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Queensland property continues its impressive run

Queensland property prices continue to go from strength to strength and it’s forcing home buyers to think laterally to get into the market.

According to the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) the median price growth of units outpaced that of houses over the quarter, as well as over the year. 

Units grew 5.09 per cent to $578,000 and houses rose 2.07 per cent to $735,000 over the March quarter. 

While units surged 10.2 per cent and houses are up 8.46 per cent on an annual basis.

In the capital city, Brisbane houses grew 3.1 per cent to a $1.16 million median sale price over the quarter, whereas units rose 4.31 per cent to $605,000.

REIQ Chief Executive Officer, Antonia Mercorella, said sustained growth across the Sunshine State property market was being underpinned by a shortage of supply and continued competitive conditions.

“The 2024 Queensland property sales market has set off in a northerly direction, showing positive signs of growth and impressive sales results over the quarter,” Ms Mercorella said.

“Relatively affordable price brackets are a magnet for owner occupiers and investors alike, and this broad popularity makes ‘bagging a bargain’ an unlikely scenario.”

She said apartments have again forged ahead strongly, notably in the Greater Brisbane areas and relocation hotspots of the Gold and Sunshine Coasts, offering greater affordability, good locations and low-maintenance lifestyle compared to free-standing houses.

“The highest growth for apartments for the quarter was Logan (9.99 per cent) and similarly, Toowoomba apartments stood out in the regions (6.88 per cent) – both markets still sitting comfortably under the half-a-million sweet spot,” she said.

She said annually the growth results were highly impressive, with units soaring 16.12 per cent in Logan, 15.5 per cent in Ipswich, 13.25 per cent in Moreton Bay, 12 per cent in the Redlands and 11.88 per cent in Brisbane.

Outside of Greater Brisbane, Cairns (11.86 per cent), Gold Coast (11.38 per cent) and Gladstone (10.63 per cent) weren’t far behind, all experiencing double-digit annual growth in their unit markets.

In the housing market, the star performer over the quarter was Gladstone (6.59 per cent), followed by Toowoomba (6.55 per cent), Rockhampton (5.91 per cent) and Townsville (5.27 per cent) demonstrating the continued renaissance of the regions.

Looking at annual growth, the star performers were Ipswich (12.15 per cent), Toowoomba (12.09 per cent), Rockhampton (11.27 per cent) and Bundaberg (11.11 per cent) – all double-digit growth and just above the capital city, Brisbane (9.5 per cent).

Million-dollar-median markets in the March quarter included Brisbane ($1.16m), Gold Coast ($1.1m), Sunshine Coast ($1.02m), and Noosa ($1.34m) for freestanding houses, and Noosa units ($1m) also nudged up to a million-dollar median.

Ms Mercorella said those looking to break into the market as prices continue to creep up, may consider ‘rentvesting’ – buying and renting out a property in a more affordable location, while renting elsewhere to cater to their work and lifestyle.

“Queensland has the lowest proportion of first home buyers in the country and first home buyers make up less than one in five loans in the state,” she said.

“We know it can be disheartening to have to defer the Aussie dream of home ownership while prices continue to climb, but it pays to investigate any grants and concessions available for a leg up, or perhaps consider a sidestep to get onto the property ladder.

“The new $700,000 threshold for stamp duty concessions for first home buyers in Queensland will help boost confidence and allow first home buyers to reach their home ownership goals faster.

“Some astute buyers are getting their foot in the door by adopting a rentvesting strategy to buy for investment purposes and rent for lifestyle purposes.

“For example, a buyer from Brisbane may choose to purchase an investment property four hours away in Bundaberg where the median sale price is half that of Brisbane’s, the vacancy rate is 0.9 per cent, and the median rent is around $500 – with rental income offsetting their mortgage repayments while they continue to rent themselves closer to home.

“In the latest ABS lending indicator data, we saw first home buyers comprise 3.9 per cent of investor loans in Queensland, which equates to over 1,500 loans – up around 60 percent from pre-COVID volumes, so there’s no doubt rentvesting is becoming more prevalent in the Sunshine State.”

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Rowan Crosby

Rowan Crosby is a senior journalist at Elite Agent specialising in finance and real estate.