“We are relatively shorter in the US and Germany; relatively more sanguine on the euro-zone peripherals; and pretty bullish on emerging market debt in local-currency terms – and that has been our position for several years,” he said.Nominal and real interest rates in the core developed economies will remain lower for longer than the market currently anticipates as central banks continue to “surprise” financial markets, as the Fed did recently with the decision to postpone ‘tapering’, he argued.Utermann emphasised the importance of this “surprise” element: one can get one’s bets about tapering wrong, he suggested, but one can confidently assume central banks will do what is necessary to surprise markets, based on their perception of current sentiment.That means continued ‘financial repression’, savers remaining disadvantaged, currency movements hurting investors in certain regions and no “massive sell-off” in developed market sovereign bonds.Despite this, Utermann said the risk of low returns and capital losses if investors wanted to exit positions meant Allianz Global Investors was not advising clients to hold these bonds.Despite “muted and fragmented global growth” and fear of tapering being replaced by fear of deflation, the policy environment will continue to favour risk assets.Equities will “probably earn their risk premium”, he said.“Equities have done substantially better than I’d have expected, despite stagnating earnings – we have seen a significant re-rating,” he added.“Dividends will continue to be an important driver of equity returns.”Utermann warned that the big Japan trade of 2013 might have run its course because the absence of a “real crisis” in the country would delay genuine structural reform of labour markets, in particular.“There is a limit to how big central bank balance sheets can grow, so investing in Japanese risk assets today looks to us like a trade on borrowed time,” he said.But the firm’s long-term bullishness on emerging market local currency bonds remains intact in the face of this year’s sell-off.“Tapering makes people concerned about renewed volatility in that asset class, but it should be a buying opportunity, not a time to sell,” he said.“We expect less volatility next time around because we feel a lot of this is in the price, now. That means the buying opportunity could be short-lived.” Andreas Utermann, global CIO at Allianz Global Investors, thinks central banks will surprise markets with looser-than-expected policy through 2014, keeping bond yields contained in an environment of “muted and fragmented” global growth.“I feel like I’m going through the financial markets equivalent of ‘Groundhog Day’,” Utermann said, name-checking the classic 1993 comedy in which Bill Murray lives through the same 24 hours over and over again, at a press conference in London following his firm’s Investment Forum in New York. “Our position for 2014 is essentially the same we had going into 2011, 2012 and 2013.”Some of that position is now looking a little more contrarian, however.Utermann warned against high exposure to risk assets in Japan and advised investors to buy into weakness in emerging market local currency debt.
Investor dissatisfaction with International Financial Reporting Standards and the UK Financial Reporting Council shows no sign of abating following the release of a report from the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF) into impairment accounting by major banks.In an analysis document, entitled ’Banks Post Mortem – Follow Up’, the LAPFF claims that the UK’s accounting framework for listed companies has allowed major British banks to keep substantial losses out of net income.Elsewhere in the document, the LAPFF renews its long-standing charge that the IFRS accounting framework runs counter to UK public law as well as investor interests.Finally, it delivers a line-by-line rebuttal of the FRC’s legal response to LAPFF’s barrister, George Bompas QC, on the legal status of the IFRS accounting framework in the UK. The release of the analysis comes in the wake of the publication in December 2011 by LAPFF of its report into banking losses in the UK and Ireland, ’UK and Irish Banks Capital Losses – Post Mortem’.The 2011 inquiry by LAPFF into the accounting for financial instruments by major banks focused on the collapse of the capital adequacy regime of banks in the UK and the Republic of Ireland.The latest LAPFF findings show that unbooked losses at the failing Co-operative Bank now total £1.5bn — 88% of the bank’s capital resources (Core Equity Tier 1).And the LAPFF highlights unreported losses totalling £12.1bn (€14.5bn) for the Lloyds Banking Group, 43% of the bank’s capital resources.In a foreword to the finding, LAPFF chairman, Keiran Quinn, writes: “LAPFF is still of the view that until there is an independent enquiry into the failures of the IFRS standard setting and adoption process, matters will not be settled within an appropriate timescale.