The number of unit and townhouse sales in Queensland increased in the March quarter on the back of lower prices, new data from the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) has revealed.
The REIQ’s latest quarterly Queensland Market Monitor found the numbers of preliminary unit and townhouse sales across the state were up 11 per cent compared to the December quarter last year.
Over the March quarter period, there was also a dramatic increase in the numbers of units sold between $250,000 and $350,000 with sales in this price bracket increasing 22 per cent, the REIQ said.
"This increase in more affordable unit and townhouse sales is being driven by demand from first home buyers and investors, who often target properties at the lower end of the market," REIQ CEO Anton Kardash said.
"About 19 per cent of homes financed in Queensland are now being bought by first home buyers, which is the highest level of activity from first-time property buyers since 2009 when the First Home Owners Boost was available.
"Investors too are making a long-awaited return to the market with more than 4,500 properties bought by investors in March this year. The 10-year average is 5,000 dwellings per month so this is also the strongest level of activity from investors since early 2010."
The REIQ said that, over the March quarter, median unit and townhouse prices softened in a number of areas due to this shift in demand for more affordable properties. "Median prices reflect the types of properties that sell over a particular timeframe so if more affordable properties sell the median will be dragged lower," the REIQ said.
Brisbane’s median unit and townhouse price softened 3.1 per cent to $387,750, however sales activity was up more than 20 per cent compared to the previous quarter.
In Logan and Redland, the large drop in median is largely due to a shift towards affordable stock. Woodridge in Logan saw an increase in sales – particularly for the sub $250,000 bracket.
In Redland, Cleveland sales were down, while more affordable sales in Capalaba were up. Logan recorded the largest increase in sales activity for the southeast, with preliminary sales numbers nearly doubling that recorded over the previous quarter.
On the Gold Coast, the beachside suburbs recorded the greatest increase in activity, with Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach topping the list. The Sunshine Coast saw a similar trend with Mooloolaba and Noosaville recording the top increases in sales activity over the quarter.
The Sunshine Coast was also the only major region for Southeast Queensland to record an increase in its median, up 2.2 per cent to $332,250.
Although a strong result for the house market was recorded over the quarter, Cairns’ unit market continues to struggle, with sales down 30 per cent.