More than 30 per cent of the $3 million in berth sales made at Consolidated Properties' Hope Island Marina on the Gold Coast in the past 12 months have been to investors, who are taking advantage of solid returns underpinned by constricted supply.
Hope Island Marina
New research by Place Property shows that Queensland boat registrations have increased by 25,000 vessels from 2008 to the year ending December 2012, with a current total of 245,039 recreational vessels across the state. The Gold Coast still boasts the lion's share, with almost 27,000 registered vessels.
Place Property project marketing manager Bruce Goddard said while boat ownership numbers were on the up, there were very few new marina berths being built to accommodate increasing market demand - especially in the South East region.
He said that there were currently only 7,000 wet berths across the state to house the 12,463 boats which measured more than eight metres and therefore were considered too big to trailer.
'It's no surprise that investors have represented a considerable sector of the market at Hope Island Marina, and I believe this trend would be similar across the state,' he said.
'The marine industry was hit by the financial crisis and prices for wet berths have come back considerably, with reductions of up to 30 per cent at Hope Island Marina - which is another reason there has been increased activity from investors.
'So while entry prices for berths have lowered, demand has not, and this has in turn led to rental price increases - with Hope Island Marina berths on the market now ranging between $600 and $850 per month for lease. This garners returns of about four to five per cent, which is attractive for those looking to broaden their investment portfolio.'
Hope Island Marina sales manager Greg Buck said a number of investors had come on board at the marina to move away from traditional investment platforms like residential properties and shares.
He said the fact that Hope Island Marina was the only marina in the region offering freehold berths meant that purchasers had even more flexibility with their asset.
'Not only is there a constricted supply of wet berths - there is an even tighter supply of berths that are available for freehold purchase as opposed to the standard 20 or 25 year lease,' he said.
'We've had a number of investors look at what we have on offer here and realise that in their situation, a freehold berth stacks up as a better investment than the share market - because the berths are tangible, come with complete ownership rights and the benefits of rental income and capital gains.
'The level of restricted supply also makes them more appealing than residential property in some areas.
'A lot of people have purchased through their Self Managed Super Fund (SMSF), because the berths are classed as commercial property - so they can be held as a private asset in the fund.'
Mr Buck said that in addition to investors, Hope Island Marina attracted a range of owner-occupiers and investors who were looking towards boat ownership in the future.
'The marina's location close to the Broadwater, ocean and a network of canals has made it a popular choice for a wide range of people from all over the country,' he said.
'Although locals from Brisbane through to the Tweed are still a major market, we are also finding we are getting plenty of interest from up north and out west in the mining regions.
'The marina has a healthy 90 per cent occupancy rate, and if current trends continue, it won't be long until it's a full house.'
Hope Island Marina currently has 30 berths remaining in 14, 16 and 18 metre classes, priced from just $116,060.