Maximising Long-Term Returns on Waterfront Property Investments

It might only be where water meets land, but waterfront and beach-front properties are always in high demand. In recent years the idea of living on the water may have become less obviously appealing given the string of global natural disasters which have received so much media attention, but as a real estate market stable properties in beach communities will always yield high market value. As such, it is extremely difficult to find a property some place where the purchase price is low, but the value is still expected to increase with time. There are a few clever ways to find a steal left out there, with a bit of patience in the search process, and the right eye for future value.


Instead of focusing on the ocean, today many people are finding great success with properties bought alongside rivers. There is a certain romance to the slow pace and dreamy appearance of a river, which still gives the settling feeling of proximity to a body of water. Look for areas with a nearby concentration of river-front commerce with growth potential over a 10 to 20 year time frame. Many such communities have river walks and boardwalks in the works, so consult with local government as to any future plans. Such features boost liveability and tourism. It is also advantageous to look for an area where lifestyle features can be accessed either from the property or nearby. Seek out areas with facility for aquatic activities such as boating, fishing, swimming etc.

Transitioning Industrial Ports

Immediately surrounding many cities are large river, bay or ocean-side communities which have been eaten up by ugly industrial developments. Many such developments are many years old, and cities are looking to reclaim such areas and reallocate them to civilian use. Expect the process of gentrifying such areas to take many years, and look at real estate in such areas as long term investments. Focus on areas where large quantities of government money are being poured into the area. The more the government is willing to invest, the less you will have to in the basic clean-up of the area. Often there are tax breaks and other benefits to businesses and individuals looking to buy or develop in such areas, so do some research before investing.

Breathtaking Water Views

In a world where many people get around in motorised vehicles, it’s no loner such a large priority to step right out onto the beach. Many people actually feel a bit better putting some distance between themselves and Mother Nature. Properties with breathtaking views fetch far more than those that are simply nearby a body of water, even though such a property might be closer. Avoid buying in the ‘grey area’ where beach access is not in walking distance, and there is little to no water view as these areas tend to have elevated prices which will rise but only at standard market rates. Instead follow the ’20 minute rule,’ where buyers will want to drive no more than 20 minutes to access either the water, or commercial amenities. Choosing a property just a bit removed from an already gentrifying community, even a small one, with a great water view will see excellent capital growth with time, and would likely prove to be a cash-flow positive rental property in the meantime.

Sharon Freeman is a freelancer who writes about Real Estate around Coogee & Randwick.

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