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The ‘better than expected’ Queensland property market

29 June 2020 Cameron Micallef
Antonia Mercorella

The Queensland property market has shown strong signs of growth and resilience during the first three months of the year, research shows.

Data collated by the REIQ has shown regional Queensland led the way for growth in the Sunshine State.

Queensland certainly offers a mixed bag of results across this quarter, which was anticipated. Yet every region has performed better than expected to date and continue to do so, noted Antonia Mercorella, CEO of the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ). 

While the Prime Minister announced lockdowns from 18 March, just 12 days before the quarterly update was released, Ms Mercorella believes the data shows the market is performing stronger than many predicted.

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“This despite major banks, research firms and media naysayers collectively predicting ‘worse case’ property price declines from the onset of COVID-19 — forecasting falls from anywhere between 20–40 per cent.”

The best performer for annual median house price growth for a second consecutive quarter was Mackay, with a rise of 6.2 per cent to $360,000. 

Mackay’s housing market has been in recovery for over five years, with its median house price recuperating from significant falls. However, it continues to inch closer to its top median price of $390,000 recorded in December 2014 (-7.7 per cent).

“In 2019, Mackay experienced a very positive year of growth, not only in relation to property but for the local economy as well,” Ms  Mercorella said.

“A dynamic resources sector coupled with large infrastructure projects saw a boost in employment opportunities and population growth throughout the year. That momentum gained over the last year or two has certainly continued into the first three months of 2020 and is a great result for Mackay.”

The REIQ has also noted the Sunshine Coast property market continued to remain one of the prime spots in Australia for investment. 

“Noosa has clearly seen the biggest market gains in the greater region when you consider it’s ushered in a record median house price of $800,000 on the back of five years’ growth of 44.1 per cent, making it the most expensive housing market in Queensland,” Ms Mercorella noted.

“And it should come as no surprise that Noosa also had the most expensive units in the state as well, which climbed 8.7 per cent to a median price of $625,000 over the last 12 months.”

Ms Mercorella also believes 2020 was looking promising for the Brisbane market. Brisbane house prices increased by 0.5 of a percentage point in January 2020. February saw house prices continue to rise across every capital city by 1.1 per cent nationally, except Darwin. 

Five capital cities achieved record-high property values including Brisbane, which saw an increase of 0.6 of a percentage point, in line with the national trend for positive property price growth since June 2019. Brisbane’s upper quartile values were 2.2 per cent higher than the prior 12 months compared with the lower quartile, which increased by 1.3 per cent.

March 2020 saw the initial impacts of the coronavirus start to trickle through to house prices, but it was still early days with price rises across most capital cities still driving national dwelling prices up by 0.7 of a percentage point.

However, March was also the lowest monthly gain since the property market lifted in July last year — Brisbane rose by 0.6 of a percentage point to a monthly median of $506,553. This weakening in the growth trend in the second half of the month also ushered in a period of “unprecedented uncertainty” as crowd limits and social distancing policies took hold.

“It’s pleasing to see that the Brisbane property market continues to show underlying strength in the first three months of 2020,” Ms Mercorella said.

“Understandably, the COVID-19 pandemic is still creating uncertainty. As we continue to navigate through to the other side, Brisbane is likely to be the one of the best performing property markets over the next few years, particularly in light of its stability through trading restrictions and lockdowns as real estate continued to transact on the back of the federal government’s economic reforms.”

The ‘better than expected’ Queensland property market
Antonia Mercorella reb
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