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.”
“And it’s quick to the city from there as well.”
Originally Published: www.couriermail.com.au
Brisbane’s most expensive suburbs
Inner city favourite New Farm is officially Brisbane’s most expensive suburb, with a median house price of $1.7 million.
New figures from the Domain Group have revealed the top 20 most expensive suburbs, ranked according to median house price — and, with Brisbane’s property market now in the ascent as the best performing capital city in Australia, it paints a strong picture of where the city’s wealthiest residents are willing to park their cash.
Acreage hot spot Chandler, in Brisbane’s eastern suburbs, took out third place with a median house price of $1.585 million.
Old money favourites Ascot ($1.5 million median price) and Hamilton ($1.421 million median price) were closely followed by the inner eastern riverfront precinct of Bulimba, which had a median of $1,307,500.
Other suburbs that made the top 20 most expensive list included Hawthorne, where Gina Rinehart’s $18 million estate fronts the Brisbane River; Clayfield (median price $1.125 million) and Kangaroo Point (median $1.03 million) – home to the most expensive house ever sold in Brisbane: a clifftop mansion worth $18.48 million.
As well as taking out the title of Brisbane’s most expensive suburb, New Farm was also recently revealed as Brisbane’s best performing suburb for capital growth, with prices having soared nearly 90 per cent in the past five years.
New Farm’s remarkable success came as no surprise to local Ray White agent Matt Lancashire, who described it as the “Brisbane suburb for everyone”.
“There’s just so much in New Farm amenity-wise. New Farm is always the first place to boom and the last to cool off,” he said.
“My open numbers at the moment are huge. There’s such a strong desire to be in this suburb and I see that only continuing in the future years as Brisbane gets incredible new amenities like Howard Smith Wharves.”
In Ascot, long-term resident Jenny Richardson has listed her house at 7 Bale Street for sale but she’s not moving far — she’s already bought a new property only a couple of streets away.
Ms Richardson has lived in Ascot since 2000 and said she wanted to stay because of the lifestyle it offered.
“Ascot has just got that lovely family feel about it, it really is such a wonderful community,” she said.
“It’s so quiet it’s got that suburban feel but with the proximity to the city and everything else — the Gasworks, Portside and James Street — and that means it’s the best of both worlds.”
Fourteen kilometres southeast of the CBD, the acreage suburb of Chandler consistently rates as one of Brisbane’s most expensive suburbs. Home to enviable land sizes ranging from a hectare to four hectares, it’s sought after for its proximity to Manly, as well as its peaceful treed surroundings.
Local Remax agent Deborah Evans explained the “acreage precinct” of Chandler, Gumdale and Belmont was in high demand, although Chandler’s higher median house price of $1.585 million was partly due to its status as an acreage-only suburb.
“Every property in Chandler is an acreage property so naturally that will keep the median price high,” she said.
“Neighbouring Gumdale actually has more demand but its median is brought down by the non-acreage houses that sit on regular-sized residential blocks of land.”
She said demand always outstripped supply in the area and prices were rising — she recently sold a one-hectare acre block on Formosa Road for $1.6 million for land value only.
Ms Richardson’s Bale Street home is a four-bedroom, three-bathroom contemporary residence set on one of Ascot’s most sought-after streets and — even more importantly — in the Ascot State School catchment.
“I’ve loved living here; I’ve got wonderful views out to the hills and the house is functional and quite timeless,” she said.
“I think Ascot is one of those suburbs people are always going to want to live in. It’s got such a wonderful feel.”
