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Saturday, January 22, 2022

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What’s hot with Danny Betros

What’s hot

The property market generally is quite hot. Prices are reaching all-time highs and there has been good growth in commercial values mainly via yield compression. The main push has been in areas where business owners can buy property for themselves. We’ve seen a real turn from companies that previously would only consider leasing who are now buying their own, including public and national traders, which I haven’t seen for many years. While interest rates remain low, the property market will continue to fuel prospective buyers who want to get into the market. We are also seeing a notable drift from residential investors to commercial due to new laws making residential investing riskier as balance is moving the wrong way from Landlord rights to tenants’ rights. Anyone who has had a bad tenant will know what I mean.

Generally, I think there’s a very bright outlook for Cairns. I believe that once the borders and Australia finally open up, Cairns is going to experience a strong push in tourism. There’s a lot of pent-up demand for holidays, plus overseas numbers will start arriving again. It all bodes very well for property in general and hopefully for the recovery of our CBD, which has been suffering for a long time from lack of foot traffic and tourists. 2022 will be a much more positive year, and I think once a bit of stability returns to borders opening, Cairns will really benefit.

What’s not

The CBD remains on hold while we’re lacking foot traffic with no cruise ships, international students, backpackers or domestic tourists. They’re the four groups that essentially feed the CBD, so when you take them out of the market, it makes it much more difficult for the businesses who depend on those people.

Prior to COVID, we had 75-100,000 tourists a year coming in from cruise ships alone. They would come off the ships and go straight into the CBD or to local tourist attractions. That’s all missing. Consider the international students and backpackers – they’re the ones who fill the multitude of tourism and farming jobs, but they’re also the ones who patronise the more specialised smaller fringe CBD restaurants rather than the Esplanade strip. Hopefully that sort of foot traffic will soon come back and feed those small restaurants and businesses on the fringe that have suffered immensely. We really need travellers back as they spend, they work and they fill accommodation.

We must compress our CBD. We don’t need a massive, spread-out retail presence in our city area anymore. The future success of our city relies on compressed retail/restaurant areas and Council must encourage more residential development in the key CBD areas. There are only a handful of remaining sites that can cater for higher density residential development, and we must ensure they are developed accordingly, including the old post office site and the Ports North sites that the Council and State Government control. The more people that live in the city, the better our CBD will be.

And finally, we need to crack down on crime and protect our city’s reputation. The CBD is full of local businesspeople who have essentially put their lives and finances on the line, and they need to be supported and the public protected. Enough is enough! 

Bring on 2022.

Connect // cbre.com.au/people-and-offices/corporate-offices/cairns

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