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Queensland property market defying the downturn

The Queensland property market is still experiencing ‘healthy growth’ and is continuing to defy the downturn seen elsewhere, according to the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ).

Data from CoreLogic shows median house prices in Queensland rose 3.23 per cent and median unit prices increased 2.17 per cent in the first quarter of 2022.

REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said the stage was set for continued growth across Queensland after a positive start to the year.

“Over the past two years, the story of Queensland’s property market has been an extraordinarily positive one from a seller’s perspective, and the latest quarterly data tells us the sunshine state market is still a rising star,” Ms Mercorella said.

“The first quarter of 2022 has been fraught with disruptions such as COVID-19 outbreaks, the flooding disaster, the string of long weekends including the standstill of Easter, the looming Federal Election, and signs pointing to an interest rate rise, with some banks adjusting early in anticipation.

“Despite all of these disruptive events which may have caused some buyers to hit pause on their search, the market has continued to deliver healthy growth, and I’m sure the median prices reached this quarter will take some of us by surprise.

“For instance, Brisbane (LGA)’s median house price has cracked a million dollars this quarter, and while this may be sombre news for some, this still represents relative affordability compared to southern states, and arguably our capital city has been long overdue for its time in the sun after years of steady, but modest, growth.” 

Ms Mercorella said the broad-based growth across the state has been one of the most positive aspects on the current market.

“What’s pleasing about the latest results is that, again, it’s not just our capital city performing – our regional centre property markets and communities also continue to benefit from a growth uplift,” she said.

“Of course, it can be easy to be disillusioned and discouraged as a buyer watching these prices reach new heights, but it’s important to remember these are median sales figures over a relatively short period of time and there are always more affordable options in areas with a million-dollar median – so it’s worth doing your research before assuming an area or suburb is out of your reach.”

Ms Mercorella said the outlook for the state’s housing market continued to be positive.

“Our state still has all the fundamental ingredients for continued growth – a booming population, very low supply, strong and cashed-up buyer demand, relative affordability and low interest rates,” she said.

“So even as we face more interest rate rises, we expect this will take time to noticeably impact buyer’s pockets and sales prices, and in the meantime, the clear supply shortage will continue to tip the scales in favour of sellers, as buyers compete to secure a property.

“We expect there will also be buyers who have been waiting in the wings, who may decide that now is the right time to swoop while they can still secure low fixed rates. 

“Certainly, with how incredibly tight the rental market is, transitioning to ownership would be increasingly appealing to renters.

“We recognise that at some stage the rate of growth we see in Queensland will start to level and stabilise, simply because it would be difficult to sustain this level of accelerated growth – but for now, there’s still plenty of wind in the sails of Queensland’s property market.”

Queensland house market

In the March 2022 quarter, the Brisbane Local Government Area (LGA) median house price cracked a million dollars based on almost 3000 sales, growing 5.31 per cent over the quarter to a new high of $1,090,000.

Brisbane suburbs joining the ‘million-dollar median house club’ based on sales in this quarter alone include Parkinson, Sunnybank, Mount Gravatt East, and Upper Mount Gravatt on the south side, and Upper Kedron, McDowall, Stafford, and Stafford Heights on the north side.

Greater Brisbane also experienced an uptick in median house value over the quarter, increasing by 2.84 per cent to $760,000, which is fairly consistent with the bigger picture of $685,250 for the 12-month median sale price (a 20.22 per cent rise over 12 months).

By far, the strongest quarterly performer for houses was Noosa LGA, with a whopping 15.38 per cent quarterly rise to an eye-watering median of $1.5 million based on almost 200 sales. 

Logan was next with a 7.75 per cent quarterly increase to $598,000, followed by Toowoomba (up 6.67 per cent to $480,000), Gladstone (up 6.58 per cent to $405,000), and Ipswich (up 6.38 per cent to $500,000) to round out the top five major LGAs with the biggest jumps over the quarter.

Conversely, the median house price in Mackay LGA took a step back by 2.3 per cent over the quarter, but importantly, still achieved growth of 7.69 per cent when looking at its performance over a 12-month period. 

Similarly, Rockhampton (up 1.69 per cent) and Cairns (up 1.96 per cent) both had minimal growth over the quarter, but sat strongly in double-digit growth territory over 12 months at 10.34 per cent and 12.5 per cent respectively.

Queensland unit market

Brisbane LGA’s median unit price reached $490,000, growing 2.08 per cent over the March 2022 quarter (based on 2694 sales), which is aligned with the bigger picture of 8.29 per cent growth over 12 months to an annual median sale price of $470,000.

Greater Brisbane’s median unit price wasn’t far behind, growing 2.22 per cent to $460,000 in the quarter (based on 3800 sales), and increasing 8.11 per cent to $440,000 in 12 months.

The top five growth performers for units for the quarter were Gladstone (leaping 18.37 per cent to a median price of $290,000), Fraser Coast (up a whopping 16.18 per cent to $395,000), Logan (double-digit growth of 10.91 per cent to $305,000), Sunshine Coast (up 7.21 per cent to $646,000), and Moreton Bay (up 6.05 per cent to $403,000).

This March quarter did see some median unit prices recede, in the case of Bundaberg, a considerable drop of 13.11 per cent, while Noosa regressed 5.10 per cent, Rockhampton reduced 3.3 per cent, and Toowoomba experienced a small dip of 2.97 per cent. 

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Rowan Crosby

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