Land Bargain

Reporter: Marguerite McKinnon

Australia's east coast is blue-ribbon real estate with a price-tag to match. But just when you thought there was no chance of buying a beach-side paradise, some little gems have surfaced in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, for as little as $10,000.

Just ask owner Duncan Knightsbridge; "You didn't hear this from me but this is the best kept secret in Australia, let alone the world." Russell Island, off mainland Queensland, has shaken off it's 1970's bad investment reputation.

The Median land price is $32,000 and along with Coolbie is one of Queensland's best bargains. Allan Murray's $5,000 block is now 17 times more valuable. "I purchased a block of dirt on Russell Island about 27 years ago and now it's worth anything from 80-90 thousand."

Real Estate Agent Max Platt says Russell Island is a goldmine. "Well if you could buy a nice block of land with some water views for around about the 75, 85-thousand, I think by the middle of next year you'd see a rise of somewhere up around the 135 mark... The cheapest block we've got on the island at the moment is $55,000 and it's got an okay for a three bedroom house and it's been surveyed."

Annette and Sam moved from Brisbane and haven't looked back. "Close to everything. It's in walking distance to all the amenities. Double block of land I like the shed." It's a similar story down south in Victoria. Two sites standout: the aptly named Paradise Beach, a 600 square metre block of land costs around 53,000, while Golden Beach has land for around 58,000.

"It's just so cheap. So affordable. It's sleepy and it's beautiful, we've got the most magnificent beach and fishing. It's untouched. It's un-spoilt. It's not touristy at all. You don't have to line up for two hours to get fish and chips and things like that. It's awesome. It's just cheap. I think it's too cheap" says Adriana Bertolacci, a Golden Beach local.

"This is the cheapest house I've got on the market. Asking price 110, one street back from the beach on a block of land probably worth around the 70 mark. Work it out! You couldn't go wrong. It's really affordable and really cheap." But the cheapest coastal land in the country is in New South Wales. While Wyee has land for $45,000, North Arm Cove is selling for $22,000 but it's draw card are the plots going for a mere $10,000. "Basically they start from around $10,000 and yeah, you get about 900, 800-900 square metre block of land and yeah, it's a non-urban block of land" says John Rumble from Hawks Nest First National Real Estate. And that's the catch. Non-urban or 1-A rural means you can't build on it but people are still coming in droves, taking a punt that the zones with change. "Had a lot of interest particularly in the blocks at $10,000. I mean it's very rare that you can find a block of land this close to the coast for $10,000 even though you can't do anything with it" says John. There's nothing stopping you from buying here but if you want to build, you have to get past the council... there are no plans to change the legislation to build for at least another 25 years. "Buy it for your long-term investment for your kids, your grandkids. It could be worth lot of money one day yeah" says John.

Contacts:

Russell Island - Queensland

http://www.russellisland.com.au

Hawksnest - NSW

Tel: (02) 4997 0262

Email: mail@hawksnestrealestate.com.au

Website: http://www.hawksnestrealestate.com.au/

Paradise Beach & Golden Beach - Victoria

Contact: Adriana Bertolacci, Surf Edge Real Estate

Tel: (03) 5146 3233