Brisbane is doing what it’s done for the past five years. It’s performing solidly, with most markets recording price rises in the past year, but it’s not a compelling growth market. As I commented recently: “Brisbane is like a car where the engine is revving but it can’t move forward because the handbrake is on.”
Hotspotting’s Winter survey of sales activity shows a reduction in the number of growth markets, measured by patterns in dwelling sales quarter-by-quarter. Prior to this, Brisbane had recorded a rising trend for three consecutive surveys. But now the engine has stalled.
Brisbane continues to perform quite well on price growth, with 66% of suburbs delivering annual growth in their median house prices, which means 135 suburbs with median house prices higher than a year ago. The figures for apartment markets, however, are much less positive, which reflects unit over-supply in recent years.
The number of suburbs with growing demand had risen from 19 to 29 to 33 to 44 in our previous surveys, but the number of growth markets has dropped to 24 in our Winter survey. In the early part of 2019, Brisbane has been impacted by some of the national factors, such as tighter credit and uncertainty prior to the 18 May election.
We expect some revival in the second half of 2019, helped by the series of fortunate events since 18 May, including cuts to taxes and interest rates, plus the prospect of improved infrastructure spending by the Queensland Government. In the meantime, Brisbane continues to be steady but unexciting.
Some sub-markets are doing better than others. The clear market leader is the Brisbane-north precinct, which comprises the northern suburbs of the Brisbane City Council area – essentially this is Brisbane’s middle market on the northside. Brisbane-north has 10 suburbs with growth momentum (almost half of the growth markets in the Brisbane metro area), including solid middle market areas like Alderley, Everton Park, Kedron, McDowall, Sandgate, Stafford and Wavell Heights.
Quarterly sales in Alderley have been 28, 37, 48, 50 and 52 – and its median prices have risen 6% for houses ($860,000) and 15% for apartments ($425,000) in the past 12 months. Sandgate has had a 15% rise in its median house price ($750,000).
Before the Winter 2019 survey, the Moreton Bay Region in the far north had been the No.1 market in Greater Brisbane for some time. It had lifted the number of growth suburbs from 7 to 10 to 12 in the previous three surveys. But now the Moreton Bay LGA has faded – it now has only five growth suburbs, with 33 suburbs which are either plateau or consistency markets. The remaining suburbs with growth momentum are Everton Hills, Ferny Hills, Kippa-Ring, Murrumba Downs and Warner.
I expect revival in this market, or sections of it, later in the year, helped by infrastructure like the new university campus in the Petrie area.
A number of Moreton Bay suburbs recorded good price growth in the past 12 months, including Bellara (up 11%), Bray Park (6%), Cashmere (10%), Joyner (9%), Sandstone Point (11%), Caboolture (6%), Upper Caboolture (6%), Scarborough (8%), Strathpine (11%), Woody Point (9%), Burpengary East (11%) and Murrumba Downs (8%).
This reflects a well-established pattern in real estate that prices often remain strong for some time after sales activity has faded.
Elsewhere across the Brisbane metro area, the most notable markets are those marked by consistency and solidity (like Ipswich City and the Brisbane-south precinct) and those where the trends are more negative (like the Brisbane-inner precinct and Logan City).
The number of danger markets in Brisbane is gradually reducing – the seven that remain are primarily inner-city suburbs impacted by the apartment oversupply, which is gradually being absorbed. A couple of inner-city markets, notably Kangaroo Point and Milton, have lost their danger ranking in this survey as the data gradually improves.
But the highly-regarded western suburb of Fig Tree Pocket has been classified as a danger market, because sales activity have declined significantly, the median house price has dropped 25% to $890,000 and vacancies in this postcode are 4.5%.
The price data for the Greater Brisbane Area is noteworthy, because it shows that the generalised figures published in mainstream media are highly misleading. The latest figures from sources like SQM Research, Domain and CoreLogic have Brisbane houses showing little or no growth in the past year, but our suburb-by-suburb analysis shows there are many outperformers.
Hotspotting analysed 287 suburban markets – 205 house markets and 82 unit markets – looking at the latest figures showing annual growth rates. The results for houses are a lot more positive than those for units.