“The consequences of faulty accounts not discharging solvency duties under the Companies Act create too many conflicts for the various parties involved, particularly when the companies involved are as large as banks.”Quinn concludes with the warning that LAPFF “continues to consult legal advice with regard to these matters.”The roots of investor dissatisfaction with IFRS lie in part with the loan-loss impairment model found in International Accounting Standard 39, Financial Instruments: Recognition and Measurement.Critics of the standard, which sets out an accounting framework for the reporting impairment losses, argue that its incurred-loss model allows banks to delay the recognition of losses on loans that have turned bad.In response to these and other criticisms, the International Accounting Standards Board has been working since 2008 on an IAS 39 replacement.Just like IAS 39, the new standard, International Financial Reporting Standard 9: Financial Instruments, deals with classification and measurement, impairment, and hedge accounting.Crucially, although the board has finalised the hedge accounting module of IFRS 9, and has almost finalised work on classification and measurement under the new standard, it has struggled to round off work on a more forward-looking impairment model.“IFRS 9 is practically finished and will soon be ready to be endorsed,” IASB chairman Hans Hoogervorst said recently.Nonetheless, investor discontent with accounting standards has mounted in recent months.The Universities Superannuation Scheme, Threadneedle Asset Management and the UK Shareholders Association recently joined LAPFF in seeking advice from George Bompas QC on the legality of the IFRS framework within the UK.The FRC countered, however, with its own legal advice: “On the specific issue of its legality, the Department for Business has today confirmed that the concerns expressed by some are misconceived.”But earlier this week, in response to questions from IPE.com, the FRC confirmed that it is “undertaking a review of our paper on the ‘true and fair view’”.And in a letter leaked to IPE.com earlier this week, major UK institutional investors told the FRC that the inclusion of prudence in the IFRS conceptual framework, the true and fair view override, as well as capital maintenance, were areas of major concern for them.Another group of investors, the CFA Institute, also questioned the quality of financial-instruments accounting by banks earlier this year.In a 1 May 2013 blog post, the CFA Institute’s Vincent Papa hit out at the quality of the big banks’ accounting for reclassified financial assets.The concern dates back to the IASB’s decision in 2008 to amend IAS 39 in order to permit banks to move distressed financial assets – excluding derivatives – out of the standard’s fair-value-through-profit-or-loss category to more benign amortised-cost treatments.Papa wrote that for “some” systemically important UK, French and German banks, “there were significant amounts not recognised on income statements due to reclassification, when compared to overall net income or loss.”On the topic of Greek debt holdings, the CFA Institute representative argued: “In 2011, the European Securities Market Authority (ESMA) voiced concerns regarding the inconsistency in how several banks holding Greek sovereign bonds were applying IFRS requirements including reclassification and impairment rules to avoid loss recognition.”
Denmark’s AP Pension has said it cut pension costs for scheme members by 10% in the first six months of this year on the back of the continuing cost-saving effects of its merger with financial sector scheme FSP Pension two years ago.Costs per member fell to DKK1,016 (€136.27) in the first half of 2014 from DKK1,133 in the same period last year.Reporting a few interim figures ahead of its official first-half report, AP Pension also said regular pension contributions increased by 6.9% to DKK2.4bn in the January-to-June period from DKK2.3bn in the first six months of 2013.Søren Dal Thomsen, managing director of AP Pension, said: “We can already see that the result in the period after we closed the books at the end of June has been very good, and that is making a further contribution to the positive development.” He described the fall in costs as one of the most positive elements of the half-year figures.“It shows us the merger with FSP Pension, which we conducted in 2012, is working and that the expected savings are continuing to materialise,” Dal Thomsen said.Traditional guaranteed with-profits pensions produced a return of 7% in the first half, and unit-link pensions generated an average 4.7% return.In the first half of 2013, traditional pension products made a 1.9% investment loss while unit-link products produced returns of between 3.1% and 7.3%.In other news, the chief strategist of Denmark’s largest commercial pension provider PFA Pension warned that shares in social media companies should be viewed with caution and were too expensive.Even though both Twitter and LinkedIn recently reported positive interim financial figures, the sector is high-priced, he said.Henrik Henriksen, chief strategist at PFA Pension, said: “The shares are very expensive in relation to how much the companies are actually earning, so this is not an area we are particularly keen on.”Last week, Twitter reported revenue of $312m (€234m) for its second-quarter financial period, up 124% from the same period the year before.This was followed by LinkedIn’s report of a 47% year-on-year increase in sales to $534m.Henriksen said that, while the interim reports from both companies had prompted fillips in their share prices, this had simply been a reaction to the fact the numbers were better than expected, and also the fact that the shares had performed badly so far this year.The high prices of shares in social media firms were driven in particular by hopes about the amount the companies could earn in future, and this made them unsafe investments, he said.“It is true that, compared with before, these companies have some exciting and more sustainable business models,” he said.“But the question remains how much will they cost, and how much future growth is priced into the shares.”
