Brisbane property market stuck in low gears with the handbrake on - Queensland Property Investor
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Brisbane property market stuck in low gears with the handbrake on

Brisbane property market stuck in low gears with the handbrake on


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.



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Brisbane rents: Landlords in ‘rosier position’ as unit oversupply eases

Brisbane rents Landlords in ‘rosier position’ as unit oversupply eases

Brisbane rents are creeping up and the proportion of vacant homes is inching down, as the city’s rental market recovers from years of oversupply, experts say.

Asking rents for units rose 1.3 per cent to a median $380 a week over the past year, the latest figures from the Domain Rental Report for the September quarter show.

House rents also edged up 1.3 per cent to a median $405 over the same time period, according to the report released on Thursday.

The combined vacancy rate fell 0.1 percentage points to 2.2 per cent during the September quarter.

It comes after a wave of new apartments were built in Brisbane’s inner city in recent years, with the extra supply keeping a lid on rents.

Domain research analyst Eliza Owen said the market was now in good health, despite appearing to be near-stagnant.

Median weekly asking rents for units
Brisbane – City wide$380$380$3750.0%1.3%
Brisbane – East$405$405$4000.0%1.3%
Brisbane – North$370$365$3631.4%2.1%
Brisbane – South$385$380$3751.3%2.7%
Brisbane – West$400$415$390-3.6%2.6%
Brisbane Inner City$420$425$410-1.2%2.4%
Moreton Bay – North$315$315$3100.0%1.6%
Moreton Bay – South$340$335$3351.5%1.5%

For units, the stability was a positive story compared to oversupply-induced market weakness a few years back, Ms Owen said.

“There’s been a lot of fear about over-development but in the building space there’s been tightening of dwelling completions,” she said. “They’ve come down sharply and are returning to long-run average levels.”

Rents were now trending up and vacancy rates down, she said.

“The picture for south-east Queensland in terms of rental returns is pretty good, it’s also one of the most affordable rental markets for houses.”

Ms Owen said interstate migration, mostly from Sydney, was a major factor in keeping the rental market balanced.

“The tightening of the rental market is off the back of strong population growth and a very affordable lifestyle, and this is reflected in the rental vacancy rate which is down to 2.2 per cent from 2.6 in the previous year,” she said.

Median weekly asking rents for houses
Brisbane – City wide$405$400$4001.3%1.3%
Brisbane – East$450$450$4500.0%0.0%
Brisbane – North$435$435$4300.0%1.2%
Brisbane – South$435$435$4400.0%-1.1%
Brisbane – West$490$485$4801.0%2.1%
Brisbane Inner City$550$530$5203.8%5.8%
Moreton Bay – North$375$370$3651.4%2.7%
Moreton Bay – South$410$413$410-0.6%0.0%

Space Property projects director Adam Gray said the unit market was threatening to tip into under-supply for sales, which could have a flow-on effect to the rental market.

“There’s a few reasons, one of the main reasons we’re not putting as much supply in,” he said. “There’s certainly a lot less cranes, and apartments being built than there once was.

“A lot of that was happening in the inner city and now rents are rising and rental vacancy rates are dropping.”

Ray White Brisbane CBD principal Dean Yesberg did not think a looming under-supply was something to worry about yet.

“No, definitely not,” he said. “We’ve got enough supply coming through to cater.”

The bulk of rentals were being filled because of new employment opportunities in the Queensland capital, said Mr Yesberg.

“The mining industry are getting into a better situation and that’s seen an increase in families coming to Brisbane, well qualified people coming up here for jobs,” he said.

“The coal mining people are getting into full swing, then there’s a lot of infrastructure going into Brisbane right now – the Cross River Rail and Queens Wharf casino, [for example].”

Median weekly rents – houses


Urbis director of property economics and research Paul Riga said young people were continuing to drive the rental market, particularly for units in the inner city.

“There’s a bit of a mix, when we look at the building manager feedback, the Gen Y demographic is driving that market,” he said.

“They’re here for employment and maybe from Sydney so their first port of call won’t be to buy, it will be to rent.

“It’s not a majority but it’s just grown in proportion. Some of our building managers are suggesting up to 20 per cent of their rental inquiry is coming from interstate.

“It’s a rosier position if you’re a landlord, definitely.”

Median weekly rents – units





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Investec Lists Fortitude Valley Office Tower

Investec Lists Fortitude Valley Office Tower

The newly-listed Investec Australia Property Fund will divest its 11-storey Fortitude Valley office building with an expected price north of $90 million as it moves to recycle capital.

Fresh off the heels of its fully underwritten institutional placement and purchase of three industrial properties in the Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia for $84 million last month, Investec has motioned to sell its Brisbane, 757 Ann Street, tower.

Investec purchasted the Nettleton Tribe-designed tower for 68.5 million after it was completed in 2014.

Comprising 9,422sq m of office space with a weighted average lease expiry of approximately five years, the A-grade building, anchored by technology company Asea Brown Boveri, is 100 per cent leased.

Investec Lists Fortitude Valley Office Tower 1

Cushman & Wakefield’s Mike Walsh and Peter Court are managing the international expression of interest campaign, to kick off mid-October, with expectations it will generate strong interest from domestic and off-shore institutions, funds and syndication groups.

“The entire commercial component of the asset is structured on a net lease basis, providing smooth, predictable cash flow for investors,” Court said.

Sales over the first half of the year surpassed the total volume of sales over 2018—reaching $1.2 billion, according to Colliers research, with Australian institutional investors dominating the lion share of transactions.

Commercial assets currently on the market include Perth-based investor RG Property’s 410 Queen Street in Brisbane’s ‘golden triangle’.

Recent Brisbane assets changing hands include the sale of the Jubilee Place Office development at nearby 470 St Pauls Terrace to a real estate fund managed by Credit Suisse, Malaysian-backed HCK’s 116 Adelaide street for $30 million, and QIC’s Q&A Centre at 141 Queen Street and 140 Elizabeth Street which sold to Taiwanese developer Shayher Group.

As for development plans in the Fortitude Valley precinct, Sydney fund manager Millinium Capital in August announced plans for a new university campus and 30-storey tower that would comprise student accomodation, co-living and co-working space at 240 Brunswick Street and 11 Overells Lane.





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Australian property management startup raises $3.5 million, expands to Brisbane

Australian property management startup raises $3.5 million, expands to Brisbane

Australian proptech startup :Different has announced it raised $3.5 million in its latest funding round to continue its national expansion.

The fund raising coincides with the company’s launch into Brisbane today.

:Different is a full-service property management startup where property owners pay a fixed fee of $100 per month instead of a percentage based on the rental price of the property.

The appeal of :Different is their tech base which automates the everyday tasks of a property manager.

:Different’s owner app provides 24/7 access to documents like lease agreements, statements, and maintenance requests, while the tenant app helps streamline requests and fast track communications.

Over the last 12 months, :Different’s customer base has grown five folds with more than $700 million worth of properties now under management across New South Wales and Victoria, while its team has quadrupled to 32.

The latest funding round supports :Different’s ambitions to expand into new markets, further enhance its tech platform and continue to build its team of expert property managers, said Mina Radhakrishnan, Co-Founder at :Different.   

“We’ve already had huge success since launching in Sydney and Melbourne, and we’re thrilled to offer the same great offering to Queenslanders,” Radhakrishnan said.

“We have big growth ambitions for :Different. This latest funding round will help us continue to rebuild property management in Australia and beyond.”


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