CBRE's Rem Rafter at Sippy Downs.
CBRE's Rem Rafter at Sippy Downs.

Fast rail connect must include Sippy

SIPPY Downs is the ideal destination for a new train station between Beerwah and Maroochydore, according to prominent real estate executive Rem Rafter.

He was commenting after the North Coast Connect fast train project was chosen to share in a $20million Federal infrastructure grant.

Stage Two of North Coast Connect envisages a new rail link between Beerwah and Maroochydore with stations enroute.

Aerial view of Sippy Downs.
Aerial view of Sippy Downs. Erle Levey

In the interim Mr Rafter supports a major bus interchange and park and ride facility at Sippy Downs, possibly as a joint project with the University of the Sunshine Coast.

"SCU's strategic plan allows for growth from around 12,000 students currently to 20,000 students by 2020,'' he said.

"Parking is already at capacity within the campus so it's not hard to imagine SCU being involved in a transport interchange and park and ride project.''

North Coast Connect envisages a 45-minute journey from Brisbane to the coast, incorporating major upgrades to the existing rail lines between Beerburrum and Nambour.

"Stage two of North Coast Connect is a new, 40km rail link from Beerwah to Maroochydore," Mr Rafter said. "It would make perfect sense to include Sippy Downs as one of the key stations on the journey.

"Given the Federal Government support for North Coast Connect, it's hard now to make a case for Council's light rail proposal. The 50km light rail network would be too costly to build and it would take decades to pay for itself.

"Council has enough on its plate with the imminent start of the $347million airport expansion and the first stages of development at SunCentral."

Mr Rafter said the Sunshine Coast needed transport infrastructure to cope with the projected growth in population to 495,000 by 2041.

"The local housing market is in good shape, driven by increasing population, which includes an upsurge in interstate migration.

"The traditional unit market is very good with strong demand. New developments have had good presales, including Stockland's Oceanside Kawana and several apartment projects by the Walter Iezzi Property Group. One of Iezzi's projects - Pinnacle Picnic Point, on the ocean side of the Maroochydore CBD, is 90% pre-sold.

"Brisbane-based Mosaic Property Group has also been active on the Coast, with off-the-plan apartment projects under way at Coolum and Kings Beach, Caloundra.

"We have seen from recent site sales that developers are concentrating their efforts in these areas and investment yields have become quite tight as a result."

Mr Rafter said the Sunshine Coast apartment and housing market could flourish for another two to three years.

"A recent presentation by Tim Lawless of CoreLogic shows positive indicators including improved interstate migration and steady capital gains across the coast of 5.5%.

"The Sunshine Coast's median house price of $579,526 is attractive to southern buyers, with Sydney's house price now over $1million and Melbourne not far behind."

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