Units have become a hot ticket in Gympie.
Units have become a hot ticket in Gympie. Scott Kovacevic

Duplexes trendy as unit approvals skyrocket

APARTMENT living is trending in Gympie, with approval rates for multi-unit buildings soaring to one of the highest rates in Queensland.

Forty-eight units were approved in the Gympie-Cooloola region in the past 12 months, according to data from the ABS and Master Builders, which was a 45.5% increase from the last period.

The surge in unit approvals was particularly striking when compared across Wide Bay Burnett, with Maryborough showing no change and Bundaberg and Burnett falling.

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Hotondo Homes Gympie owner Chris Dodt said proximity to town and economics were big reasons behind the increase, while changing lifestyles were also playing a role.

"People aren't pushing for the big yards in many cases.

"They're quite happy for their lifestyle to be a coffee and beach type thing where they can shoot through and do their thing on weekends and not have to stay home and do lawns.”

Photo of Gympie
Downtown Gympie. Scott Kovacevic

From an investment perspective Mr Dodt said there was an obvious upside to owning a unit, with duplexes being the most common constructions.

"You get two rents on a duplex to one with a house, so it makes sense to go that way.”

While more units being built represented growth for the region, market flooding also becomes a possible concern. According to realestate.com.au statistics, the average unit price in Gympie has dropped 16% since 2013.

Laguna Real Estate office manager Emily Lang said there was no concrete connection, but supply and demand basics suggested it was possible.

"If it was flooded with units for sale, that may reflect in a price decrease,” she said.

What was clear in the region, Ms Lang said, was Gympie had become an affordable destination of choice for people moving from as far away as Rockhampton, Sydney and Tasmania.

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She said the surge in approvals would be help the region economically.

"There isn't a huge amount of units in Gympie and they are sought after.”

Mr Dodt also wondered what kind of impact the growth would have on the market.

"I do wonder if the rental return for investors with units will revert back to being better for a home.”