IT’S a Brisbane suburb many would know by name, and quite possibly because of a famous poem which has no bearing on its locality, and yet they’d be hard-pressed to find it on a map.
Geebung on Brisbane’s northside is one of those places people tend to hear of but have no idea where it’s located.
Not even Banjo Patterson’s famous Geebung Polo Club ode is affiliated with the suburb.
Even local cafe owner Paul Edwards recounts recently ordering supplies from a business in Nundah, just a few kilometres south of his Railway Parade establishment, only for the receptionist to ask where Geebung was.
“I said ‘you’re kidding, it’s only two suburbs away’ and I had to spell it,” Mr Edwards said.
“I think it’s off everyone’s radar. Chermside is where everyone goes and it’s right next door.”
The owner of Bite My Biscuit even admits to being a little bit unsure of Geebung before he relocated his cafe from Stafford to opposite the railway station five years ago.
He took the punt to move after one of his regular customers, who lives at Geebung, mentioned a shop was available for lease.
“She said there was an empty shop here and it’s only five minutes from home, but I really didn’t know much about Geebung and I had lived in Wavell Heights for 15 years,” he said.
“I drove through but never stopped.”
But it would pay for people to make a pay a little more attention to Geebung, says Innov8 Property principal Michael Spillane.
He said even though Geebung is just 12 kilometres from the CBD and sidles more affluent suburbs, the median house-price is a mere $530,000. The highest sale for 2017 was $860,000 (Jan- Aug.).
Mr Spillane said there was so much room for growth that the suburb was prime for home renovators or even professionals looking to flip a house.
“It’s a forgotten and older suburb and some people don’t know Geebung’s locality even though they’ve heard of it,” he said.
“It’s not big geographically and it’s known to have a lower socio-economic background, but it’s perfectly placed when you think of access to Sandgate and Gympie roads, it’s not far from the airport, it has two railway stations and is extremely close to Chermside shopping centre.”
The two railway stations are Sunshine and Geebung and the latter of the two has undergone a major facelift which coincided with the opening of a $200 million rail overpass at Robinson Rd which the RACQ identified as one of Queensland’s worst traffic black spots.
The flyover on Robinson’s Rd opened in 2014 and connects Robinson East and Robinson West Roads.
Mr Edwards said the overpass had not affected his trade and was primarily for traffic passing through the area rather than heading into Geebung.
“We arrived as they were building it and the station was updated when they put in the overpass and they put in new lifts as well,” he said.
“We have a lot of young families come in and it can be extremely busy one minute. It’s like everyone moves in waves around here.”
Bite My Biscuit maybe one of the more recently established trades in Geebung but the oldest family-run business in the area, and possibly the oldest in Brisbane, is Gerns Continental Smallgoods in Buhot Rd.
The business started in 1895 after Heindrich Gerns, who emigrated from Hanover, Germany, bought 20 acres for 20 pounds.
Hendrich’s grandson Edwin Gerns, who is semi-retired and handed down the business to his son Andrew, said he’s seen a lot of changes over the decades.
“There used to just see paddocks around here but not anymore,” he said.
Gerns Continental Smallgoods and retail store sits at the rear of a block in a dead-end street at Geebung.
Edwin said his grandmother offered his father some motherly advice which he wished his dad had listened to now that Geebung is very much part of suburbia.
“In 1914 the homestead was built,” Edwin said.
“My grandmother said to my dad one day on the deck of the homestead, ‘why don’t you buy 70 acres there for 70 pounds for somewhere for the kids to play’ but he was too busy making salami.”
Within 500m of Gerns Continental Small Goods is Geebung State School while St Kevin’s Catholic Primary School is also nearby.
Mr Spillane said Geebung may only have a couple of schools but there are several respected one in the surrounding neighbourhoods which were very accessible and added to the appeal of the suburb for younger families.
Geebung’s public high school catchment area includes Aspley, Wavell Heights and Craiglea State High Schools and Earnshaw State College.
“There are a lot of schools around and you Nudgee College not that far away and neither is the Australian Catholic University at Banyo,” Mr Spillane said.
As for growth in real estate prices, Mr Spillane said the suburb had improved more than 20 per cent in the past five years and it was likely to climb at an even faster rate given the demand on properties in nearby suburbs like Chermside and Wavell Heights.
“When you think about it, you’re paying close to $500,000 for a two-bedroom unit at Chermside and yet you can buy a two or three bedroom house with land in the next suburb and it’s on a train line and Chermside isn’t.”
Brisbane’s middle-ring suburbs are emerging as investment hot spots due to improvements in affordability and infrastructure, according to the Domain Group.
Due to growing demand from renters, the vacancy rate has fallen from 3.4% to 2.1%, which is great news for property investors eyeing strong rental yields, according to the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ).
Martin Millard, northern suburbs zone chair for REIQ, said middle-ring suburbs have experienced solid price growth.
“When you look at suburbs such as Kedron, in Brisbane’s northern suburbs, which demonstrated extraordinary growth over the past quarter and the past year, you can see the popularity of the middle ring in action,” Millard told the Domain Group.
“This suburb offers access to high-quality high schools and primary schools, is a stone’s throw from shopping centres at Lutwyche and Chermside, the night-time economy of Nundah’s funky bars and pubs, and is on the doorstep of the Airport Link tunnel, which gets commuters to the airport or the CBD quickly.”
Millard said Boondall and Bracken Ridge were also emerging as solid performers, with property prices rising due to their affordability and growing popularity with families.
In the city’s south side, Carindale and Mount Gravatt are rapidly gaining the attention of astute property investors and homebuyers, according to Nick Brown, southern suburbs zone chair of REIQ.