Of the suburb house markets, 135 (66%) have median house prices higher than a year ago, including 44 where medians have grown more than 5% – headed by West End (up 16%), Windaroo (16%), Sandgate (15%), Hemmant (23%) and East Ipswich (19%).
A total of 70 suburbs (34%) have median house prices down in annual terms, but most are down by less than 5%. Only 12 suburbs have recorded median house price decline above 5%.
The apartment market shows a different pattern, impacted by several years of over-supply which drove up vacancy rates, especially in the inner-city areas. Of the suburbs with unit markets, 38% have higher medians than year ago and 62% have recorded decline in their median prices.
It’s notable than 26 or the 38 Brisbane markets where median prices have dropped more than 5% are apartment markets. The median apartment price for inner-city Bowen Hills is down 19%.
Overall, Brisbane is solid market – or a series of mostly solid markets – awaiting a catalyst. It’s likely to get at least part of the boost it needs from recent national factors, including the election result, the APRA easing, the reductions to interest rates and the tax cuts.
Sentinel Sells Brisbane Industrial Site for $17m
Sentinel Property Group has offloaded another Brisbane site, this time an industrial facility 11 kilometres east of the Brisbane CBD in Hemmant for $17 million.
Centuria Capital snapped up the partially tenanted property in Brisbane’s east through Blue Commercial managing director Gary O’Shea.
The site, which comprises 47,951sq m of general industrial zoned land and features an 11,785 warehouse and 1,240sq m of office space, is located within the Trade Coast Precinct at 46-68 Gosport Street.
Sentinel’s Industrial Trust purchased the property for $16 million in 2012.
Sentinel’s divestment follows on from its recent sale of the Citilink Business Centre at Bowen Hills for $76 million to Prime Super.
The group also purchased the Makerston House office building in Brisbane CBD’s legal precinct for $103 million from investment management company Challenger.
Along with the Brisbane transactions Sentinel managing director Warren Ebert said the group, established by Ebert in 2010, has been active in regional Queensland.
“Particularly in Mackay where our portfolio is approaching $100 million,” Ebert said.
“Mackay has been an important regional market in the national growth and success of Sentinel over the past decade and the company has tremendous confidence in the region’s economic future, particularly with the opening up of the Galilee Basin with Adani’s Carmichael coal and rail project finally approved.”
Melbourne Top Investment Choice for Chinese Buyers
Chinese buyer enquiries for residential property in Australia has recorded two consecutive quarters of year-on-year growth for the first time since 2016, with Melbourne still the most popularAustralian city.
Australia has been losing Chinese buyer interest to other parts of the world due to increased taxes and banking restrictions.
But Australia’s hefty state foreign buyer taxes have been counterbalanced by its weakening dollar according to the latest Juwai.com report, which has seen it drop around 11 per cent of its value against the Chinese Yuan since mid-2018.
Juwai.com CEO Carrie Law says she expects Chinese buying to remain flat in 2019, with forecasts it could start to grow again inline Australia’s property market recovery.
“Chinese buyers make 83 per cent more enquiries about acquiring Melbourne property than they do Sydney,” Law said.
Brisbane has the second fastest rate of Chinese buyer growth. Law said Brisbane recorded 30.8 per cent more Chinese buyer enquiries in 2018.
“Brisbane is becoming a real alternative for the two traditional gateway cities of Melbourne and Sydney.
“The fastest growing cities, in terms of Chinese buyer interest, are Hobart, Brisbane, and Canberra.”
Melbourne receives 43.8 per cent of Chinese buying enquiries in Australia, Sydney 23.9 per cent, Brisbane 10.1 per cent, Perth and Adelaide 6.1 per cent, the Gold Coast 3.7 per cent, Canberra 3.6 per cent, and Hobart 2.6 per cent.
Weak Aussie dollar boosts buyer interest
Despite the tougher state foreign buyer taxes, Australian’s weakening dollar means it now costs less to secure real estate.