“In that agenda, environmental, social and governance (ESG) matters have a key role to play.”Passant expressed regret that the existing legislative draft for the ELTIF, which Hill has said should pass into law by the end of the year, did not reference sustainability.He said this was despite a number of other draft EU laws beginning to “embed and foster” the notion of sustainability.“Long-term investment and ESG can again not be decoupled, especially when it comes to investments that may span decades, such as infrastructure,” he said.According to Passant, the ELTIF was a unique opportunity to re-direct “vast” amounts of currently short-term, listed capital into long-term investment, while also considering ESG and non-financial matters.He argued that ensuring ESG was taken on board would be one of the steps needed harmonise European investment markets under the CMU.For more on the opportunities for sustainable investment within the CMU, see the upcoming December issue of IPE The European Commission should focus on moving investors away from “excessive short-termism” as it develops the concepts surrounding the Capital Markets Union (CMU), according to the European sustainable investment association.Eurosif’s executive director François Passant said it was currently unclear what shape the CMU would take, with financial services commissioner Jonathan Hill last week pledging to consult with NGOs and the financial sector ahead of delivering an “action plan” by 2015.Hill’s speech did not directly reference sustainability, while highlighting the importance of the European Long-term Investment Fund (ELTIF), but Passant argued that it would be impossible to separate any roadmap from the European executive’s sustainability targets, such as those aiming to reduce carbon emissions.“During the process of defining what CMU means, there is an opportunity to think how the emphasis of capital markets can be placed more on the long term, away from excessive short-termism,” Passant told IPE.
Philip Shier has been elected chair of the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority’s (EIOPA) pension stakeholder group, following the resignation of Benne van Popta.Aon Hewitt actuary Shier, who was appointed to the Occupational Pensions Stakeholder Group (OPSG) in 2011 and reappointed in 2013, will serve out the remainder of Van Popta’s two-and-a-half-year term.IPE understands that members of the OPSG elected him during the group’s first meeting of the year, held in EIOPA’s offices in Frankfurt on 9 March.Shier beat one other candidate to the position. He has previously been an outspoken supporter of the OPSG and warned that EIOPA’s stakeholder group would come to be dominated by insurance issues if the European Commission accepted proposals to merge the insurance group and its pensions counterpart.EIOPA chairman Gabriel Bernardino previously told IPE he was in favour of retaining the two groups focused on insurance and pensions matters, respectively.Van Popta resigned earlier this year to focus on his other responsibilities, which include chairing Dutch metal workers fund PMT and Detailhandel, the scheme for retail sector workers in the Netherlands.He was elected chair in October 2013, succeeding the OPSG’s inaugural chair Chris Verhaegen. Janwillem Bouma, director of the pensions office at Shell Netherlands, was named as his replacement in late January.In addition to serving on the OPSG, Shier has been president of the Society of Actuaries in Ireland and a member and later chairman of the Groupe Consultatif Actuariel Européen’s pensions committee.The organisation, now known as the Actuarial Association of Europe, elected Shier as its vice-chairman in 2014.OPSG members can only serve one term as chair of the group, and IPE understands Shier’s tenure would preclude him from seeking a full term in 2016.Shier was unavailable for comment at time of publication.