Brown said Carindale’s main attractions were its large shopping centres, well-developed public transport network, and robust employment hub.
“Both Carindale and Mount Gravatt are anchored by multi-million-dollar Westfield centres that have recently been expanded to offer spectacular dining and entertainment precincts — and these add liveability factors to the surrounding suburbs,” Brown told the Domain Group.
It’s no secret that buying a property in Brisbane is more expensive than it used to be.
Even though prices aren’t as high as Sydney or Melbourne, the housing affordability crisis is hitting those who can’t afford to buy a property but face increased rental prices.
A report by the Grattan Institute, released yesterday, said fewer than 50 per cent of Australians aged between 25 and 34 own their own property, with the highest income bracket the only exception.
The ratio of median Brisbane dwelling price to median annual gross household income was 5.7 in 2016, according to CoreLogic figures.
In 2001, that ratio was 3.7.
For many, moving further away from the inner city is the only solution to afford a slice of land.
Anita Cox has recently shifted 10 kilometres from the Brisbane suburb of Carindale to rent in Rochedale, in order to save money to buy a property closer to the city.
PHOTO: Anita Cox says rising property prices forced her to rent further away from the CBD. (ABC News: Donna Field)
“Back in the day mum stayed home with the kids, dad went to work, and they still had their house. Unfortunately that’s not a reality today,” she said.}
“I think it’s a little bit unfair for young people to get into the market.”
Sarah Guymer, who is pregnant with her second child, recently sold an apartment in Taringa but has found it impossible to afford a bigger property in the same area.
“We’re middle-class people with pretty good jobs but we still can’t afford to buy a house,” she said.
“The reality of that is I’m going to have to go back to work as soon as I can, and my husband won’t be able to spend as much time with his family because we have to move a lot further out.”
Ms Guymer said she had been outbid by interstate and overseas investors at recent auctions.
“It’s a bit disheartening to put in bids for houses and you go to your limit and it just gets snatched from underneath you from people who are just expanding their portfolio.”
Anti-development stance will cause long-term pain: experts
PHOTO: The Grattan Institute says heritage restrictions and community opposition is hampering essential development. (ABC RN: David Lewis)
The Grattan Institute’s authors credited the construction boom on the fringe of the Brisbane CBD for keeping unit prices down, while comparable properties in Sydney and Melbourne have soared.
However, they said, that would not fix the city’s long-term housing affordability problem.
“While high-rise developments contribute to the supply of housing in good locations, they can only add so much to the housing stock because they are generally limited to the relatively confined area of city centres, especially in Melbourne and Brisbane,” the authors said.
They said Brisbane’s construction boom did not fill demand for medium density dwellings further out from the CBD.
More housing was required in Brisbane’s “middle ring”, the authors said, but that could be hampered by heritage restrictions.
Another major problem is community opposition to development.
“Any significant policy change to improve housing affordability is likely to encounter substantial opposition, even if the change is clearly in the public interest,” the authors said.
Natalie Rayment, a Brisbane town planner and responsible development advocate, said more housing was needed across the community.
“We need low-density, we need mid-rise, we need townhouses, we need aged care, we need student housing,” she said.
“That’s not all going to be met by some high-rise buildings in our inner-city.”
A new government report has revealed the direction land value is moving in Queensland’s capital city, and what’s behind that movement.
The Valuer-General’s 2018 Property Market Movement Report, following a statewide market survey and consultation with local government, has completed a valuation of some of Queensland’s largest property markets and has found land values have risen by 6 per cent since the last valuation.
Over the valuation period between 2016 and 2017, single residential units saw high levels of competition from local, interstate and international buyers. In this market, a total of 47 suburbs in the city saw no median value increase, while 87 saw rises up to $50,000; 32 saw rises between $50,000 and $75,000, while 12 recorded rises above $75,000, which include Hamilton, Chapel Hill, Seven Hills, Carindale, Holland Park and Sunnybank.
For the multi-unit market, there were slight rises recorded due partly to the Brisbane City Plan 2014, a plan to increase interest in apartments. However, the report noted lowered demand and oversupply meant activity dropped off in the latter half of 2016.
The report also mentioned suburbs impacted by the 2011 floods had seen healthy recovery, with property being sold in some of the flood-affected land at prices similar to non-flood affected land.
Looking further to Logan, Ipswich and Moreton Bay Regional Council, the report shows these areas all experienced improving land areas, with the residential property market seeing land values driven by demand for housing in the Greater Brisbane area.
Logan City saw minor to moderate rises in residential land values due to demand for property located in central and affordable suburbs, such as Browns Plains, while higher values in eastern suburbs, like Springwood and Shailer Park, saw only minor value rises.
A demand for farm land has had a knock-on effect on overall land value in Logan City, along with the Stockleigh, Undullah and Veresdale areas, and in Ipswich City in Purga, Peak Crossing and Willowbank.
Meanwhile, Ipswich City’s residential land values experienced moderate rises in Springfield Lakes and Redbank Plains, while multi-unit land values saw a minor to moderate rise in Bellbird Park, Bundamba and Goodna, according to the report.
In the Moreton Bay Regional Council area, residential land values rose since last valuation, with the Redcliffe as well as southern areas nearby Brisbane City experiencing slight to minor land value increase. Caboolture and areas nearby Pumicestone Passage saw very minor value increases, and small hinterland towns saw for the most part no change, aside from a minor rise in Dayboro.
For multi-unit land values in the region, Caboolture saw mostly no movement, while southern areas near Brisbane experiencing slight to minor rises.