The property market in the southeast corner of Queensland returned to positive territory this quarter, following last quarter’s contraction. And the Brisbane LGA median house price has grown 1.3% to a new high of $635,000, the highest this has been in history.
The data from the latest REIQ Queensland Market Monitor (QMM) also revealed some surprises in the June quarter, including almost 3% growth in the Townsville market, its second quarter of growth in the past year. The QMM shows a 2% fall in the Toowoomba market, which brings the city of flowers its second contraction in two consecutive quarters, and an unusual twist in Bundaberg where the median unit price is more expensive than the median house price. It’s cheaper to buy a house than a unit in Bundaberg.
REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said it had been a challenging quarter for the Queensland property market, with factors such as the lengthy federal election campaign and extensive uncertainty around the negative gearing debate impacting heavily on most markets.
“We know from our agents that listings volumes were down and the whole market really just hit pause while they waited for a result in the election, which would also give certainty around negative gearing for investors,” she said.
“Most of Queensland has struggled through this uncertainty and we have seen more markets contract than grow, which, of course, is disappointing,” she said.
“However, there has been significant focus on Queensland’s affordability and we have anecdotal evidence that investors from the southern states are once more returning to our markets,” she said.
“The Queensland housing market is doing what it does best – growing in a steady, sustainable way, consistently over the long term and it is a very good thing that we have not followed the peaks and troughs that occupy the graphs of other property markets,” Ms Mercorella said.
Brisbane’s unit market fell just a fraction, 0.2%, to $440,000 for the quarter. However, the annual median sale price grew 0.3% compared with June 2015, to $441,300, and this is 7.6% greater than five years ago.
The Gold Coast powered to a new median house sale price of $580,156, representing quarterly growth of 3.6%. The annual median sale price, of $560,000 is 6.7% higher than 12 months ago and 14.9% higher than five years ago, establishing the Gold Coast as one of the best performers in the state.
The Gold Coast unit market also landed in positive territory, with a quarterly price of $390,000, which is 1.6% higher than last quarter. The annual median unit price is $380,000, which is 3.3% higher than 12 months ago and 2.7% higher than five years ago, when it was $370,000.
The Toowoomba median house price fell 2.3% this quarter, to $343,000, however, the annual median price held steady, recording a 0.1% growth and the market is still 17.5% higher than five years ago.
It’s a similar story in the city of flowers’ unit market. While the quarterly price fell by 2.7%, to $301,500, the annual median of $310,000 is 3.7% higher than 12 months ago and a whopping 26.8% higher than five years ago, indicating that the market has likely satisfied some pent-up demand and the market is now leveling off.
The Sunshine Coast median house market added 1% value to the quarterly price, to arrive at a June median of $525,000. The annual median sale price of $515,000 is 4.7% higher than this time last year and 13.2% higher than five years ago.
The unit market for the Sunshine Coast LGA has softened slightly, to $365,000, but the annual median price of $370,000 remains 5.7% higher than five years ago, when it was $350,000.
The Bundaberg quarterly median house price fell 5.5% this quarter, to $260,000, which is the lowest median house price – out of the largest LGAs- in the state, along with Rockhampton. In a rare and unusual turn of events, it’s now more expensive to buy an apartment in Bundaberg, where the median quarterly price is $287,000, than it is to buy a house.
“This is really unusual and it’s a little bit of a quirk of the market – we haven’t seen this in more than 20 years,” she said.
“It’s also a reflection of the buyers, who are largely pre-retirees and southern investors buying low-maintenance units that are easy to look after and very liveable,” Ms Mercorella said.
“There is also a mix of young first-home buyer couples who are buying an affordable first rung on the property ladder,” she said.
The Gladstone market fell 6.7% this quarter, the second-largest quarterly fall in the state –out of the largest LGAs-, behind only Mackay, which fell 6.9%. With a median house price of $331,250, the Gladstone market is now one of the most affordable in Queensland.
Gladstone’s unit market stalled in the June quarter, and with just 18 transactions no meaningful trends could be identified. The annual median unit price remains $280,000 which is 1.8% above 12 months ago and 29.4% below five years ago.
Rockhampton’s median house price fell 3.7% this quarter, to $260,000, the lowest in the state and with only 16 unit transactions this quarter, no trends could be identified. The annual median unit price is $299,000, which is 17.2% below last year, but 7.7% above five years ago.
Mackay has experienced some of the greatest medium-term market falls in the state, with three of its suburbs – North Mackay, Blacks Beach and South Mackay – all around 30% below the five-year waterline. The Mackay LGA median house price of $316,500 is 6.9% lower than the March quarter. Mackay’s unit market fell 2.1% from 26 transactions, to $235,000.
Townsville revealed a surprise bump in median house price growth this quarter, reflecting the anecdotal evidence from many agents who say it has been a busy quarter. The median house price grew 2.9% to $339,685 and it is a hoped-for sign that the market is stabilising, preparing for a busy spring season.
Townsville’s unit market recorded 106 transactions for a quarterly median of $280,000, just 1.8% below last quarter. The annual median of $285,000 is 0.2% greater than 12 months ago and 10.9% below five years ago.
The Cairns market did not report strong quarterly growth, with its median of $390,000 exactly the same as last quarter, however, the REIQ is confident it will return to stronger growth trends in coming quarters. The annual median house price of $400,000 is 2.6% higher than this time last year and 10.5% higher than five years ago. The Cairns market is classed as a rising market both for houses and units.
“The Queensland residential property market has improved this quarter, broadly speaking, and while we continue our efforts to do everything we can to help those markets operating in challenging conditions, it is encouraging to see solid growth being recorded in other parts of the state,” Ms Mercorella said.