Wild about our water

WATER shortages are driving Gold Coasters and Brisbanites to live and invest on the Tweed.

Murwillumbah estate agent Chris Wheeler has confirmed that uncertainty about access to water is now among the reasons given by families and investors from north of the border buying Tweed property.

"Water supply reinforces their decision to come down here, it has become another reason that helps make that decision to move," Mr Wheeler said yesterday.

"It's not the sole reason, because people usually decide to relocate to an area they already know about. They might have travelled here, or have family or friends or work here.

"But if they are tossing up between moving to Tallebudgera Valley or the Tweed Valley, it can be the factor that tips them in%favour of the Tweed. "We've had people here from the Darling Downs where they have Level 5 water restrictions and they are amazed that three hours drive away everything is green.

"Just being able to wash your car whenever you like is an issue."

Mr Wheeler said the Murwillumbah property market had x become a lot more active since January this year, with property sales turnover up about 50 per cent on last year.

However, he said the growth was unlikely in the short term to mirror the 2002-03 Murwillum-bah boom, when residential prices doubled over 18 months. Mr Wheeler estimated median house prices in Murwillumbah were still below $400,000, about six per cent up on 12 months ago.

The water revelations come after Urban Development Institute Gold Coast new president Col Dutton warned the supply of Gold Coast residential land could run out by 2012, four years earlier than Queensland government planners had predicted.

Mr Dutton said this would increase demand for Tweed property.

Property industry consultant Michael Matusik told the Daily News two months ago that Gold Coasters were moving to the Tweed to escape noisy traffic congestion and crime.

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