With fabulous weather, a mixture of international cities and stunning natural beauty, and a healthy, outdoor lifestyle, it is little wonder that Australia was the number-one choice for the record 400,000 Britons who left the UK for good last year.
Along with much of the international market, property price increases slowed last year yet remained above global averages, according to Liam Bailey, head of residential research at Knight Frank.
“Growth across much of the Asia Pacific region in 2007 was relatively robust,” says Bailey. “Prices in Antipodean markets show strong rates of growth; both New Zealand and Australia have seen prices rise by over 10 per cent.” However, there are signs that this may not continue. “Concerns have been raised over the level of affordability in New Zealand markets,” says Bailey. “Sales volumes have dropped by 30 per cent and marketing times have significantly lengthened.”
Brisbane was one of Australia’s best-performing cities last year, helped by a rapidly expanding and wealthy population. The Real Estate Institute of Queensland puts the median house price in the city at AUD$425,000 (£184,000) in December 2007, a 13.3 per cent increase over the previous year. Price increases were strongest in the prestige market.
“Price growth in Australia has been driven by strong gains in Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide,” says Knight Frank's Bailey. "In Perth and Sydney, price inflation has been considerably more muted, with growth rates of 2.8 per cent and 5.2 per cent respectively.”
This traditional Queenslander house sits on a hilltop in the Brisbane suburb of Taringa. Built in 1920 and now fully renovated, it has four bedrooms, a tennis court, swimming pool and large landscaped gardens with views towards the Border Mountains. For sale through Knight Frank at AUD$3 million (£1.28 million).
Contact Knight Frank: www.knightfrank.com; 020 7861 1058; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whisper Bay, Queensland
In the north of Queensland on Airlie Beach, one hour’s flight from Brisbane, Whisper Bay is a new waterfront development aimed at those who want to get away from it all. It should also appeal to the sailing crowd who want good access to the Great Barrier Reef and Whitsunday Islands.
There are plans for 104 two- to four-bedroom apartments, town houses and villas priced from AUD$1.8 million (£768,240) with leasehold berths available at the adjoining and newly extended Abel Point Marina.
Whisper Bay is on Australia’s tropical east coast, which has exceptional beaches. Development is strictly controlled, and Airlie Beach itself is surrounded by a National Park and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
Contact Aylesford International: www.aylesford.com; 020 7351 2383.
St Omer, Kenepuru Sound, New Zealand
New Zealand is not much bigger than the UK but its popularity lies in the incredible geographical variety it packs in. From the glaciers of South Island to the rainforests of North Island, the landscape is awe-inspiring and, despite the distance, has been attracting British visitors for many decades.
On South Island, the drowned valley of Kenepuru Sound is a fisherman’s delight with blue cod, snapper and kingfish to catch as well as oysters, mussels and crayfish to dive for. This four-bedroom house, built five years ago, overlooks the water, with the sandy beaches a short walk away. Picton and Blenheim airports, in the north of South Island, are both within 75 miles. Priced at £368,150 from Savills.
Contact Savills International: www.savills.co.uk/abroad; 020 7016 3740.
Live your very own South Pacific idyll at Lapita Plantation on the archipelago of Vanuatu, a three-and-a-half-hour flight from Sydney. Aore Island was the inspiration for James A Michener’s Tales of the South Pacific, later made into the 1958 film South Pacific, and the natural beauty is being carefully protected according to Sheryn von Schwerin and Matthew Woon, mother-and-son developers of the 190-villa project.
The family might have spent AUD$400,000 (£173,100) on high-speed satellite communications for their resort but they have also created a marine-protection zone for the in-shore reef, protected wetland areas for migratory birds and created mangrove conservation zones.
“Maintaining the health of the reef is paramount to sustaining Lapita’s rich coral and fish life,” says von Schwerin. “At Lapita, you can sit on your balcony and watch as manta rays, dugongs and sea turtles break the surface of the water or snorkel off the beach and see reefs bursting with colour and fish life."
The ecologically sustainable development is a working copra plantation (coconut kernel) and has one- to four-bedroom villas on a 810-acre site with four miles of coastline. The French colonial design reflects the island’s history. Today Vanuatu is a tax-friendly environment with no personal taxation.
Prices start at AUD$220,000 (£93,900) for a one-bedroom villa.
Contact Delmege Residential: www.lapitavillas.com; email@example.com.