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Vacancy Rates Reflect Shift From Cities to Regions

vacancy rates
vacancy rates

Major improvements have been made on national vacancy rates, with levels tightened to below or close to pre-Covid-19 rates across most capital cities in Australia.

The residential vacancy rate dropped from 2.2 per cent to 2 per cent compared to August 2019 and 2.1 per cent in July, according to the latest report by SQM Research.

Perth, Brisbane and Darwin made the biggest improvements compared to last year, while Sydney and Hobart were slightly worse-off.

Melbourne was the outlier, which again recorded an increase from 3.1 per cent in July to 3.4 per cent, this was up from a 2 per cent vacancy rate in 2019.

Residential vacancy rate

CityAugust 2020August 2020July 2020August 2019


The SQM Research also shows most regional locations have recorded falls in vacancy rates, with Sydney’s Blue Mountains and Melbourne’s Mornington Peninsula dropping to 0.7 per cent, while just outside Brisbane, in Ipswich, rates fell to 0.9 per cent.

Asking rents levels painted a different picture: despite being up nationally for houses at 4.5 per cent and units 1.4 per cent compared to 2019, across capital cities houses rent prices were down 2.8 per cent for houses and down 5.5 per cent for units.

The worst-affected cities were Sydney, down 8 per cent on last year, Melbourne down 1 per cent for houses and 6 per cent for units, and Brisbane was marginally down 0.4 per cent for houses and 0.2 per cent for units.

Rents were up for both houses and units in Adelaide, Perth, Canberra, and houses only in Darwin compared to last year.

SQM Research managing director Louis Christopher said population shifts were a driving force in this data.

“The shift towards regional living continues at pace, largely at the expense of higher inner-city rental vacancy rates, I suspect there will have to be a high point in this move soon.

“However, I also suspect there will be a degree of permanency with the massive population shift,” Christopher said.

“Meanwhile, Sydney and Melbourne rents continue to fall providing leasing opportunities for tenants who have chosen to stay in town.”

International arrivals impact Sydney, Melbourne

Immigration has also had an impact on vacancy rates with the low levels of arrivals and returning residents recorded in the Australian Bureau of Statistics August data.

Arrivals dropped in August down 15.5 per cent on July and down 99.1 per cent on 2019.

According to ABS visa group data there were 2,670 people arriving on permanent visas and 2,880 on temporary visas last month compared to 119,990 permanent visas and 680,190 temporary visitors in August last year.

Charter Keck Cramer national director of research and strategy Rob Burgess said overseas migration has fallen off a cliff, impacting the residential market.

“In the last nine or 10 years of course NSW and Victoria—Sydney and Melbourne—have been the main beneficiaries of overseas migration,” Burgess said at The Urban Developer’s The Housing Demand Dilemma webinar.

“This translates directly into the demand for residential dwellings moving forward, and will fundamentally impact the demand and supply equation for the national residential market.

“It’s almost a halving of dwelling demand otherwise required in Sydney and Melbourne [in the next five years].

“Interestingly, Brisbane is far less impacted and clearly that’s a reflection of the fact that the housing market is much less reliant and dependent on overseas migration, including international students.”

This article is republished from under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Public consultation open on two West End green bridges

Public consultation

Brisbane City Council has released several options for the locations of two new pedestrian bridges linking West End to Toowong and St Lucia for public consultation.

Both bridges, which would be accessible to people on foot or on bicycles or scooters, have three options available for input, with varied impacts on private property, public space and access to transport.

Consultation on the options, proposed under the council’s Green Bridges Program, is open until the end of January.

Public and active transport committee chairman Ryan Murphy said designs for the Kangaroo Point and Breakfast Creek green bridges were also being finalised and construction was expected to begin in late 2021.

“We can confirm the Kangaroo Point bridge is being progressed with a navigational clearance height of 12.7 metres, which is no lower than the Captain Cook Bridge,” Cr Murphy said.

“We are progressing the Breakfast Creek bridge based on a skewed alignment from the north-west corner of Newstead Park to Kingsford Smith Drive and Cameron Rocks Reserve, and a tied-arch bridge design.”

Cr Murphy said two tenderers – Connect Brisbane and the Hull SRG Joint Venture – had been shortlisted to design and construct the Kangaroo Point bridge.

Three tenders – Fulton Hogan, Georgiou Brady Joint Venture and JF Hull – are bidding to construct the Breakfast Creek bridge.

The first St Lucia-West End option connects Guyatt Park in St Lucia to Orleigh Park in West End, with high-frequency public transport options available on both sides and no resumption of private land.

However, it would consume some of the public parks on both sides of the river, and “may impact established trees and park infrastructure”, according to the council website.

That option was expected to have the highest number of trips daily, estimated to be 4000 trips by 2031 and up to 4600 by 2041.

