17 Jul 19 | Source: Terry Ryder
Regional Queensland is becoming one of the nation’s most compelling markets.
Rising numbers of locations have growth symptoms, both in terms of sales activity and price movements.
Over 60% of Regional Queensland markets have median prices higher than a year ago, with apartment markets a standout.
The Sunshine Coast remains the No.1 market in the state for house price growth.
10 of the 21 locations up by more than 10% are Sunshine Coast suburbs, led by Eumundi (28%), Sunshine Beach (15%), Twin Waters (15%) and Wurtulla (15%).
Our analysis of sales activity confirms the status of the Sunshine Coast: 10 suburbs have rising buyer demand, while another 13 have consistent sales activity.
The Sunshine Coast is also a prominent market for apartment/unit price growth - headed by the iconic Noosa market which is up 24%, while Noosaville has risen 15%.
In the southern part of the Sunshine Coast, Golden Beach and Warana are both up 15%.
The Sunshine Coast has one of the nation’s leading growth economies and its real estate market is thriving as a result.
In our previous (Autumn 2019) quarterly survey, we observed that Mackay was challenging the Sunshine Coast as the leading Regional Queensland market. That situation has re-adjusted in this latest survey, with the Sunshine Coast still entrenched as the state leader and Mackay not as prominent.
Emerging centres with improvement in their markets include Cairns, Rockhampton and the Fraser Coast, while major regional cities like Toowoomba and Townsville may be on the cusp of new growth phases. Increasingly we are seeing recovery signs in places that were previously in downturn, including the long-suffering Gladstone market.
The one major contradiction to the overall growth scenario is the Gold Coast, which had some uplift in the lead-up to the Commonwealth Games but has faded since. In Hotspotting’s Winter survey of sales activity, we can’t find any growth momentum in Gold Coast locations – most suburbs are “plateau” markets and there is a growing number of suburbs ranked as “decline” makets.
The Sunshine Coast stands in stark contrast to the Gold Coast.
The number of growth markets in Regional Queensland has trended higher in the past 18 months. This is despite the decline of the Gold Coast. Recovery in resources-related regional centres like Mackay, Emerald and Rockhampton is helping, while Gladstone is now showing increasing signs of improvement, with some of its suburbs rising.
Regional Queensland markets collectively have improved in the past year or so: in the past six quarterly surveys, the number of locations with growing demand has been 30, 36, 40, 45, 48 and 45.
The number of growth markets had decreased sharply in the late 2017 survey but showed steady improvement in 2018 and this has continued into 2019.
The other key feature is the number of Regional Queensland markets with price growth.
Hotspotting analysed price movements in 293 markets and found 179 (61%) have median prices higher than a year ago. Of the 179 growth markets, 77 have recorded median price growth of 5% or more, while another 102 markets have increased by less than 5%.
Of the higher growth markets, 21 have increased by more than 10%, headed by the Central Queensland mining-related centre of Emerald (up 27%).
But the No.1 centre for house price growth is the Sunshine Coast: 10 of the 21 locations up by 10%-plus are Sunshine Coast suburbs.
Apartment markets overall are doing particularly well in Regional Queensland.
Two-thirds of unit markets have median prices higher than a year ago, headed by Airlie Beach (up 31%), East Toowoomba (36%), Broadbeach Waters (25%) and Coolangatta (20%).
The Sunshine Coast is prominent here as well – headed by Noosa (24%), Noosaville (15%), Golden Beach (15%), and Warana (15%)
Cairns has six growth suburbs and plenty of steady performers, while Mackay has five growth markets and the Fraser Coast four.
Rockhampton has emerged for the first time in several years, with five of its suburbs notable for their rising buyer activity – including Norman Gardens, Berserker and Yeppoon.
There’s further evidence of revival in Gladstone, which we first noted in the two previous (Summer 2019 and Autumn 2019) quarterly surveys. But the situation remains patchy: our ranking of Gladstone suburbs include four rising, three plateau, one consistency, two decline and three danger.
We’ve been watching the Toowoomba market for growth signs, because this is one of Australia’s largest inland regional cities and it has been a growth market in the past.
The early signs of uplift are now emerging, with Newtown lifting quarterly sales from 67-82-82-91-95 over the past year or so, and Centenary Heights showing 40-40-42-52-55.
Townsville has suffered setbacks from the February floods but nevertheless has growth markets and will be boosted when work starts on significant infrastructure projects.
As we reported in previous editions, the post-Games boost predicted by some has not eventuated on the Gold Coast. This market was strong from 2015 to 2017 because of the pre-Commonwealth Games construction boom.
Since then the growth has subsided and there are now 40 suburbs classified as either plateau or consistency markets – and eight decline markets.
The price outcomes are also mixed for the Gold Coast: 51 markets have median prices higher than a year ago, but there are 31 with prices lower than last year.