The REIQ’s March quarter Queensland Market Monitor found that against a backdrop of cooling southern markets and falling listings volumes, Brisbane house sales demonstrated “admirable” resilience, buoyed by steady population growth driving demand and underpinned by good economic fundamentals.
REIQ media and communications manager Felicity Moore said that anyone thinking of selling was going to find willing buyers in good supply.
“In this market, we could potentially see a rise in off-market sales as eager buyers pressure sales agents to see property before it hits the market,” the manager said.
The unit market eased over the 12 months to March 2018, losing 1.8 per cent off the annual median price of $442,000.
Ms Moore said that the unit market was at the tail end of an unprecedented level of supply. Rising demand would undoubtedly absorb excess stock, and the only question remaining was just how long that would take.
“Queensland has become the number-one destination for internal migration, taking over from Victoria in the latest ABS Census data, and our overseas migration is at its highest level in years, which means demand for accommodation will continue,” Ms Moore said.
The rental market is operating in the healthy range, with vacancies at 3.1 per cent for the March quarter and rising demand levels easily absorbed almost 3,200 new rental properties hitting the rental pool this quarter.
The Ipswich house market grew by 3.0 per cent to a new annual median house price of $340,000. March was a quiet quarter for this market, falling by 1.5 per cent, but over the year, it performed well.
The growth in the house market was offset by falls in the unit market, contracting by 3.0 per cent over the 12 months to March 2018 to an annual median unit price of $319,900.
The Logan house market delivered among the strongest performances for all markets in the March report, adding 4.0 per cent to the annual median house price to $395,000.
The unit market was one of the few markets to grow, adding 0.7 per cent to an annual median unit price of $271,000. However, over the past five years, the unit market has fallen by 7.5 per cent.
The Moreton Bay annual median house price grew a steady 2.4 per cent over the 12 months to March to deliver a median house price of $435,000. This growth is the smallest in Greater Brisbane.
The unit market felt the pain of the combined factors of strong supply and the affordability of houses, with a 3.8 per cent contraction in the annual median unit price to $346,250, down from $359,900 this time last year.
Redland LGA delivered “rock star” growth of 3.9 per cent for the year to a median house price of $530,000. The heavy lifting was done in the suburbs of Birkdale and Cleveland, which delivered 6.3 per cent and 6.7 per cent growth, respectively. The lifestyle and affordability options in this region are proving very popular with buyers.
Similar to the house market, the Redland unit market delivered stellar growth over the 12 months to March 2018, adding 3.4 per cent growth to a new median unit price of $409,500. This was by far the strongest unit growth in all of Greater Brisbane.
The Gold Coast has taken the gold medal for annual median house price growth again, adding 6.0 per cent growth to a median house price of $620,000, the highest growth in the state.
The unit market added 1.9 per cent to deliver a median unit price of $428,000 for the year.
The Toowoomba market has been a consistently steady performer, delivering 1.1 per cent growth for the year to March 2018 to a median house price of $355,000.
The unit market has defied regional trends throughout most of 2016 and 2017; however, gravity is now catching up and this market contracted 2.9 per cent to $300,000. The market remains 17.6 per cent larger than it was five years ago.
The house market of the Sunshine Coast Statistical Division (SD), incorporating the Sunshine Coast LGA and Noosa Shire, has delivered moderate and sustainable growth for the quarter, the past year and the past five years.
A typical house in the Sunshine Coast SD increased in value by $31,250 for the past year to reach an annual median price of $576,250. Noosa continued holding the title of the most exclusive market compared to the Sunshine Coast local government area as Noosa houses generally cost $100,000 more.
In March 2018, the Noosa median house price reached $665,000 compared to the Sunshine Coast median house price of $563,000.
The Noosa unit market also performed well for the past 12 months, growing a stunning 7.1 per cent to reach an annual median price of $525,000 and remaining as the most expensive unit market in Queensland.
The Fraser Coast house market continues to be a steady performer, with annual median prices holding steady for the past quarter and increasing very modestly (only 1 per cent) for the past year. A typical house in Fraser Coast had an annual median price of $315,000 in March 2018.
The unit market performance was weak in the March quarter. However, its performance for the past year was better compared to the house market as the annual median unit price increased by 2.2 per cent. A typical unit in Fraser Coast had an annual median price of $259,500 in March 2018. Only about 11 per cent of the regional dwellings were units.
The Bundaberg house market has held its ground over the past five years, with a house costing about the same today as it did five years ago. However, the market showed small growth levels of 1.8 per cent over the past 12 months, which is encouraging.
A house in Bundaberg cost an annual median price of $285,000 in March 2013 and March 2018.
The unit market performed a bit better than the house market over the past five years. A unit in Bundaberg increased in value from $251,400 in March 2013 to $259,000 in March 2018.
Gladstone has stared down some of the most challenging market conditions in the state. This market lost 8.5 per cent over the 12 months to the March quarter to have a median house price of $280,000. This market is more than 38 per cent below where it was five years ago.
The unit market fell by 36 per cent over the past 12 months to an annual median unit price of $167,500.
The Rockhampton property market slipped moderately for the past year, with house prices falling by 1.9 per cent to $265,000 and unit prices contracting by 1.3 per cent to $295,000.
Units continued to outperform houses, as they’ve done for much of the year, and ended the year more expensive than houses. This atypical performance may be the consequence of the limited unit market, which represents less than 10 per cent of the region’s dwellings.
The Mackay house sales market has delivered an outstanding 4.1 per cent growth to the annual median house price to reach $333,250 and live up to last quarter’s forecast of a stronger start to 2018.
This market is now officially in recovery.
However, the unit market performance remained weak as unit prices fell by 7.8 per cent to $212,000 for the past year. Mackay is the second most affordable unit market in the state.
Townsville delivered a surprising fall of 3 per cent in the annual median house price for the year to March to reach $325,000.
Even more surprising, units grew a massive 5.7 per cent for the year to March to $280,000.
Cairns delivered steady growth of 2.5 per cent over the past 12 months to arrive at an annual median house price of $410,000 in March 2018.
The Cairns house market has been one of the top two regional performers (excluding the south-east corner) for the past five years of all the areas analysed in the Queensland Market Monitor. House prices increased by 17.1 per cent, or $60,000, from $350,000 in March 2013.
The unit market was weak in the year to March, with the annual median unit price falling by 1.7 per cent to $232,000.
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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