Unit and townhouse prices rise, REIQ

The median price of units and townhouses across South East Queensland grew over the December quarter, according to the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ).

The REIQ’s latest Queensland Market Monitor (QMM), released today, also found the preliminary numbers of unit sales increased six per cent over the year.

REIQ CEO Anton Kardash said the unit market was continuing to improve in-line with the house sales market – albeit centred around the southeast corner.

“A key difference between the Queensland house and unit markets is that predominantly the lion’s share of these types of properties are located in the southeast as that is where demand for housing is the greatest,’ he said.

“In fact, demand for units in Brisbane has resulted in record numbers of off-the-plan sales lately. According to recently-released research, more than 1,000 new apartment sales were transacted in the December quarter – the highest level since 2002.”

The Brisbane unit and townhouse price increased 2 per cent over the quarter to $408,000 and posted 1.5 per cent growth over the year. There was a jump in sales in the prestige unit market with sales between $500,000 and $1 million increasing by 13 per cent over the period.

Demand for these top-end properties are reflected in the spike in median price in suburbs such as Hamilton and Kangaroo Point which have been impacted by the sale of higher priced units, many with river-views.

The median unit and townhouse price on the Gold Coast increased 1.5 per cent to $340,000 over the quarter and was steady over the year. While the Gold Coast’s preliminary number of unit sales reduced over the quarter, over the year unit sales volumes increased by 21 per cent.

Local agents say the unit market has not bounced back to the same degree as the house market as yet but it is expected to follow its lead in the months ahead.

The median price of units and townhouses on the Sunshine Coast increased 6.3 per cent to $340,000 over the quarter. The preliminary numbers of unit sales were also up by 14 per cent over the same period.
“Maroochydore remains the most popular suburb for units on the Sunshine Coast with more than 70 preliminary sales recorded over the quarter,” Mr Kardash said.

“The beachside suburbs of Mooloolaba, Noosa Heads and Coolum Beach all recorded sales growth over the quarter which is a sign that demand for prestige units is on the move as well. In fact, sales in the $500,000 to $1 million price bracket increased by 27 per cent over the quarter on the Sunshine Coast.”

All major regional centres saw an increase in activity except Gladstone and Mackay which are still experiencing a correction in current stock levels.

Toowoomba and Townsville were the star performers over the quarter in regional Queensland, with sales activity up and an increase in their median unit prices as well.

Toowoomba is seeing small townhouse developments pop up across the metropolitan area, such as Newtown and Kearneys Spring. While higher-end sales in East Toowoomba and Rangeville have also contributed to the increase in the region’s median price over the quarter.

In Townsville, increased sales activity was recorded in the suburbs of Nelly Bay, North Ward and Townsville City. Nelly Bay, located on Magnetic Island, saw a number of sales in a premium resort-style complex, where investors have been achieving good value for money prices.

The Cairns unit market, while improving, is not yet in the same league as its house market. According to local agents, however, the low price points available for units are attracting buyers but stock levels at the bottom end of the market are quickly disappearing.

The median unit and townhouse price in Cairns reduced 14.7 per cent to $183,500 but was steady over the year ending December. A drop in median price of this proportion is usually the result of the composition of sales which sold over the three-month quarterly period.

A more reliable indicator of price movement is the yearly price change. In this regard, the Cairns median unit price was steady at $200,000 over the year ending December.

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