MBI Looks At Declining Real Estate Values On Bribie And Asks Why

Everyone who has gone out and invested in real estate is always interested in what is happening to the value of that investment.  For many home owners, this investment is the largest investment they will make in their lifetime.  So many Bribie Island home owners will have watched in alarm as real estate prices have plummeted here on Bribie in recent years – especially the many Bribie Islanders who are fully retired and have no earning capacity to offset the declines in the value of their real estate and / or super investments.  They will have watched with alarm also as the time-to-sell has lengthened from 6 – 12 weeks a few years ago to more like 6 – 12 months today.  The only way to sell quickly on Bribie at the moment is often at fire-sale prices.  For many retirees, these declines could have major impacts on the lifestyle that these retirees can look forward to.

 MBI asks…… why have real estate values on Bribie Island fallen far more than elsewhere?  This was an issue raised in the recent elections, but no real answers were given.  One of the obvious reasons is that people are choosing not to come to Bribie to live.  In this article, MBI talks to Dick and Dora (not their real names) – a couple who approached MBI and have decided not to come to Bribie to retire after planning to do so for many years.  MBI asks how many others like Dick and Dora are there out there?  Are the issues that have caused Dick and Dora to look elsewhere causing others to do the same?

Editor,  MyBribieIsland


MBI:  How long have you been coming to Bribie

D&D:  I don’t want to show my age, but we (ie Dora’s family) started coming here before the bridge was built.  We would come over on the barge and camp here during school holidays and for the odd weekend.  We always stayed in a tent.  We were a one-income family and dad was a poorly-paid public servant so we couldn’t afford anything else.  Occasionally we would stay in a cottage owned by one of dad’s fishing buddies, but I don’t think we paid any rent.  We couldn’t afford it.  When Dick and I were married, we came over here with our children too.  Bribie been a special place for us for a long time.

MBI:  Why did you decide to retire here

D&D:  We wanted a place that was quiet and relaxed.  We wanted a place with enough shops to meet most of our needs so we didn’t have to travel far for daily necessities.  We wanted a place that was reasonably close to a big city if we needed medical assistance.  We wanted a place that was so attractive that our friends would want to come and visit and stay for a while.  Our children live all over the place, so we wanted a place that was near a major airport so they could easily come and visit and bring the grandchildren.  Bribie seemed to fill those requirements

MBI:  Where have you looked on Bribie

D&D:  Everywhere

MBI:  What sort of place have you been looking for

D&D:  We have always lived in a house, so we wanted a house here.  We’re not ready for apartment living yet.  We wanted a place close to water for the boat and the beach for the grandchildren.  We have been looking for houses in the $500K to $1M range but we have looked at many outside that range.

MBI:  Did you find anything suitable

D&D:  Yes but then the global financial crisis came and we had to put retirement on hold so we could keep working a little longer to replace the losses in our super.  When we started to think about retirement again, we came back two or three years later to look at some of those same homes and their value has gone down dramatically.

MBI:  But even at these reduced prices you have decided not to retire to Bribie

D&D:  That’s correct.  After looking for what seems years and years, we have decided not to purchase here

MBI:  Why

D&D:  The changes that have occurred in the time we have been looking have made this place far less attractive for us as a place to live.

MBI:  What changes

D&D:  There’s quite a list and it is difficult to know where to start and we don’t want to sound like we are just moaning and groaning.

Perhaps the first is the amount of traffic.  There are more and more day-trippers coming here.  With them come the irresponsible ones – the hoons, the all-night party folk, and the trail bikers and all the garbage they bring.  The politicians are now calling for another bridge which will only bring more such visitors.  A new bridge would destroy Bribie as we know it.

The second thing is the great reduction in choice for residents with so many businesses closing.  There used to be some variety in places to eat and shop.  But the opening of so many fast-food outlets on Bribie has caused so many other food places to close.  Fast food outlets are among the biggest causes of litter and you can see that is true with the increase of litter on the streets and in the parks and on the beach.  But other shopping has become more limited too.  I couldn’t even get something as simple as a battery for my camera today.

We love the foreshore areas and love to walk along the beaches.  But have you been out on them lately?  The erosion and damage that is occurring on both sides of Bribie is just terrible.  I’m an engineer (ie Dick) and it is as clear as day that much of this damage is man-made.  And in many cases, the efforts to repair the damage has made things worse.

But perhaps the biggest thing for us, though, is the massive devegetation of Bribie that has occurred in the last five years or so and it is going on at an ever increasing pace today.  This is occurring on both public and private land but particularly on Council land.  There has hardly been a day we have spent on Bribie in recent years when there hasn’t been a Council chainsaw out somewhere.  It wouldn’t be so bad if something was actually being planted to replace what is being destroyed.  And some of the very limited planting that has occurred has been illegally removed very quickly.  Obviously some residents don’t want trees to block their view and Council is obviously doing nothing to deter that behaviour.  There also seems to be a view among realtors that trees detract from the value of a place.  So many times realtors assured us that if we had concerns with any trees on the places we looked at, or with trees on the street in front, there would be no problem in getting rid of them.  How strange.  Elsewhere, trees enhance the value of a lot, but here on Bribie realtors seem to think they lower its value.

We don’t want to go on and have people think we are just serial complainers.  Obviously, what is happening here is what Bribie Islanders want.  That’s fine.  But its not what we want.

MBI:  So where have you decided to retire

D&D:  Haven’t decided.  For the moment, we are staying where we are.  We live in a quiet leafy Brisbane suburb.  Maybe we will just stay there.

MBI:  Are there many out there like you who have decided not to come to Bribie for the those reasons

D&D:  Don’t know.  Maybe there are.  We met a lot of people at a lot of real estate agents windows who were looking and kicking tyres like us.  But no one is buying.  Maybe others are like us and don’t like what they see.  Maybe that is why real estate prices keep going down here.

MBI:  Is there anything that would make you change your mind.

D&D:  Not really.  The changes to Bribie that have caused us to look elsewhere are probably irreversible

MBI:  Thank you for your time and for sharing your candid views