite what we hear and see the banks are actually keen to write new business as long as the capital/lending ratios are right.
- Bank loan deferrals have been consistently falling – there’s little likelihood of an avalanche of forced mortgagee sales as earlier predicted.
- Historically low-interest rates and the “guarantee” of rates remaining low for at least 3 years, will give home buyers and commercial investors’ confidence
- Strong jobs creation through government stimulus, rising consumer confidence and improving business confidence (leading to spending and employment) will underpin the housing markets.
- It would appear that more vendors may be willing to test the market in 2021, particularly given how many buyers are currently searching ready to purchase in 2021!
Stay healthy, stay safe and most of all stay focused!
Vendor meets the market!
Picture Cooktown waterfront with 180 views of the Endeavour River, Cooktown inlet, and the Coral Sea, a picture that is ever-changing. Upstairs spacious corporate office with no imposing infrastructure, enabling the lessee to deck out as they wish, suitable for many business scenarios. Downstairs a Cafe overlooking the harbour and a laundromat that has been an integral part of Cooktown’s waterfront since the creation of the building in 2000.
This is an ideal opportunity for a passive investor to generate better returns than interest on savings held at any bank or volatile share market. Absolute waterfront location overlooking the mouth of the Endeavour River and the Coral Sea. Cavity brick building, on Cook Shire council waterfront leasehold land.
The owners of this property have decided to meet the market in interesting times and have dropped the price of this complex by $70,000. Reason? They are aging and wish to reduce their portfolio of properties.
Do you think this great value opportunity is for you?
Let’s connect to find out!
Call Hamish +61 (0)407 654 066 | firstname.lastname@example.org
This superb open plan commercial space is available to let. Set on the lower ground floor on Charlotte Street this tidy open fully air-conditioned indoor space has come available. With ample off-street parking off Adelaide Street, this open area can be used for a multitude of options that would be well suited to a Veterinary, Doctor, Dentist or office space!
Checking out the business, by getting to know the business’s true financial situation is of the utmost importance, rather than merely relying on the information the current owner is giving out. You need the key sets of profit-and-loss statements going back at least three years, from financial records, balance sheets and accounts to tax returns. You also need to know current fees, advertising fees, how much it costs to train the staff, how much it’ll cost for new equipment if you need it, ongoing fees and whether or not there are transfer fees associated with buying the business.
It’s good to ask why the current owner wants to sell, as they may know something you’re not aware of. So you need to do your research into the industry that you want to buy into and any competitor within a 10-kilometre radius. Get in touch with as many suppliers or previous customers as you can, to get the vibe of what you’re buying into. You certainly don’t want to find out, on your first day in charge, that your cafe has a terrible reputation for dodgy coffee or food, your tech business is known locally as a dud, or your homewares shop has built up an impenetrable barrier of ill will from past poor service.
There are many signs of business being good and healthy beyond the spreadsheet. Among them are features like a loyal and long-serving staff with positive team morale, growing or stable revenue and increasing profitability, steady and controlled expenses and spending with limited waste or unnecessary spending. As well, there will hopefully be plenty of repeat customers, positive social media reviews and high star ratings online. You want good systems and processes to be documented so the business isn’t vulnerable to key staff leaving, including the current owner, and supplier agreements to be in place and in writing.
You also need to check the level of debtors and creditors and ensure that the business doesn’t have outstanding receivables and that the business has a positive cash flow. Some businesses are seasonal especially in tourism, so it’s important to understand industry trends and business intricacies. Taking note of industry trends is particularly important. For instance, a video store might not be such a good investment in these days of Netflix, taxi companies are a tough investment when competing with Uber, and anything that’s not up to the mark technologically is challenging if you’re trying to attract Millennial customers.