Brisbane’s top 20 most expensive suburbs:
|1. New Farm||$1.7 million||11. St Lucia||$1,122,500|
|2. Teneriffe||$1.65 million||12. Auchenflower||$1.11 million|
|3. Chandler||$1.585 million||13. Paddington||$1.11 million|
|4. Ascot||$1.5 million||14. Brookfield||$1.1 million|
|5. Hamilton||$1.421 million||15. Kalinga||$1.049 million|
|6. Bulimba||$1,307,500||16. Kangaroo Point||$1.03 million|
|7. Fig Tree Pocket||$1,202,500||17. South Brisbane||$1,026,250|
|8. Hawthorne||$1.2 million||18. Hendra||$1.025 million|
|9. Pullenvale||$1.2 million||19. West End||$1.02 million|
|10. Clayfield||$1.125 million||20. Highgate Hill||$1 million|
Highgate Hill:Brisbane’s most tightly held suburbs
When people move to Highgate Hill, they fall so in love with the suburb they don’t want to leave.
Domain Group data from 2017 showed the suburb was the most tightly held within five kilometres of the Brisbane CBD, with property owners loath to move outside its borders.
Highgate Hill, where the dominant demographic is families, ticks those boxes. Two kilometres south of the Brisbane CBD on the Brisbane River, the suburb is in the sought-after Brisbane State High School catchment and has great connectivity via buses and trains.
It’s also 12th most walkable suburb in Brisbane, according to Resolution Research.
“To leave an area that meets all that criteria requires a really good reason,” says Dr Powell.
Despite being close to major activity hubs, the hilly suburb still holds onto its more relaxed, suburban vibe, which is a huge part of its appeal, says Cam Milne, co-owner of Vvaldmeer cafe and a local resident.
“I think with West End now having been very much swamped with cafes, bars and trendy shops, it’s only natural that Highgate Hill would follow.”
Matt Pendragon, Shed 41 Café & Galleria owner, decided Highgate Hill was a perfect area to open a “relaxing, dog friendly, phone-charging, ‘sit down and have a brew’ space”.
He lives in the area too, and is often surprised to learn how many locals have been in Highgate Hill their whole lives, some even living in the houses they grew up in.
“The suburb, although being only a stone’s throw from the CBD, is so peaceful and tranquil, the houses are well kept, and the sense of community is stronger here than in any other place I’ve lived.”
Being tightly held puts pressure on prices, and the result has been 26.8 per cent growth over the past five years, according to Domain data.
The median house price broke through the $1 million barrier last year after rising steadily, but since then there has been a slight pullback, says Dr Powell. It’s now sitting at $950,000 and the median unit price is just over $440,000.
“If you take away last year’s performance, the suburb has overall been outperforming Brisbane as a whole,” she says.
“In terms of house prices it was growing at a healthy rate between 2013 and 2017 and there were periods of time [where] there was double-digit growth.”
After children have flown their Highgate Hill coop, their parents don’t want to leave but they do want to downsize, while still staying within the boundaries of the suburb. That’s where apartment developments tailored for owner-occupiers, such as Sierra Nuvo, come in, making up part of the suburb’s diverse housing stock.
The 44-apartment luxury development launched in August, and has been popular with downsizers from the 4101 postcode, including Highgate Hill, South Brisbane and West End.
It offers two, three and four-bedroom apartments, plus four premium penthouses, with prices ranging from $785,000 to $2.835 million. Each apartment includes two car parks, while penthouses come with three car parks as well as a storage cage.
Stephen Browne, principal of Skyring Real Estate, working with the developer behind Sierra Nuvo, says the development at 18 Jones Street is just 900 metres’ walk from Brisbane State High School, two kilometres from the Brisbane CBD, close to bus stops and is in one of the “super quiet” spots in Highgate Hill.
It’s in an elevated position with city views that can never be built out, he adds.
“You can almost hear the crickets when you drive into the street,” he says.
“From the sky garden on the rooftop, which has a 15-metre infinity edge lap pool, wading pool and spa, barbecues and entertaining pods, there are unencumbered 300-degree views that will be there for the rest of time.”
He says buyers have been particularly drawn to the level of finish of the luxury apartments in the building, with designer kitchens featuring granite stone benchtops, the latest Smeg and Pitt appliances, integrated fridge/freezer, integrated dishwasher, Vintec drinks fridges, and a separate custom laundry for each residence.
Will the new Brisbane State High School catchment affect property prices?