EIOPA is expected to present its findings to the European Commission in February 2016, and a proposal in shape of a Regulation could follow.The Commission identified personal pensions as one of the areas in need of reform to develop a Capital Markets Union (CMU).As early as his confirmation hearing last October, Jonathan Hill, commissioner for financial stability, identified the “underdeveloped” personal pensions market as a hurdle to the CMU’s development. Bernard Delbecque, director of economics and research at the European Fund and Asset Management Association (EFAMA), said the consultation would be an important step towards achieving a single personal pension system that would augment retirement savings options for the EU citizen.One major benefit of a harmonised system, he said, would be the potential for scale, creating efficiencies in investment management in particular. This, in turn, would achieve higher returns than would be feasible under smaller nationally based equivalents. The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) aims to boost the personal pensions market with the imminent launch of a consultation paper setting out a common European approach.Gabriel Bernardino, the supervisor’s chair, told a recent PensionsEurope conference that the initiative’s aim was to put in place an optional, common EU scheme to provide personal pensions for European workers, particularly those whose careers take them across EU national borders.Bernardino said the consultation was expected to start on or around 1 July and would run for three months.“At present, the pension situation is fragmented,” he told delegates. “It is clearly necessary to achieve a more common approach to personal pensions.”
Mercer said Race decided to step back from business leadership to focus on client work and a small number of new service delivery, risk and governance responsibilities.Before working at Mercer, Blackie was commercial director for Aon Hewitt’s consultancy business in Scotland, and also worked at Edinburgh Fund Managers, as well as Merrill Lynch Investment Managers. Mercer has appointed Edinburgh-based Steven Blackie as its UK head of investments.He will succeed Patrick Race, who held the position for more than four years.In his new job as UK head of investments, Blackie will focus on developing Mercer’s advisory and delegated services, as well as growing “innovative offerings for the wealth management and insurance market segments,” the company said.Blackie has been commercial director for Mercer’s UK investments business up until this appointment, having first joined the consultancy back in 2009 as head of the Edinburgh investment team.
Cyril Widdershoven looks at the unique problems facing the sovereign wealth funds of the Gulf Cooperation CouncilThe Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are facing a major financial crisis if they fail to make changes to their own structures or economies. A continued period of low prices for oil and natural gas will have a detrimental effect on the overall stability of the regional economies. After years of high oil prices, generating vast amounts of revenues being put into sovereign wealth funds (SWFs), the market is oversupplied.Still, gross domestic growth overall in the region is positive, and inflation remains under control. Total growth of the GGC’s GDP, according to the IMF, is set to decrease to 2.7% in 2016, in comparison to 3.2% in 2015 and 3.4% in 2014.The IMF and a report from Indosuez Wealth Management have, however, reiterated that this positive growth could soon be reversed due to oil prices and the lack of structural reforms. The fiscal landscape of the GCC has changed, again showing the dangers looming for a rentier-state region, as government budgets largely depend on a single commodity. Oil and gas exporters have been hit very hard lately. Some changes have been put in place already, such as the removal of part of energy subsidies and the introduction of VAT but also an emerging trend inside of the GCC to attract foreign direct investments. The push to bring about reform through innovation, deregulation, divestment, taxation, subsidy cuts, reduced spending and inward investment has become very clear with regards to the SWFs’ investment strategies in the GCC.Arab sovereign wealth funds are feeling the pressure of low oil prices, increased government budget deficits and regional economic developments. