• Adrian Ramsay

Adrian Ramsay Design House: Should you relocate, or stay put?

Originially published on The Big Smoke

Queensland is currently experiencing a ‘mass domestic migration’, as many are choosing the state to build their forever home. But should they?


‘Staying put’ or ‘relocating’ seem to have taken on a renewed sense of purpose and value in the national lexicon, especially after the events of 2020. One way to look at it is that the choice is the new ‘To be or not to be’.


While some portions of the population were made to stay put for extended periods of time last year, it reinforced the value of where they live to them. Others got fed up with the actions of their government and health authorities and took their measures as the ‘last straw’, and an impetus to up and move to a different part of the continent.


“To move to regional Queensland or not? That is the question…”


This larger-than-usual shift was noted in a recent ABC Gold Coast piece, which reported on a ‘mass domestic migration apparently underway to the Sunshine State’, buoyed by what property developers in Queensland were referring to as ‘phenomenal’ and ‘extraordinary’ inquiries and sales of land and houses in the state.


A significant increase in domestic migration represents an estimated 80-90% increase on last year, according to some industry insiders.


There’s more behind this story, however, the further you look north. When you look at the broader picture of what people are wanting in their home spaces, you can see a trend, a pattern emerge. I live on the Sunshine Coast, in Buderim. Once you look at that area, including the suburbs of Mooloolaba, Coolum and Noosa along the coastal strip, real estate agents are saying that about 30% of the area’s sales and inquiries are coming from immigration from inside the state, and from our surrounding states.


A lot of it is people coming from Brisbane or the Gold Coast up to here, or down from Hervey Bay and the West of Queensland. The remaining 70% is coming from the local movement.


What’s fascinating about it is that if you go to larger block properties, of small acreage from 2-15 acres is that the figures are reversed. 60-70% are from interstate, and out of the region; the remaining 30-40% is made up of locals making moves. The ABC’s report was based on builders like Metricon and their ilk – project home builders optimising subdivisions; the article cites the Gold Coast as doing really well.


Here, further north, the picture is similar, with some longer-term planning changes.


With the Sunshine coasts Aura city the master plan is a smart plan with development it is for the intended residents, you’d not want them to have to ‘endure’ more than a 10-15 minute walk to anything that they’d need, in terms of goods, services or recreation facilities (like pools, cinemas, entertainment venues and parks). It allows these cities to end up being more biking and walking communities than driving ones, the potential for them is fantastic.


From a custom home design perspective, operating on the assumption you’d rather build your custom home for a plot of land as opposed to buying a project home which is mass designed with little regard for its orientation other than facing the street, you move into a group of conscious thinkers. Proximity to the beaches and business facilities now means 30-odd-year-old project homes are now being sold in the broader Sunshine Coast area for upwards of a million dollars; subsequently being knocked down, or substantially ‘gussied up’ with renovations.


Stemming from the broader social trends foisted upon us by the pandemic, houses are being remodelled and renovated to be more encompassing of every one of the owner’s needs. We’re seeing a lot of home gyms being installed. The home office is now being broadened beyond a concerted space to being something that suits the purpose, yet loses none of the rest of the house’s lived in, positive aesthetic.


These are emerging as what we’d call part of ‘forever homes’ or ‘legacy homes’. One of the reasons I love doing them is that up here there is close proximity to so many things. I have one client on a 60-acre farm, but he is less than “3 minutes’ from his township, and 15 minutes to Maroochydore and the beach.


The perfect balance for the home builder (or renovator) is that they might get the opportunity to plan and build the home of their dreams, in which everything they need to live and work is there, while everything they need outside is within reach.

It’s a rare commodity in this country that someone could have so much space and be within such a short commute of life’s necessities. The idea of paying as little as is being paid for a piece of property where your design and renovation options are limitless while remaining at one with nature, and still connected to the facilities modern life dictates.


The perfect balance for the home builder (or renovator) is that they might get the opportunity to plan and build the home of their dreams, in which everything they need to live and work is there, while everything they need outside is within reach. We are blessed – a term sadly as overused as it is misapplied – to be in a part of the world where this is still possible.


Interstate city dwellers looking for a sea change may seek out the Gold Coast or Brisbane for its urban development and appealing weather, looking a little further north to the Sunshine Coast where commutes to Brisbane are simple, the rainfall a fraction higher and smart government planning is making it an educated choice for an improved lifestyle and limitless possibilities.


Adrian Ramsay is an award-winning designer from Buderim on Queensland’ Sunshine Coast. He’s the host of the podcast ‘Talk Design‘.

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