Public consultation

A St Lucia-to-West End bridge proposal from Brisbane City Council.CREDIT:BRISBANE CITY COUNCIL

A second option requiring resumption of private property would link Ryan Street in West End to Munro Street in St Lucia, and is estimated to carry 1600 trips daily by 2031.

A final option, which would require a steeper bridge grade, would connect Boundary Street park in West End to Keith Street in St Lucia, resume more private properties and have about 2400 daily trips by 2031.

For the Toowong-West End green bridge, one option would see land resumed at 600 Coronation Drive, the former ABC site that has long been touted as a potential public park and bridge landing space, linking to Orleigh Park near Forbes Street in West End.

That bridge proposal would carry 3400 trips daily by 2031 and 4600 by 2041, the council said, with some partial resumption of private land.

The second Toowong-West End option would connect Archer Street in Toowong to West End’s Orleigh Park near Drury Street, and is expected to carry about 3800 trips daily by 2031 and 5100 trips by 2041.

It would also have good travel connections, but bring “impacts to character houses and local streetscape”, the council said.

The third option would also connect Archer Street, near Glen Road, to Orleigh Park near Drury Street.

It would require a steeper grade and have “significant visual and amenity impacts”, but good connectivity to public transport and Toowong centre.

The third option was projected to have 3700 trips daily by 2031 and 5000 trips daily by 2041, according to the council.

Greens councillor Jonathan Sri said he wanted to have full community consultation before providing his own input to the council.

“I still really want to see more information justifying the St Lucia footbridge, because I suspect the business case for it might not be quite as strong,” Cr Sri said.

“I’ve previously told council that while I’m very supportive of the West End to Toowong footbridge, I suspect that getting a new CityCat terminal for the western side of West End might actually be a higher priority.

“The Toowong bridge is a high priority and a new CityCat terminal is a high priority but a direct footbridge to UQ might not be as urgently needed.”

Cr Sri said he also wanted more information around the projected traffic counts cited by the council for each option as they varied significantly.

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$180 million Greville master-planned community in Wooloowin launched

Greville master planned community launched

Cedar Woods Properties has unveiled plans for Greville, a new $180 million-plus community in Wooloowin.

It will feature a mix of terrace homes, apartments and heritage residences just five kilometres from the Brisbane CBD.

The urban village will be the first project of its kind for Wooloowin and ultimately feature over 250 homes and apartments, an exclusive residents’ recreation zone and pool, and a 4,000sqm community park.

Cedar Woods is taking expressions of interest for the first stage, which will comprise 12 north-facing terrace homes.

The Greville name is a nod to prominent architect Francis Drummond Greville Stanley who designed the Holy Cross Laundry, which opened in 1889.

Greville master planned community launched

Cedar Woods Senior Development Manager Peter Starr said Greville ticked all the boxes for buyers wanting an inner-city location, a modern Queenslander-inspired home and a design with liveability at the core.

“All our terrace homes have an optimal north-south orientation, meaning they are designed to enjoy abundant natural light and breezes, with our first release in an elevated enclave, meaning some also enjoy city skyline views.

“All the homes feature a generous landscaped courtyard, and open plan living that integrates seamlessly with either the courtyard or a balcony, creating light-filled indoor-outdoor living and entertaining.”

Greville master planned community launched

Mr Starr said lush landscaping would feature heavily at Greville.

Greville is just a 400 metre stroll from Wooloowin train station and 1km from the Northern Busway at Lutwyche, with the Northern Bikeway extension at the doorstep.”

The first terrace homes at Greville are priced from below $800,000.


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How much it costs to buy in Brisbane’s school catchment zones: Domain report

House prices in some Brisbane school

House prices in some Brisbane school catchments have skyrocketed by almost 30 per cent over the past 12 months, proving education is not only golden but worth far more to families than a big pool and river views.

The dramatic price hike comes amid reports of fierce buyer competition and an airtight rental market in the city’s key family hotspots, as growing hordes of home hunters place primary and secondary school access at the top of their wish list.

According to the latest Domain School Zones Report, which measures median prices within school catchments over a 12-month period, prices in a majority of both primary and secondary school catchments rose significantly higher than their respective suburb, with families appearing to place more onus on secondary school placement.

Across Greater Brisbane, a whopping 72 per cent of secondary school zones experienced a price rise, compared to a slightly lower 61 per cent of primary school catchments.

Domain senior research analyst Dr Nicola Powell said prices in some secondary school catchment zones increased an incredible nine times faster than that of prices in Greater Brisbane, with the sunshine state capital further featuring heavily in the national combined cities top 10, with five primary school catchments making the list.

She said the figures also revealed just how much importance families placed on education – no matter their property budget.