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are also feeling the negative impact of their increased military spending, due to operations in Yemen and Syria. Financial circumstances of the Arab Gulf countries have changed dramatically. After a very long period of high oil and gas revenues, countries such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar have been confronted by the current low price settings. The impact of OPEC’s Saudi-led oil cartel’s strategy to fight for market share, mainly to block non-OPEC production (US, Brazil and Russia), has pushed most GCC countries into uncharted territory. The ripple effects of the oil cartel’s strategy have become visible. Instead of having to cope with the stress of finding safe but profitable investment opportunities in the West or Asia, SWFs in the Middle East are involved increasingly in dealing with the need to counter mounting government debt at home. As Arab SWFs, such as the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), Saudi Arabia’s SAGIA or the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), have been mainly the investment arm of the respective governments to increase revenues outside of their own domestic markets, the situation now has become the contrary. In recent weeks, news has emerged that sovereign funds could be retracting around $700bn (€614bn) from European stock exchanges. The need to offload investments by sovereign funds is mainly related to the oil-price slump. Sharp sell-offs are expected in the global markets, with European stock exchanges to be hit the hardest, to a total of $700bn. Analysts have already warned that this could partly explain the fledgling development of share prices on the European exchanges. Since the start of 2016, around $240bn has been wiped out already. In addition to Norway’s oil fund, Arab sovereign funds still hold $2trn in publicly listed equities worldwide. Around one-third is held in Western European equities ($700bn), of which 25-33% is in banking stocks. It is expected that funds like ADIA, SAGIA, DIA and QIA, which hold stakes in Volkswagen, Barclays, Credit Suisse, Sainsbury’s and Glencore, could be adjusting their investment strategies.The main issue at present they need to address is whether there is a need to liquidate non-GCC holdings to counter increased financial needs of their cash-strapped governments. Inside the GCC, the financial situation of the respective governments varies widely. Kuwait, as one of the main OPEC producers, has not yet been faced with increased government deficits. Kuwait’s SWF is also one of the best managed in the region. Still, the latter also has shown the effects of lower hydrocarbon revenues, as it is putting out less new money.Global SWFs are holding assets of around $7trn. Of this, $3.2trn-3.4trn is held by Arab SWFs. Since the set-up of these Arab funds, largely held by the respective governments or ruling families, their main objective has been to diversify income generation by investing outside of the region. The main target regions have traditionally been Europe or the US and Canada. Due to the negative impact of lower oil and gas prices, combined with an additional share-price slump and economic slow-down in these regions, the majority of these SWFs have been forced to reassess their long-term investment strategies. Since the beginning of 2015, a slow-down has been visible in outgoing investment volumes, mainly due to the fact Middle Eastern governments are increasing the pressure on local SWFs to invest in the local market. Qatar has already been selling some commitments to private equity (PE) funds, while others have stated that the reason the Japanese market dropped early in the year was because of selling from Saudi Arabia. Two reasons behind this change in tactics are clear – to stimulate the local economy and to reduce overall government debt. At the same time, the management of these SWFs has been urged to increase returns and manage their reserves more efficiently. The first signs of this refocus on local markets has become visible already. SWFs, such as ADIA, SAGIA and SAMA, have become more active in local PE, real estate and infrastructure opportunities.In addition to the SWFs’ retraction of funds, GCC pension funds also have become more locally focused. The stress on these funds, holding $400bn-500bn, has become even more harsh. Due to a combination of sub-optimal asset allocations with unproductive high cash reserves, limited exposure to high-return alternative investments, the fragmentation of mandates and very low internal skill levels, the yields on investments have been remarkably low. GCC governments are exploring other options, as, due to shifts in demographics and high benefit levels, most of these funds are expected to face funding gaps very soon.The main focus of GCC-based SWFs at present seems to be infrastructure projects in the Arab region. Due to the need to counter a possible $1trn shortage in funding of infrastructure financing in the region, Arab governments have urged the funds to target these projects, in combination with private investors and private sector companies. Public/private partnerships (PPPs) are part of the deal in the coming years. PPPs and alternative sources of funding, which might offer international and regional investors the opportunity to participate in these projects, are set to be a main instrument. Funds like Kuwait’s Global Investment House, Qatar Investment Authority, SAGIA and ADIA,are expected to be major players. The possible privatisation of parts of national companies, such as Saudi Aramco, could be also a potential target.