Changes made to Brisbane State High School’s catchment zone are already affecting properties for sale in the area, according to local real estate agents.
The state government released new catchment maps last week which revealed Brisbane State High School’s catchment zone could be cut by 25 per cent to manage pressure on its rising enrolments.
The school’s current catchment stretches through West End and out to Dutton Park but, under the new draft catchment, students from more than 500 households in Dutton Park, Woolloongabba and Highgate Hill would no longer be eligible for direct entry to State High once the neighbouring high-rise school in Dutton Park opens in 2021.
It’s been a devastating revelation for homeowners who bought in the area specifically to be in the catchment of Queensland’s top performing state high school, said Sam Peterffy, of Harcourts Homeside.
Not only are they upset at being kicked out of the catchment, they’re worried the value of their property will fall because if it, she said.
“Of course the people who are already living here are worried — many of them bought here for the school,” she said.
“I feel sorry for these people. They might have young children, aged five and under, and bought here planning for their children’s future. Now that’s up in the air. It’s not a great situation for them.”
Ms Peterffy said the local property market had already been affected.
“From a buyer perspective, I have people who were looking in these areas and have straight up said they’re no longer looking at Dutton Park or anywhere that’s out of the catchment,” she said.
Brisbane State High School is a 3200-student strong, selective GPS school, sought-after for its top academic results and extensive extra curricular program.
Demand for places is so high, the school employed an investigator this year to uncover families rorting the catchment system.
Ben Salm of Place Estate Agents is selling a beautiful six-bedroom family home at Grantham Street, Dutton Park, that is currently in the State High catchment, but would be bumped out under the new plan.
He said it had already affected the property’s desirability for some buyers.
“It’s something we’ve seen a fair bit of with feedback from the buyers coming through,” he said.
“They’re unsure about the new school because it’s all so unknown at this stage; that creates a hesitancy and then you get less competition, which potentially means lower prices.
“Because this house is now looking like it’ll be out of the State High catchment, the feedback we’re getting suggests the price could be $50,000 less than what it might have been worth three to six months ago.
“There is a grace period though, so you never know what will happen.”
It’s important to note the effect on current and future families will not be immediate. Brisbane State High School students living in the proposed catchment zone for the new school will be allowed to remain enrolled at State High for the duration of their studies, while their siblings will still be able to enrol under transitional arrangements.
The government also said that families with primary school children living in a street which appears on both catchment maps can choose to enrol their child at either school.
But the changes are causing a lot of uncertainty. Ms Peterffy recently sold a house at Gloucester Street, Highgate Hill, a street where some houses will still fall in the catchment and others won’t.
This particular house will still be in the catchment, so the competition to secure it was strong, with four offers in one weekend, Ms Peterffy said.
“I had a couple who argued about it. The husband was saying that the new school was likely to be great but the wife was really worried about it,” she said.
“She just kept saying, ‘But it’s not going to be Brisbane State High, it won’t be the same’. So for them, the fact this house would still be in the catchment in a few years’ time was very important to them.
“That said, there will always be people who will want to buy in Dutton Park anyway. It’s the best suburb in Brisbane in my view.”
And Ms Peterffy said the silver lining would be in the new school, Inner City South State Secondary College, which had the potential to bring new buyers to the area long term.
“Some buyers who may not previously had Dutton Park and surrounding areas on their radar may come here because there is going to be a shiny new school with the best of everything and a connection to the University of Queensland,” she said.
“I know everyone wants to be in the State High catchment right now but my prediction is this new school will be in the top 10 state high schools in Queensland very quickly.”
Mr Salm said the property market could pick up again in these areas once the plans for the school are finalised and released to the public.
“It could actually create quite a bit of excitment in the area once there’s a lot more detail released and prices could go up again,” he said.
“I think in the long term this school will be competition for State High but at the moment it’s making buyers unsure about being in the area, and will only make competition for property staying in the State High catchment even tougher.”
The maps and the enrolment management plan are out for public consultation until September 30.
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