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The Best Suburbs for an Investment Property in Cairns

property in the tropics

The close location of Cairns to the Great Barrier Reef and World Heritage-listed rainforests attracts numerous tourists annually, ensuring a steady demand for rental properties. This high demand, coupled with low vacancy rates, generates persistent interest among investors who love the tropics and want to purchase a property in Cairns.

cairns property investment

The city offers a diverse range of suburbs catering to different investment goals, from high-rental yields in the inner-city areas to family-friendly suburbs, beachfront properties for winter getaways, or developing areas in the south part of the city with much potential.  

If you are serious about purchasing a property in Cairns, contact our broker to learn more about current trends and local investment opportunities. 

The Most Popular Suburbs for an Investment Property in Cairns  

With its tropical climate and vibrant lifestyle, Cairns is a good place to invest in, with plenty of mining and tourism job opportunities, good schools, and a thriving art culture that entices people to live in the area. It is also one of the most cited areas to invest in due to its very strong economy with its unemployment rate of only 2.9 percent as of August 2023. 

palm cove property

1. Cairns Inner Suburbs   

The Cairns Inner Suburbs, like Cairns North, Parramatta Park, and Westcourt, are the most vibrant neighbourhoods close to the city’s bustling shops, trendy restaurants, and diverse workplaces. These areas also have excellent public transport links and revitalisation efforts to attract residents and businesses, increasing demand for property, which can potentially boost values, making the inner city suburbs great areas to buy an investment property in Cairns 

Because of its location, inner-city living translates to strong rental yields, making these areas attractive for investors. Students and young professionals are more drawn to the convenience and energy of this fast-paced area. This bustling energy does have its downside—mostly that there is traffic noise and the buzz of nightlife that may not be too alluring for individuals seeking a quiet and serene environment.  

2. Popular Family Suburbs  

Family-friendly suburbs of Edge Hill, Redlynch, Whitfield, and Smithfield offer safe and secure environments that matter most to families. These suburbs are known for their wide, tree-lined streets with parks, playgrounds, and childcare facilities that allow kids to run free and make happy memories.  

House units and prices in these suburbs tend to be lower compared to the inner city, making them more attractive for families. Education is also a big benefit in these areas, comprising quality public and private schools offering residents a wide variety of excellent options. These suburbs also offer convenient access to shopping centres for grocery and back-to-school supply shopping.  

The combination of affordability and accessibility makes family-friendly suburbs a strong contender for people looking for investment property in Cairns and seeking reliable, long-term tenants and growth.  

3. The Beaches  

Other investors prefer a slice of paradise to add to their investment portfolio. In Cairns, these are properties in suburbs like Palm Cove, Trinity Beach, Clifton Beach, and Kewarra Beach, where the pristine white sand, turquoise waters, and various luxurious resorts appeal to tourists. During peak season, investment property in Cairns along the beaches can generate significant income, making them a lucrative option for investors.   

cairns beach real estate

Tourists are not the only targets for these properties—professionals working in the tourism industry are also drawn to these areas for convenient workplace access. This means that permanent rental options can provide a more stable income stream.  

Investors, however, also have to consider that tourism is seasonal by nature so that rental yields may fluctuate, with peak seasons offering higher income and off-seasons seeing lower returns. With these higher property prices than other suburbs, careful planning and longer-term investment strategies are necessary.  

5. Developing Areas  

Those looking to invest in areas with potential for future growth should consider developing areas like Mount Peter and Gourdanvale, which sit on the city’s outskirts to the South.  

The appeal of developing areas is that they have lower property prices compared to established suburbs. However, there could be significant value increases when the area matures, as it could be earmarked for future infrastructure projects that could boost its property values.  

Cairns investment property sign

Like other areas, there are also considerations to take into account when investing in new developments—for instance, shops, restaurants, and entertainment may be limited initially, and tenant demand may take some time to pick up as the area is still growing. So, buying investment property in Cairns’ developing areas requires a longer-term vision and patience for the initial vacancy periods.  

Considerations When Buying Investment Property in Cairns  

With several diverse suburbs to choose from, you must consider these critical factors when deciding which investment property to choose from:  

Capital Growth 

Capital growth is the potential to increase a property’s value over time. This is an important consideration for investment properties to assess your potential earnings from profit when you sell the property for a higher price later on. 

Historical data in Cairns showed that there had been minimal capital growth from 2012 to 2019, but recent years have shown a more positive trend, suggesting that the Cairns property market is improving thanks to its planned infrastructure projects and a growing tourism industry. 

Rental Yields  

Successful investment properties come with healthy rental yields—the percentage of rental income you, as a property owner, receive compared to the property’s value. Simply put, a strong rental yield ensures a positive cash flow even after expenses like mortgage repayments and property management fees.  

Vacancy Rates  

These rates represent the unoccupied properties in a given area. Lower vacancy rates are ideal as they indicate strong rental demand, thus minimising the disruptions to rental income. Many areas in Cairns have low vacancy rates, so they are an attractive option for investors who want a more stable source of funds.  

Property Management  

Managing an investment property in Cairns can be time-consuming, so many property owners find professional property management services to handle everything, from finding tenants to managing repairs, complying with regulations, and collecting rent. Their expertise makes things convenient as they save you time and ensure your investment runs smoothly, but they come at additional costs.

Considerations for Choosing the Right Suburb In Cairns

Once you understand key investment considerations, you can start selecting the perfect area for your investment property in Cairns: analyse rental yields, vacancy rates, capital growth potential and property management costs for your shortlisted suburbs so that you can project your potential income and long-term returns.  

Beyond the core factors, however, you must also consider your property type: will you invest in houses or units? Houses offer higher potential rental yields, with the median house rental for 3-bedrooms around $496 in 2023. However, houses may also require larger budgets to put up. On the other hand, units are more affordable at $401 median rents, so they tend to attract busy professionals or young couples.  

When it comes to long-term property investment, you also have to remember to look beyond your immediate surroundings. Any planned infrastructure or developments could increase the property’s value, so plans for new schools, shopping centres, or improved transport links can impact the area’s future growth and amenity offerings.  

Moreover, your investment goals should also align with the profile of the suburb you want to invest in. For instance, inner-city suburbs have high rental yields, but if you wish for strong holiday rental potentials, you would like to look into beachfront investments.  

By considering these factors, you can ensure that your investment property in Cairns has high yields, so it is important to do your research and choose your properties wisely.  


Cairns offers plenty of opportunities for investors seeking a rewarding property market catering to diverse investment goals. With historically strong yields, promises of healthy investment returns, growth potentials fueled by ongoing developments, population, and a thriving tourism industry. But this is only the beginning.  

Learn more about property investments by connecting with experienced professionals whose expertise and personalised advice will be invaluable in guiding you toward your dream investment.  

Start exploring by contacting us today, and get more information about buying an investment property in Cairns.  

By Lauren Eakins

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