Brisbane’s top 10 school zones for house price growth
PrimaryBald Hills State SchoolBald Hills$675,00029.2%
PrimaryWynnum West State SchoolWynnum West$547,50028.8%
PrimaryRainworth State SchoolBardon$1,150,00027.8%
PrimaryIpswich Central State SchoolIpswich$365,00027.0%
PrimaryCannon Hill State SchoolCannon Hill$755,00025.8%
PrimaryTingalpa State SchoolTingalpa$675,00025.6%
PrimaryMarsden State SchoolMarsden$342,00023.9%
SecondaryFlagstone State Community CollegeJimboomba$471,00023.9%
PrimaryMorayfield State SchoolMorayfield$382,25023.9%
PrimaryAspley State SchoolAspley$776,50023.3%
Source: Domain Group. Median sale price is based on 12 months of data to October.

“These catchments are a fundamental driver for property decisions because education is hugely important … And one of the things I have seen [within the data] is those positive rates of growth were dotted around the city,” Dr Powell said.

“In fact, when you look at the top 10 [school catchments], it spreads from expensive pockets to more affordable.

“Because it doesn’t matter what price point [buyers are shopping at], they place equal importance on education and that’s what this report highlights.”

While the report revealed secondary school zones outstripped their junior counterparts in overall performance, it was primary school catchments that claimed the highest property price hikes, with the highly desirable Rainworth State School catchment, in Bardon, undergoing one of the biggest spikes of the year.

Median house prices there soared by 27.8 per cent to a bank-breaking $1.15 million.

It’s a figure that comes as no surprise to mother-of-three Megan Matthew, who purchased a home there 12 years ago for the sake of her and her husband’s children, only to recently sell 49 Outlook Crescent with the ambitious plan of upgrading into the same hotspot.

Since then she admitted to spending countless hours combing websites and walking the streets in the hopes of finding the perfect family home before Christmas, with a severe lack of stock forcing them into the rental market in the interim.

“My partner and I bought here in Bardon a long time ago … and we bought our home understanding that it was in a fantastic area for schooling … particularly for Rainworth State School,” Mrs Matthew said.

“We wouldn’t have sold it if it had had a bigger footprint … but now I am finding it really tough to find the perfect place [to purchase].

“It’s a matter of low stock, competition [for the area] and prices rising … in fact I can see the prices rising in front of my eyes.

“Even getting a rental was really challenging. It’s a landlord’s market and it’s a seller’s market right now.”

Mrs Matthew said what made the Rainworth State School catchment in Bardon so special was more than just the school itself, but the fact it was located close to top secondary schools.

“That´s why Bardon is so great … you’ve also got Brisbane Girls Grammar or St Joseph’s in Gregory Terrace as well as great secondary state schools. In fact, a good family home needs to be two-fold, it has to be in a good catchment for primary schools but also close to those secondary schools. It forms a big a part of the buying decision,” she said.

“Bardon is also only 10 minutes to the city so if you were there and if you want to go out, it ticks all the boxes.”

While Mrs Matthew’s two eldest children are now in secondary school (attending Brisbane Girls Grammar and St Joseph’s Gregory Terrace), it’s her three-year-old who is now dictating their property options, and a prime reason why her and her husband are so desperate to buy back into the Rainworth State School catchment.

House prices in some Brisbane school

Ray White Paddington agent Judi O’Dea sold the Matthew family home and said in her experience, the top property ingredient for Brisbane families was often the local primary school – with Rainworth State School catchment being an enormous drawcard for years.

“It’s always been extremely important and motivating for families to get into that catchment and they’ll do anything not to be just in that zone, but part of that community,” Ms O’Dea said.

“I call that zone the ‘happiness triangle’ and so many people try to live in it because it’s a short distance from Rainworth or St Joseph’s in Bardon … and considering families spend 15 years of their life going back and forth from their children’s school … well, it’s something you buy for.

“And because you’re often there in that catchment for 10 to 15 years, those properties are so tightly held.”

Cannon Hill State School catchment also earned a spot in the city’s top 10 zones for price rises, with houses jumping by 25.8 per cent to $755,000 over the past year.

House prices in some Brisbane school

Meagan Muir, of Place Estate Agents Bulimba, said the area was fast becoming a family hotspot thanks to the community and the zone’s central location, with prices noticeably soaring over the past five years.

“At the moment, houses in that Cannon Hill State School catchment are taking between just seven to 14 days to sell … and if a home ticks those boxes, it gets snapped up very quickly,” Ms Muir said.

Byron Freeborn, of Raine & Horne Wynnum Manly, said homes in the incredibly popular Wynnum West State school catchment (which ranked second on the School Zone list) were now so popular buyers were increasingly trying to snap them up off-market.

He said the catchment, which experienced a median price rise of 28.8 per cent to $547,500 over the past year, was now a magnet for young couples and families who had been previously renting in Bulimba and Morningside, but were unable to buy in those pricier patches.

House prices in some Brisbane school

Bald Hills State School was a top performer on the Domain report, with prices soaring by 29.2 per cent over the year to $675,000. The top performing secondary school catchment was for Rochedale State High School, where median prices rose by 20.5 per cent to $750,000.


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