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Houses up, units down in the Sunshine State



In news that is likely to surprise virtually nobody, it’s been confirmed that Queensland apartment values are faltering.

Many experts in the industry have warned about an apartment oversupply in Queensland over the last 12 months, and it turns out those fears were well founded, with unit values slipping 1.3% in the December quarter.

The latest Queensland Market Monitor report from the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) reveals that house prices increased slightly across the same period, listing from $460,000 to $467,375. The figure sat at $448,000 12 months ago.

While the unit market’s lackluster performance was not much of a shock, punters may be interested to note some surprising results throughout the state.

Affordability declines across Australia – despite historically low interest rates >>

Regional markets run their own race

There are no blanket statements that apply any more, when describing the broad and expansive Queensland property market.

In fact, even classifying the market into ‘regional’ versus ‘metro’ doesn’t do these areas any justice, as there are micro-market fundamentals at play that are impacting market performance.

For instance Bundaberg, a major regional centre located around 375km north of Brisbane, was the best property performer in the state for the quarter. The city achieved growth of 14.1 per cent and a median price of $291,000, with consistent falls in vacancy rates noted.

However in Townsville and Cairns in far north Queensland, real estate markets are struggling – largely due to high unemployment rates (at 11.2 per cent and 7.8 per cent respectively).

In Townsville, this is the worst the unemployment rate has been in 13 years, according to the ABS, with more than 13,000 people in the city looking for work. A lack of employment makes it decidedly difficult to afford a home to rest your weary head, whether it’s a rental or your own abode.

Fortunately, the REIQ report notes that the Queensland Government plans to allocate a huge amount of resources to reinvigorate regional markets across the state, including:

  • $200 million to the Jobs and Regional Growth Program Package, and
  • $200 million to the Works for Queensland program, to support local councils across the state
creating jobs, maintaining and completing minor infrastructure projects.

South East Queensland hot to trot

Regional markets may be struggling, but the larger markets of the Sunshine and Gold Coasts are not. They have been solid performers over the past 12 months, with median values increasing around 6 per cent in both cities.

Greater Brisbane’s housing market has also performed reasonably well over the past 12 months, with its annual median sale price growing
by 3.6 per cent.

“The Gold Coast is the dearest rental market for three-bedroom houses, with a median rent of $475 per week for December,” the REIQ notes.

“Noosa is the dearest market for three-bedroom townhouses, with a median rent of $595 per week.”

For landlords, this is fantastic news, as it translates to that illusive double whammy of strong capital growth and high yields.

Are you ready to become a landlord, but you’re not sure where to start or what to look for? Check out our tips in Property investment 101 for rookies.