Jeanette Tappin and her husband Ray Williamson at the house she grew up in. Pic Mark Cranitch.Mr Hicks said the bidding started at $525,000, and was “on the market” at $580,000 with four of the six bidders still in the game at $620,000.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus14 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market14 hours ago“After that it was between Patrick and another buyer, who wanted to knock the house down and build a new house with city views,” Mr Hicks said.“The other bidder went to $638,000 but Patrick had the winning bid at $640,000.”The post-war house has three bedrooms and sits on an elevated 607sq m block with the potential for city views. SEYMOUR FAMILY BUYS $7.75M RIVERFRONT HOUSE MORE REAL ESTATE NEWS Broncos prop Patrick carrigan has bought his first property at Holland Park WestBRONCOS young gun Patrick Carrigan may have rejected a million-dollar deal to play with a rival side, but the forward has cemented his future in Brisbane, buying a deceased estate at auction on the weekend. One of six registered bidders, 21-year-old Carrigan was able to hold off the competition, securing the Holland Park West house for $640,000, and keeping alive some cherished childhood memories. DARIUS BOYD HITS NATIONAL TOP FIVE Prior to the much anticipated auction, Ms Tappin told The Courier-Mail that she hoped that whoever bought the house would keep it as a family home. Speaking after the successful auction, Ms Tappin said its sale to Carrigan was “the way it was meant to be”.“Dad loved the Broncos,” she said. “Patrick is on the squad and his uncle, two doors up, did all of our gardening and landscaping.“I texted him (the uncle) and said it was now over to their family to look after the house.”The Courier Mail has reached out to Carrigan for comment. Broncos forward Patrick Carrigan has re-signed with the club.Place Bulimba agent Shane Hicks said the house had been owned by the same owner for 64 years, before he died just after his 100th birthday. Mr Hicks said Carrigan’s aunt lived two doors up from the house, and the then young, promising junior footballer would often wander down and talk to “old Harold”.“Old Harold was a massive Broncos fan,” Mr Hicks said. “Harold followed Patrick’s career and his daughter (Jeanette Tappin) is ecstatic not just with the price but the fact her father would be proud to sell his home to Patrick.” CATTLE BARON’S FUN HOUSE FOR RENT It has city viewsIt has timber floorboards, a corrugated iron roof, back verandah and plenty of natural light. The floorplan is original and includes three generous size bedrooms, a central renovated bathroom, separate toilet and spacious kitchen. RETIRED JUDGE LISTS HIS BIG HOUSE
Median house price: $680,000Median house rent: $640/weekMedian unit price: $405,000Median unit rent: $450/weekAverage days on market: 30.5 Average hold period: 12 years Population: 9121Average weekly household income: $1323Median age: 43 The Gold Coast has a number of suburbs with a median house price close to the city’s overall median.THE Glitter Strip is renowned for its flashy mega-mansions but you don’t have to be a millionaire to live in the city.The Gold Coast’s median house price of $655,000 is considered affordable in comparison to Melbourne and Sydney’s, which stands at $710,000 and $920,000 respectively.Currumbin Waters, Helensvale and Robina were the three areas with a median house price closest to the Gold Coast’s overall median, as featured in the Bulletin’s Sold On Gold Coast property guide. So what makes these suburbs great value for money? Helensvale has become a bustling area in the northern suburbs.Helensvale has become one of the Gold Coast’s busiest hubs.With a Westfield shopping centre, popular train station and its proximity to theme parks, it has a lot to offer.While it is at the northern end of the Coast, it feels much more central because of its public transport network.The extension of the light rail to connect with the train, which travels north to Brisbane and south to Varsity Lakes, has encouraged more people to move to the area. More from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa10 hours ago02:37Gold Coast property: Sovereign Islands mega mansion hits market with $16m price tag1 day agoIt also makes it easy for residents to travel to Southport, Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach without having to worry about traffic or parking. There are a range of different types of homes on offer in the area.Larger homes with bigger blocks, waterfront properties and townhouses are amongthose in abundance of supply. As it is a growing area, Helensvale is also home to several new housing developments. Villawood Properties’ community The Surrounds is one of the latest. Its $4 million state-of-the-art leisure centre recently opened. There are also some impressive display homes around, with many designs winning awards.Porter Davis property advisor Julie Ferriere encouraged house hunters to keep an open mind when looking through them.She urged buyers to look at homes that were in their budget, visit a range of different builders, ask lots of questions, particularly about what fixtures and fittings are included, to ensure its clear what the design will look like, and pay close attention to the layout. 