by Neil Jenman

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This is an article I don’t particularly want to write. It’s about a man who owns some beautiful property – several stunning blocks of land overlooking the Pacific Ocean near the Barrier Reef. And he’s likely to sell them too cheaply.

For months, this owner has been urging me to write an article about his near-maniacal desire to sell this beautiful real estate. At almost any price. One reason I have resisted is because I believe the best buyers will be from Victoria – and the pandemic problems have kept these buyers away. That problem seems to be over – for a while, hopefully forever. Although the recent eruption in Queensland is creating plenty of havoc – and more worry – for those in (or travelling to) that state.

The other reason I have resisted writing this article is because the owner is far too anxious to sell. I am frightened he is going to massively under-sell this glorious land. And that means he will potentially forgo hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In all my years in real estate, this is some of the most beautiful land I have seen. I can’t bear to see it sold on a down market for a low price – and especially as low as this owner is threatening.

At a time when national property prices are booming in so many places; and tipped to soar as much as 20 per cent in the next two years, he is in danger of almost giving his properties away. He is offering one block – at whatever is the best price offered by public tender. No minimum or ‘reserve’.  He is deadly serious. This land, that was once worth nearly a million dollars a block, is likely to be sold at a fraction of that value.

“I will sell one block for the best price I am offered. If that’s one dollar, I will sell it,” the owner said – in person and in writing.

My advice to him can be summed up in two words: DON’T SELL. I want him to wait until prices rise – and then sell.

But both age and ill-health have caught up with this man – and he wants out, at any price. I have told him that someone is likely to come along and profit from his losses. It’s heart-breaking. He is not bothered.

Let me explain some history in this case.

This land, the smallest of which is over 2,000 square metres, is located within a private, gated hillside estate at Airlie Beach – the beautiful coastal town overlooking Queensland’s famed Whitsundays.

Back in 2008, similar blocks of land in this exact location (estate) were valued by the National Australia Bank at $900,000. One block sold for $850,000. Another sold for $625,000.

As they should.

If the prices had risen in line with Sydney and Melbourne prices, these blocks of land would be selling for close to $2 million each by now. When you stand on this land, as I recently did, and look directly out at the sparkling blue water of the Pacific, you can say to yourself, “This multi-million-dollar view could easily justify a million-dollar price tag. It even seems cheap at a million dollars a block.”

Incredibly, over the past dozen years, land prices at Airlie Beach have fallen. Without apparent justification. Sure, there have been cyclones and yes, the district suffered in the GFC, as did many resort locations; but one thing usually happens when blue-chip real estate hits a slump – it recovers.  It rises again – often higher than its previous high.

If (or when) that happens, then, one day, this land will be worth close to a million dollars per block again. Perhaps more.

A great investment maxim is: Buy in gloom and sell in boom.

Despite so many currently booming markets, it’s still gloom time for this gorgeous land with its awesome ocean views. Accordingly, that makes it the time to buy not sell. That’s why the owner has been told: “Don’t sell”.

One day this land may be worth a million dollars a block. Hold it. Wait. Don’t kick yourself in the years ahead by selling out now.

But no, he will not accept the advice not to sell. He has listed with an agent and is inviting ANY OFFER BY TENDER. He is adamant that, no matter how low the offers, he will sell. Even if it’s only one dollar – which, surely, has to be an impossibility.

What a tragedy, for him, if that happened. But what a windfall for a buyer.

Can’t happen, surely?

Still, to have the chance to buy blue-chip top-quality land in a gloom time (for the best price offered) in an estate where a near-identical block sold for more than $850,000 in the last boom, is an offer rarely presented in real estate.

While the owner might be accused of being financially foolish for selling in a gloom, he is determined to sell. He openly admits that this “sell one Lot at any price” tender is designed to attract attention and hopefully sell the remaining Lots at better than give-away prices.

What’s a good price for land that, more than 10 years ago, was valued at $900,000?

Surely, more than a gold coin.

Surely more than even a couple of hundred thousand dollars – which is around the price of recent sales. It’s madness – and sadness – to see such beautiful land going so cheaply.

Maybe the owner might change his mind and take the “DON’T SELL” advice. I hope so because I am not comfortable seeing beautiful property going for a song. One day, I believe, someone will reap a huge financial benefit from this stunning land.

I wish it were the current owner.

But he says not. He is committed to selling – at whatever price he gets.

Tenders are expected to close soon.

If you want to know more, visit the agent’s web site:

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