Latest Property Report paints bleak future for renters on the Sunshine Coast

Mal Cayley - Direct Collective

The latest property market report from Sunshine Coast business Direct Collective, renowned for their accurate predictions, has painted a bleak future for renters in our region, with data suggesting housing supply will not meet demand in our lifetime.

While the future of housing for many in our community is unstable, lead researcher of the Sunshine Coast Property Market Update (SCPMU) Mal Cayley said there are solutions to help ease the crisis – and mum and dad investors play a major role.

“When we look at the data and the opportunity the Sunshine Coast presents with jobs, lifestyle and a strong economy, we believe by 2041 the Sunshine Coast will be home to around 587,000 people which is 67,000 more than the estimated government forecast of 520,000 (medium series projections),” Mr Cayley said.

“The South East Queensland Regional Plan 2017 (Shaping SEQ) suggests that to meet the forecast demand, the Sunshine Coast would need to supply 87,000 new dwellings by 2041; circa 3,500 per annum. At best, new dwelling supply has averaged 3,000 per annum.

“The current undersupply of housing is a 15 to 20 year fix, and every year without a radical change to improve supply will likely extend the potential resolution by another three years due to the compounding effect, meaning at this rate it is unlikely the market will balance in our lifetime.” Mr Cayley said the current scale of the undersupply is so great, that even with new greenfield development releases, the rate at which we can build more dwellings will not keep pace with the growing demand.

“This is why we need to urgently identify more expansion areas and cut red tape and costs to ensure faster and better infill development. At the same time we need to encourage investors back into the market, especially to supply more of the ‘missing middle’ to house the growing number in our community looking for an affordable rental,” Mr Cayley shared.

The ‘missing middle’ property type covers terrace style houses, apartments, townhouses, duplexes and units close to amenities, public transport and key business nodes. These housing types are where people will concentrate as they provide great quality of life with a
more affordable cost of living compared to other property types.

This is where mum and dad – or residential – investors, play a major role to help this solution.

“Residential property investors currently house 92 per cent of renters on the Sunshine Coast, and we need to be real about the actual volume of new builds by government and corporates (build to rent) to actually meet demand, much less address the enormous undersupply. Therefore, our only real hope comes back to those in our community who can develop and invest in the missing middle housing product,” Mr Cayley said.

“Density, done well, creates better access to transport alternatives, creates vibrant and diversified commercial districts and increases affordability and reduces pressure on the environmental zones we all seek to protect,” Mr Cayley said.

“Not only is increasing density the most viable solution for the housing crisis the region faces, it is also the most sustainable.”

Without this increase in infill development, Mr Cayley warns that the alternative is likely to be the Sunshine Coast version of shanty towns.

“I believe that unless radical change is made to increase housing supply then we’ll see shanty towns of non-approved accommodation like shipping containers grouped in non-approved locations taking over parkland and it will become an accepted form of accommodation here before the Olympics,” said Mr Cayley.

Renowned for its in-depth analysis and insights, the 2022 edition of this report was applauded by Bernard Salt, featured across dozens of media outlets, started a community movement and even made it to parliament.

To access the 2023 version, visit 



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