Mermaid Beach still poorly performing, with Mandurah and Ultimo bouncing back from their GFC lows

Mermaid Beach still poorly performing, with Mandurah and Ultimo bouncing back from their GFC lows
Mermaid Beach still poorly performing, with Mandurah and Ultimo bouncing back from their GFC lows

Mermaid Beach, the Gold Coast suburb made famous by the dramatic plunge in beachfront property values along Hedges Avenue following the GFC, is Australia's worst-performing suburb since 2009.

Median prices of two-bedroom houses in Mermaid Beach have fallen nearly 66% in the last four years while the four-bedroom house prices have fallen nearly 57%, according to a new report compiled by property investment group Real Estate Investar using Australian Property Monitors data.

The top ten worst total four year median price performance suburbs

Suburb

State

Dwelling type

Median price

One year median price growth

Four year median price growth

1. Mermaid Beach

QLD

2 bedroom house

$413,000

-22.74%

-65.56%

2. Burleigh Heads

QLD

2 bedroom house

$206,000

-51.25%

-60.62%

3 Mermaid Beach

QLD

4 bedroom houses

$972,000

-24.8%

-56.80%

4. Bilinga

QLD

3 bedroom house

$449,500

-37.14%

-55.05%

5. Sunshine Beach

QLD

4 bedroom

$1.295m

-26%

-52.91%

6. Mandurah

WA

Studios  & 1 bedroom units

$190,000

+40.74%

-51.90%

7. Bonny Hills

NSW

2 bedroom house

$169,500

+25.55%

-51.85%

8. Bilinga

QLD

3 bedroom unit

$820,000

+8.25%

-50.31%

9. Safety Beach

VIC

3 bedroom unit

$399,000

-3.86%

-49.82%

10. Ultimo

NSW

Studios  & 1 bedroom units

$185,000

+3.35%

-49.8%

Source: Real Estate Investar

The median price for two-bedroom houses on Mermaid Beach has fallen to just $413,000 while four-bedroom houses now sell for around $972,000.

And the decline on Mermaid Beach has not been arrested in the last year, despite some improvement in the Gold Coast market with the most recent Prodap Report recording a 7.4% rise in average Gold Coast house prices over the first three months of the year.

Two-bedroom Mermaid beach house prices are down 23% over the past 12 months while four-bedroom houses are down 25%.

The collapse in real estate prices on Mermaid Beach has led to accusations by real estate agent Rod Lambert that investors were duped into buying multimillion-dollar properties as part of an elaborate price-fixing scam.

A legal battle between Lambert and ex-Ray White Estate agent Michael Kollosche and other parties is currently underway over the sale of a property site to Lambert and his wife for $10.6 million in 2007.

Recent sales on Mermaid Beach include a four-bedroom house on Arthur Street just a block from the beachfront, which sold for $800,000 in January 2013.

It previously sold for $1 million in July 2005, a 20% drop in value.

In November 2011, Property Observer compiled a list of the eight biggest losses on Mermaid Beach, led by 199 Hedges Avenue, sold in 2011 for $7,700,000, last sold for $17.5 million in 2007, a loss of 56%.

Queensland coastal suburbs occupy the top five positions on the list of worst-performing locations with two-bedroom houses in Burleigh Heads second with a 61% decline over the past four years.

Bilinga, a southern beachfront suburb on the Gold Coast ranked fourth with three-bedroom house prices down 55% followed by prestige Sunshine Beach market on the Sunshine Coast, where prices have fallen 53% with a 26% decline recorded over the past 12 months.

The worst performing unit market is Mandurah, the regional city south of Perth where studio and one-bedroom apartments are down 52%, though values have recovered in the past 12 months, up 40.7% to a median of $190,000.

Investors may be surprised to see Ultimo, the inner Sydney suburb amongst the top 10 with studio and one-bedroom apartment prices down nearly 50% over the past four years with a median price of $185,000.

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger was a property writer at Property Observer

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