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Lower Dollar spikes demand for holidays at home: LJ Hooker

Lower Dollar spikes demand for holidays at home: LJ Hooker

By Sarah Lefebvre on Dec 21 2016

Vacant holiday homes will be as rare as uneaten prawns this summer with the lower Australian Dollar making international travel less attractive.

Leading real estate group LJ Hooker’s annual holiday letting survey found 78% of holiday managers reported an increase in enquiry this year.

Last Christmas, itself, resulted in a spike in enquiry, as the Australian Dollar dropped from parity by approximately 20 cents in the preceding 12 months. 

The LJ Hooker survey – completed in November – found an average of 85% of houses and apartments managed by LJ Hooker around Australia were committed for the peak holiday break, with many expecting to be fully booked by the Christmas weekend.

LJ Hooker Victor Harbor property manager Narelle Stewart said: “We’ve definitely noticed an increase in interest this year. Two years ago we were having to compete with international travel because the Dollar was so high, but now holidaying at home has become the logical choice for many.”

Across Australia, LJ Hooker managed holiday homes have been snapped up including at:
  • Victor Harbor (SA) - Two bedroom apartments are being let for $1000 per week over the Christmas-New Year period, up to a premium Boomer Beach executive property being leased for $7000 per week;
  • Peregian Beach (QLD) – Two bedroom beachside apartments are being rented for $1250 weekly, with a sprawling Hinterland getaway leased for $9,850 over the peak period;
  • Currumbin (QLD) – Two-bedroom apartments are going for $1,300 a week while a three-floor beachfront home with a parents’ retreat being leased for $3,700 a week;
  • Port Douglas (QLD) – A three-bedroom private villa with access to resort facilities is being leased for $5,250 weekly in the high season;
  • Lennox Head (NSW) – Two bedroom apartments in walking distance to the beach are $2,00 weekly, with a house with stunning ocean views is $5,500 weekly.

LJ Hooker’s Head of Research, Mathew Tiller, said there was a significant year-on-year shift in the survey results. ‘Affordability’ had gone from the ‘least important’ consideration of holidaymakers in 2015-16, to the ‘most important’ priority for 2016-17.

Mr Tiller said the result represented a significant mind shift for holidaymakers in the current economic climate.  
“Last summer holidays, the Australian Dollar had plummeted from close to parity in 2014 to below $US0.80,” said Mr Tiller. “For that reason, many holidaymakers in 2015-16 saw better value in splurging out on luxury at home than paying for international airfares and getting short-changed on the exchange rate.

“Twelve months on, the Dollar has remained soft and is now hovering around $US0.74. With four in five property managers reporting an increase in enquiry this year, it appears more holidaymakers have dismissed an overseas summer holiday this year.

“Holidaying domestically has become the only choice for many, and finding an ‘at-home’ choice which in itself is affordable and of value is now the focus.”

The other most listed priorities for holiday makers were properties that were ‘walking distance to the beach’, ‘activities for children’, and ‘entertaining and barbecue area’.

Further in the pursuit of ‘affordability’, more than two thirds of enquiries from holiday makers were for intrastate stays, reported LJ Hooker’s holiday managers. 

Additionally, approximately half of the holiday managers surveyed had reported some landlords changing their permanent rental investments to holiday investments.

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