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Today's quote:

Friday, March 25, 2022

Serene Surya


Enjoy tropical living in this calm and beautiful complex. Four Mile Beach is less than a minute away, and with just parkland to cross, this quality complex with Asian influences is effectively beachfront Port Douglas."

Now that selling "Riverbend" is again a possibility, I'm reading the sales pitch for Villa 7 in the gated Surya villa complex at Port Douglas. No more acreage, no more endless grass-cutting, no more cold winters.

There are currently two units on sale in what appears to be a 13-unit complex. Both 3-bedders are selling at around the same price. I've emailed the agents to indicate their locations inside the complex, and also to tell me how many units are lived in by their owners and how many are rented out. And how much the Body Corporate fees are.

There has been a fairly regular turnover of owners which bothers me:


  • Unit 1 sold Oct 1999 $575,000; Jan 1999 $550,000
  • Unit 2 sold Aug 2018 $495,000; Jan 1999 $550,000
  • Unit 3 sold Jun 2002 $540,000; Jun 2000 $528,650
  • Unit 4 sold Aug 2000 $575,000
  • Unit 5 sold Aug 2004 $524,000; Aug 2002 $399,500
  • Unit 6 sold June'21 $440,000 (?); May'07 $480,000; Jan'04 $470,000; Aug'02 $399,500
  • Unit 7 sold Dec'12 $395,000; Dec'08 $410,000; Jul'02 $399,500
    on sale for $589,000
  • Unit 8 sold Jul'21 $530,000; Oct'14 $515,000; Dec'04 $530,000; Jun'00 $414,500
  • Unit 9 sold Nov 2008 $490,000; May 2007 $480,000
  • Unit 10 sold Apr'20 $510,000; Aug'15 $395,000; Apr'02 $387,000
  • Unit 11 sold Apr'17 $450,000; Jun'03 $455,000; Nov'01 $372,500
    on sale for $595,000 - UNDER OFFER, then sold for $570,000
  • Unit 12 sold Jun 2020 $483,000; Jun 2000 $392,000
  • Unit 13 sold Apr'18 $485,000; Oct'02 $525,000; Oct'99 $414,510
Built in 2000, with some buyers having bought off-the-plan in 1999
All villas are 3-bedroom, except Number 2 which is 2-bed and Number 12 which is 4-bed
For sales records on all units click here


The current owners of Villa 7 write, "We have been privileged to live in villa 7 Surya, overlooking a tropical garden and 100 metres from the Coral Sea. This setting has inspired pottery, watercolours, drawings and poetry, animated by the ever-changing beauty of this lush and fragrant setting. We hope the buyers are similarly inspired to enjoy this spacious villa and its surrounds." No watercolours nor poetry for me; just sitting by the fountain and reading all those books I accumulated will do me.

It's nice to think we'd never have to pay for another airfare to Bali, nor would we have to remove our two Bali temple gods from "Riverbend"!

It's early days yet and anything could happen or nothing. As my mother used to say, "Erstens kommt es anders, und zweitens als man denkt!"

Googlemap Riverbend


P.S. ... and here's the accountant in me talking: why buy when you can rent? These villas rent for about $500 a week on a long lease, or $26,000 a year. That's $26,000 a year without having to worry about repairs & maintenance, insurance, body corporate fees, insurance, or council rates. Council rates are about $2,750 p.a., body corporate fees $14,000 p.a. (of which about half is for insurance), repairs & maintenance inside the villa - well, it's anyone's guess but call it $3,250 p.a. to round things off to an even $20,000 a year. Add to it the income foregone on the (say) $600,000 paid for the villa, which in my share portfolio would yield a consistent net return of 10% on dividends and franking credits alone, so we can add another $60,000 to the $20,0000. That's $80,000 a year I've saved by NOT having bought the villa, out of which I could easily pay the $26,000 in rent and still be $54,000 ahead. What about the capital gains, I hear you ask. What about it? Have you looked at the above sales figures? An amount of $500,000 invested in 1999 in any well-managed company listed on the ASX would today be worth several times that much (BHP in 1999 was $12 a share - I know; I sold some then! - today it is $50 a share, and that's not even counting the consistent high dividend yield). Any well-managed share portfolio would show at least twice that much in capital gains without any of the costs involved in buying and selling real estate, e.g. stamp duty, agent's commissions, legal fees! If ever there was a case of "renting is better than buying", this one is it!

P.P.S. If you want to know what a property is worth, realestateview.com.au is a good starting point.