First-home buyers, downsizers drive demand for duplexes

Coast duplexes are in demand
Demand for modern townhouses is on the rise as priced-out first-home buyers seek an alternative to free-standing houses or units.
But affordability is only one part of the appeal of the semi-detached style of property, as a new breed of luxury duplexes hits the Gold Coast’s high-end market.
Herron Todd White’s (HTW) latest residential report found entry-level buyers and investors with a budget of $700,000 had turned their attention to townhouses on the back of the steep rise in property prices in the region over the past 18 months.
HTW associate director Sam Gray highlighted the southern central Gold Coast suburbs for affordable housing close to amenities including good schools and shopping centres.
Robina and Varsity Lakes offer affordable townhouse options
“With $700,000 to spend, it’s hard to go past the attached housing options available within Robina and Varsity Lakes,” Mr Gray said.
“For two-bedroom townhouse product in Robina less than say 10 years old, prices typically range between $600,000 and $650,000.“These represent good value for money considering basic entry-level detached housing within the suburb is typically pushing above the $900,000 level now,” he said.
Blake Sullivan, of Sullivan Estate Agents, said more downsizers than investors were active in the mid-range townhouse market, with centrally located secure gated complexes and those with superior recreational facilities attracting the most inquiries.
“We all used to have that frame of mind where we needed the stand-alone house, but people are starting to like the smaller things in life and I feel like this is a sector of the market that is going to continue to see growth here on the Gold Coast,” Mr Sullivan said.
“While investors are sitting on their hands as interest rates rise, older retirees are selling their family homes of 20 or 25 years and downsizing to a property where they can still get a bit of a yard, they don’t have the huge body corporate fees, and they get the opportunity to stack their super.”
Bundall and Southport were other locations highlighted in the duplex market
His recent sales included a renovated double-storey duplex in Carrara which sold for $905,000 after just five days on market. The three-bedroom home last changed hands in August 2021 for $780,000.
At the top-end of the market, luxury villas in beachside locations with the multimillion dollar price tags to match are the digs of choice for interstate sea-changers and cashed-up local buyers.
One of the Gold Coast’s most popular recent listings is “Jefferson”, a unique beach villa on Jefferson Lne, Palm Beach, which is marketed by Ed Cherry, of Harcourts Coastal, with a $4m-plus asking price.
Local boutique developer Nick McDonald, of Mactech, is behind the show-stopping four-bedroom home which was designed by Jayson Pate to maximise living space and luxury inclusions over three levels.
Jefferson at Palm Beach has a $4m price tag
The build on a 480sq m lot comprises a 413sq m floorplan, with an attic playroom, cinema and gym, as well as a suspended glass-bottom pool and entertaining patio.
“In the past, a duplex has never been as desirable as a house, but that has changed with the newly built duplexes where a lot of thought has gone into designing a product with flair,” Mr McDonald said.
“The concept of the duplex started from being the most cost-effective way to make money because technically you are paying half for the land, but it has evolved to being able to design a product that is beachside or in the most desirable location, that has the same liveability as a house, but that is still more affordable.”
Earlier this year, the off-the-plan sale of a pair of designer duplexes currently under construction by Mactech set a new record in the Gold Coast’s most expensive market of Mermaid Beach.
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Interstate buyers splashed a total of $7.9m on the luxury villas at 14 Heron Ave, raising the bar for the highest price ever paid for a non-beachfront duplex in the prestigious suburb.
The villas, called On Heron, were sold by Mr Cherry for $4.1m and $3.8m.
Dan Donovan, of Ray White Burleigh Group, said that while prices were stabilising across the market more broadly, quality duplexes priced about $2m remained in demand with interstate buyers in particular.
“Duplexes that are low maintenance, in a good location, and have the right layout and size are ticking a lot of boxes for buyers, and are receiving a lot of interest compared with free-standing stock at a similar price point,” Mr Donovan said.
“This style of property is appealing to a wide demographic of downsizers and buyers looking for a lock-and-leave property.”
This luxury duplex at 2/45 Petrel Ave, Mermaid Beach, goes under the hammer today
A three-bedroom duplex at 1/35 Sunshine Pde located on the western side of the highway at Miami sold under the hammer for $1.25m last week.
And a three-year-old duplex with contemporary luxury finishes and a plunge pool plus steam room at 2/45 Petrel Ave, Mermaid Beach will be auctioned today. It’s listed by Mr Donovan and Conner Malan.
REA Group data shows “duplex” ranked sixth among most searched terms for Gold Coast listings of properties for sale on, and had increased in popularity since 2021.

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