Croc or no croc, Straddie’s a hit with homebuyers

Debra Bella

News Corp Australia Network

Ray White auctioneer Haesley Cush welcomes an island crowd of 70 to one of the first auctions of the year for Queensland. Picture: Debra Bela


Days before reports that a 3m crocodile had relocated to the idyllic island haven of North Stradbroke Island, 16 bidders were spotted trying to do the same thing.

“I’ve never seen it so busy, the island, is it normally like this?” asked an onlooker in a crowd of 70 who watched as an original condition unit at 1/2 Bigoon Rd, Point Lookout sold under the hammer in one of Queensland’s first auctions for 2023.

Bidders line up to register for the North Stradbroke Island auction. Picture: Debra Bela


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The auction was timed to coincide with school holidays, when the island population explodes from just over 2000 to hundreds of thousands who camp, glamp and move into holiday homes and apartments for an island escape that is a 25-minute ferry ride from Brisbane’s bayside.

Point Lookout’s North Gorge Walk. Picture: Tourism and Events Queensland


“I haven’t sold a home to a stranger in 12 years,” Ray White North Stradbroke Island principal Chris Ransley said.

SEE WHAT’S FOR SALE ON STRADDIE NOW

“We’ve sold multiple properties to interstate or international buyers but they all have a history on the island,” Mr Ransley said.

“Whether they haven’t been to the island for 20 years, or their parents used to holiday here or they used to come here as a kid, there’s always a backstory.”

Ray White auctioneer Haesley Cush returns to holiday mode after the auction. Picture: Debra Bela


Ray White auctioneer Haesley Cush swapped boardshorts for slacks and a long-sleeved shirt to take the deceased estate to auction, interrupting his own family holiday on the island for the occasion.

“This is the first time I’ve worn shoes in two weeks,” Mr Cush said.

The auction was over in less than 10 minutes.

Ray White auctioneer Haesley Cush left his gavel at home while bystanders brought boogie boards and surfboards to the auction. Picture: Debra Bela


Bidding opened at $300,000, already more than twice the price paid for the property in 1997 and quickly moved to $500,000 with help from a Brisbane mum in a sarong who shouted out her bids while bouncing her baby in a sling across her chest.

“Sarong and thongs, what a way to rock up to an auction,” she said afterwards.

“We’ve been looking for two years. We holiday on Straddie a lot and it’s just the old-school charm of this place. The whole island is underdeveloped and that’s how I want it to stay. You dial down the social media, you don’t want to say your location and you just relax.”

Ray White North Stradbroke Island principal Chris Ransley (centre) during the auction. Picture: Debra Bela


At $520,000 Chris Ransley walked through the auction day crowd to announce the property was on the market, at which point more bidders entered the race, including another Brisbane couple who held up paddle number 11 to enter the auction with a bid of $521,000.

Four bidders continued the contest until the property sold for $542,000 to the Brisbane couple with paddle 11 who were also looking for a holiday home on the island.

The home has a courtyard near its main entrance. Picture: realestate.com.au


“It’s a great market we are in, with more buyers than sellers, which for Straddie hasn’t always been the case,” Mr Ransley said.

“Now with Covid, more people have re-established their love for the island or found the island and a lot of those people have said we should buy something here and they want to get in.”

The original condition unit had been the holiday home of much-loved Straddie Singer, Sue Barnes, for 25 years before she passed away last year, leaving family friend Giselle Donaldson as executor of the estate.

Executor of the Point Lookout estate, Giselle Donaldson, with her partner Clyde. Picture: Debra Bela


“We used to holiday here all the time,” Ms Donaldson said. “This is the first year we’ve had to stay somewhere else. It’s such a good spot being 100m from the beach and across from Bob’s Shop. There’s so much nostalgia here.”

Point Lookout’s famous North Gorge Walk. Picture: Supplied


Point Lookout is on the northeastern side of the island and is Queensland’s most easterly point. Its proximity to major surf beaches, dining, whale watching vantage points, and the island’s up-market shopping precinct sees homes here attract a premium price for the island with Point Lookout’s median unit price currently $1.26m, PropTrack data shows. There have been too few house sales to give an accurate indication of the current median house price.

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