“A buyer holding Yuan today needs the equivalent of $88,800 less in funds compared to 2017 to purchase an $800,000 dwelling,” Law said.
“The plummeting Australian dollar, which has lost 11.1 per cent of its value against the Chinese Yuan since July 2018… [That] compares to the 8 per cent rate of the highest foreign buyer taxes, which are in New South Wales and Victoria.”
Law says Chinese demand is driven largely by growing wealth, a desire to store assets ‘safely’ overseas, education, travel, commercial ties, immigration and high-net-worth immigration, along with environment and lifestyle.
“Eighty-three per cent of Chinese consumers cite education as their reason for immigration, 69 per cent cite environment, 57 per cent cite food safety, and 28 per cent cite asset security.”
Australia’s Most Expensive Capital City to Rent a House Might Surprise You
When it comes to the nation’s most expensive capital city to rent a house, Sydney takes second place in what may come as a surprise to some, with Canberra crowned as Australia’s most expensive capital.
While Domain’s rental report shows Canberra remains as the nation’s most expensive capital to rent a house, it also shows it’s more expensive to rent a house in Hobart than Melbourne.
The latest report, which covers the median rental price for houses and units across the country, shows Melbourne house rents remained unchanged over the year at $430 per week, while unit rents increased 2.4 per cent over the year.
Taking in the unit market, despite Sydney’s price falls of almost 5 per cent over the year the harbour city is still the most expensive capital city to rent a unit.
Strong construction of new housing has weighed on rents in Sydney, and also contributed to the vacancy rate increasing to 3.2 per cent in June, up from 2.4 per cent one year ago, Domain’s Economist Trent Wiltshere says.
House rents fell by 3.6 per cent over the year to $530 per week.
While unit rents dropped by 0.9 per cent in the quarter and 4.5 per cent over the year.
“Rents held up the best on the Central Coast and on Sydney’s north shore, but fell in other Sydney regions,” the Domain report notes.
While largely thanks to the significant property price falls over the past few years, Sydney’s rental yields have risen slightly.
Melbourne’s strong population growth since 2013, averaging an annual 2.6 per cent, has seen ongoing rental demand.
House rents grew fastest in the Mornington Peninsula and in Melbourne’s inner-south, but were unchanged in Melbourne’s eastern suburb, for the past year.
Melbourne’s unit rents have increased by 2.4 per cent over the year.
While rent on a typical unit has increased 14 per cent over the past five years to $420, despite the city’s apartment construction boom during this time.
Melbourne’s house rents have also increased 13 per cent during this period.
Domain says unit rentals have held steady in recent years, despite the large supply of new Brisbane apartments.
“House rents were steady in most parts of Brisbane over the past 12-months, but unit rents increased 6 per cent in the inner city.”
Unit rents also increased by 2 per cent on the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast.
And while rental prices for houses across Greater Brisbanerecorded falls in the June quarter, rental prices have remained unchanged year-on-year.
Brisbane’s rental vacancy rate fell from 2.6 per cent to 2.2 per cent over the past year, a sign of a strengthening rental market, Wiltshere says.
House rents in Adelaide dropped 1 per cent in the June quarter, but have recorded an increase of 2.7 per cent over the year.
Adelaide’s unit rentals have increased by 1.7 per cent over the year, with the typical unit renting for around $305 a week, this makes Adelaide the cheapest across all capitals.
Hobart remains the fourth most expensive city to rent a house behind Canberra and Sydney, according to Domain’s report.
Canberra house rents dropped 3.5 per cent in the June quarter, but are unchanged over the year at $550 per week. Unit rents increased by 4.4 per cent over the year, sitting at $470.
Canberra unit rents have increased a staggering 18 per cent over the past three years, despite an apartment construction boom.
And Darwin rents for houses have now dropped from the 2014 highs of $700 a week to $490. Darwin units have dropped over the past five years from $570 to $385, reflecting declining demand as the city’s population decreases.
Perth remains the most affordable capital city to rent a house in Australia at $365 a week. Rental prices for both Perth houses (up 4.3 per cent) and units (up 3.3 per cent) have increased over the past year.
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