Clock’s tickin’ – Qld and SA in recovery as NSW continues its decline, according to Herron Todd White

The Sunshine Coast and Bathurst are among areas sitting at the top of the property clock, bucking a trend which sees most of New South Wales in a steady decline, while much of regional Queensland begins its recovery.

These are the latest insights from independent valuation and advisory firm Herron Todd White who also had some good news for much of South Australia in their June monthly property report, noting Adelaide and surrounding areas were experiencing a rise.

Clock’s ticking

The most recent Residential Property Clock shows Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, the NSW regions of  Bathurst, Lismore, Dubbo, Lismore and the Mid North Coast, along with Victoria’s Gippsland area and Tasmania’s Hobart sitting at the peak of the market.

Meanwhile, Melbourne, Sydney, and its surrounds, remained in decline, while Kalgoorlie in WA, and the perennially popular Gold Coast were new entrants to the slowing sector.

Darwin and Perth, long with regional centres like Alice Springs, Rockhampton, Toowoomba remained at the lowest point, with Geraldton also added to the bottom of the cycle.

Rising stars were Adelaide and the wider region along with Albury, Burnie-Devonport, Emerald Hervey Bay, Launceston, Mildura, and Shepparton. While over in WA, Port Hedland proved the new addition.

New South Wales

The report noted 2019 had been a mixed year for NSW.

“Much of the expected softening in larger cities continued, but the resilience of other centres probably surprised more than a few real estate operators.”

In Sydney, House prices appeared to be falling at a faster rate than units, with the Sydney median house price down 3.1 per cent in the March quarter to $1,027,962, while the unit price also declined two per cent to $696,935.


Victoria appeared to be weathering the downturn and it hadn’t been all doom and gloom as predicted.

“Statistics have revealed that fewer auctions are being conducted, there are longer days on market and there is an increase in supply to some suburbs,” the report stated.

“This is expected within a softening market thanks to tighter lending criteria and the negativity portrayed in the media about the burst of the property bubble.”


The Sunshine State was keen to see the bright side of the half-year score, with Herron Todd White predicting it was yet to have its turn in the limelight.

“Brisbane is the due-for-a-rise capital city that may yet have its time in the spotlight, but the first half of this year has been more conservative than progressive.

“The general consensus among our valuers is that Brisbane has been a steady performer across the board. There was some minor price softening in our markets, but not enough to give owners the jitters.”

However, the Gold Coast appeared to lose a little of its shine. On the central Gold Coast most agents reported “softening in buyer enquiry and demand across the board throughout this locality, with all reporting some softening in value levels and longer sale periods often required to achieve a sale”.

South Australia

Adelaide and the southern market appeared to be bucking a national trend.

“Positive market sentiment is being driven within the media with a constant flow of articles spruiking the Adelaide market,” Herron Todd White explained.

“Watching from the bleachers, things appear positive… but those with front row seats are seeing things a little differently. The inner and middle-rings are growing weary of carrying the median house price to its lofty heights. These market segments were the best performing over the first six months of 2019 as the outer ring remained stable.”

Western Australia

There’s been a lot of speculation as to when Perth and greater WA would make a market turn.

“Our assumptions were that the rental market would continue to be a strong point for Western Australia and that sales volumes and house price growth would remain subdued until 2020,” the report reflected.

“Thankfully, the wider Perth area has seen some stability in its median price. The median house price settled at $500,000 for the March quarter, 0.6% higher than the previous quarter. The unit median price also remained steady, holding at $380,000.”

The Northern Territory

A tough couple of years continued in the NT, with Darwin bearing the brunt of a weakened market.

“Since the start of the year, we have seen declines in both sales and median price for all suburbs across Darwin. All markets have been hit, from residential to commercial, dwellings to units and the suburbs of Parap to Darwin River.

“The weak market has been foreseen for some time now and it is now believed that home owners are coming to the realisation that their homes are not worth what they perceive. This has been a difficult process and caused stress throughout the market and wider economy.”

Australian Capital Territory

In the ACT there’s been little change to house or unit prices.

“The value of houses and land has likely seen little growth, owing to an overall lower demand for property arising from various external factors such as the difficulty in obtaining finance.

“Demand is still reasonably strong for entry level houses in the $450,000 to $600,000 range and we would consider this property type to be performing the best.

“ Demand has remained steady for the mid-point priced houses in the $600,000 to $1 million range. The prestige market ($2 million plus) remains steady. Prestige dwellings are changing hands, but not at an extraordinary rate.

“The supply of units remains high and demand remains steady. Unit and apartment values have retracted or remained steady over the past six months due to the quantity being offered to the market, especially in the outer suburban areas where demand is generally lower.”


In the Apple Isle, all signs were that the market was nearing the top of the property clock.

The report found the Hobart market was starting to show signs it is approaching or has reached its current cycle price peak.

“Corelogic suggests that the median price actually slipped a touch in March. On the ground, we are seeing a flattening of prices in the inner ring, however demand for prestige remains historically firm.

“In the middle to outer ring however we continue to see positive pricing and competition for housing. This is true for the 50-kilometre commuter radius. Vacancy rates remain tight with little evidence of the housing shortage easing.”

Meanwhile, Launceston continued to record positive price movement, albeit at a more subdued rate than 2018.


In the commercial market, there were also few changes. Here, the Sunshine Coast also hit the top of the property clock, along with previous entrants Melbourne and South East NSW.

The NSW Mid North Coast was entering a decline, while Echuca and Alice Springs remained there. Most of regional Queensland remained at a low, with Perth, Darwin and Launceston offering repeat cameo appearances.

Toowoomba and Emerald showed early signs of recovery, along with Adelaide and Mildura. Ballarat was steadfast in its rising market status, and Brisbane, Geelong and Sydney were preparing to peak.

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Cassandra Charlesworth

Cassandra Charlesworth is a features writer for Elite Agent Magazine with over 15 years’ journalism experience in metropolitan and regional newsrooms. She has a specialist interest in real estate, tech disruption and a good old-fashioned “yarn”.