When you’re examining a business that you like the look of, imagine yourself running it into the future. It might suit you now, but will it still be a good fit in two, five or 10 years’ time? You might also be happy in your geographical location now but might you want to move later, and would that create huge problems? You need to look at the business in terms of the future, too. Look at the term of the lease, and see how much is left in place with the landlord. Are there any increases in rent coming up, or likely to come up later? And will there be any repercussions when the existing owner moves on? They might have all the licences and certificates and qualifications for their business, which you may not have. They also might not have been drawing a wage from the business, and you might plan to which will affect the net profit, or you might just be an investor in the business so you’ll have to pay someone else that wage to run it. It’s also essential to consider how you might be able to add value to the business going forward, move it in a new direction, or enter other markets. Just as when buying a house, you want to know if there’s scope to extend or improve it, you need also to think about a business’s potential for growth.
- Have all the appropriate due diligence reviews been undertaken?
- Are net profit margins increasing, rather than declining, year on year?
- Are BAS and past tax bills paid and current?
- Are all staff correctly paid, with superannuation contributions current?
- Are all key telephone numbers, email addresses, websites and software owned by the business and to be transferred to the new owner?
- Does the business have good mentors, management structures and financial safeguards in place as well as human resources policies and contracts?
- Does the company have a good pipeline of future business?
- Is there a current business plan and have there been strategic reviews carried out on an annual basis?
- Is the business receiving plenty of referral business from current customers and suppliers?
- Are all licences to operate current and appropriate?
Cape York often described as a wild adventure north, has now become an alluring opportunity. The tyranny of distance has been considered over for many years by those who live here. Sealed highway and roads, regular scheduled flights, bridged and widened natural roads leading you into unique National Parks, Wilderness coastlines, stunning coastal reef systems, world heritage rainforest and a vast river network. Just off the eastern coast there are numerous remote Marine Park and inhabited islands including Lizard Island.
Cape York is one of handful of places in Australia able to quickly close its doors against this current virus pandemic. On your time off there are a host of playgrounds to enjoy minutes from your home. All without the crowds or the pollution of most cities. If your retirement looms ahead Cooktown and surrounds present ideal opportunities to invest in a small business or tenanted building to retire alongside yet remaining actively engaged without dramas and expense of the average city living.
This unique and character filled freehold property sits in what is considered the ‘sweet spot’ of the high street, Cooktown. A fully tenanted property with lots of opportunity to leave as is 6% ROI, or further develop. Would suit owner-occupiers, developers or investors and could make a top location for an owner operator, boat or auto sales, delicatessen, butcher outlet.
The size of Cooktown is approximately 2,143.8 square kilometres. Cooktown has 40 parks covering nearly 11.4% of total area. The population of Cooktown (not just the town itself) in 2011 was 2,338 people. By 2016 the population was 2,635 showing a population growth of 12.7% in the area during that time. The predominant age group in Cooktown is 60-69 years. Households in Cooktown are primarily childless couples and are likely to be repaying $1000 – $1399 per month on mortgage repayments. In general, people in Cooktown work in a professional occupation and many within the public sector. In 2011, 52.5% of the homes in Cooktown were owner-occupied compared with 54.1% in 2016. In 2019 the median sales price of houses in the area is $295,000. In 2020 this has gone up to $311,000.
Source Corelogic 2019 | ABS 2019
In the Cooktown catchment area above, in mid 2019 there were a total of 844 dwellings. Total of 99 were newly listed and a average total of 67 currently listed. So different to the general perception, at 99 homes only 11% of total houses are for sale. In late 2019 prices bottomed out and now appear to be on the turn upwards.
Market Activity Snapshot 18/19
2 Bedroom Homes | 11 on market | 1 sold
3 Bedroom Homes | 33 on market | 6 sold
4 Bedroom Homes | 12 on market | 2 sold
Sales in late 2019 and early 2020 indicate the housing market for Cooktown and surrounds is starting to rebound with better median prices as well as sales. Length of days on the market however remains high due to mild demand. Rental vacancies remain very low and weekly rates high. For FIFO workers Cooktown has up to 3 daily flights to Cairns and regular flights to Coen & Weipa so getting in and out of Cooktown is easy. For the family there are two good high schools (1 x state + 1 x private), childcare facilities and a huge natural playground for time off. There are numerous lifestyle blocks available and some very nice family homes hitting the market with facilities to park the lifestyle toys, grow your own fruit & veg, enjoy stunning views overlooking the Coral Sea and room to move without neighbours on the fence line. The Great Barrier Reef Coast awaits!