2. Helensvale Median house price: $655,000Median house rent: $580/weekMedian unit price: $428,500Median unit rent: $515/weekAverage days on market: 48 Average hold period: 10 years Population: 23,106Average weekly household income: $1483Median age: 39 Source: CoreLogic data to April 2019 MORE NEWS: Why the trend towards ‘spools’ is heating up 3. Robina MORE NEWS: First home buyers have upper hand 1. Currumbin Waters Median house price: $635,000Median house rent: $600/weekMedian unit price: $353,500Median unit rent: $410/weekAverage days on market: 60 Average hold period: 11 years Population: 16,862Average weekly household income: $1642Median age: 41 Currumbin Waters is between the beach and the Hinterland.Only minutes from some of the Gold Coast’s most beautiful beaches and featuring plenty of parklands and a lake, Currumbin Waters offers the best of both worlds. Currumbin Creek divides the southern suburb, which is the gateway from the beach to the Hinterland. The creek is a bustling area on warm days, providing a safe spot for children to swim and take part in water activities like stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking. Offering a point of difference to its beachside neighbour, Currumbin Waters is surrounded by rolling hills and greenery. On the other side of the suburb is Currumbin Valley — a nature-lover’s playground with rainforest walks, the ever-popular rock pools and mountains with picture-perfect views. Its natural beauty is a big tick with house hunters and the main reason why properties in the suburb are among the longest held on the Gold Coast. Residents hold on to their houses for an average of 12 years, according to the latest CoreLogic figures. It also provides a much cheaper option for buyers looking to break into the area but can’t afford to buy in Currumbin itself. Currumbin Waters’ median house price of $680,000 is $141,000 cheaper than its neighbour. There are also plenty of options to buy waterside thanks to the creek and two man-made waterways within the suburb. On the boarder of Queensland and New South Wales, it is a handy spot for those who commute between the two states.It’s also a popular spot for families thanks to its range of amenities including sporting facilities. These include the Merv Craig Sports Ground, Tierney Park, which is home to the Currumbin District Horse Club, and Palm Beach Currumbin Rugby Union Club’s home ground at Currumbin Hills Park. Robina is home to one of the largest shopping centres in the southern hemisphere.Robina has come a long way since its humble beginnings as grazing farmland almost 40 years ago.It is now one of the Gold Coast’s biggest community hubs with state-of-the-art shopping, recreation and education facilities. The central suburb is between the Pacific Motorway and Southport-Burleigh Rd with Merrimac and Clear Island Waters on one side and Varsity Lakes on the other. It has more than 30 parks and is surrounded by lakes, waterways, walking tracks and cycling paths. It is also home to one of the largest shopping centres in the southern hemisphere — Robina Town Centre.Bond University is on the eastern side of the suburb while Cbus Super Stadium, where rugby league team the Gold Coast Titans train and play, is on the western side. Locals can make the most of public transport with Robina Station offering easy access to Brisbane via the train and buses that service the Coast. The suburb is considered one of the Coast’s most liveable.It has a mix of housing options, from apartments and townhouses to duplexes and houses.According to the latest CoreLogic data, the median house price in Robina is $665,000 and $428,500 for units.Development has breathed new life into the suburb over the years, particularly residential.Bellevue at The Glades is one of the latest developments in the area. It will include 58 apartments across two buildings, which will be connected at the podium level.Both buildings are expected to be finished in November with more than 70 per cent sold.