Noosa has cemented its status as one of the nation’s most sought-after property markets, with new data revealing its apartments had the third-highest rate of capital growth of anywhere in Australia last year.
The median unit price in Noosa Heads skyrocketed 30.1 per cent to $745,000 in 2018, placing it third out of the 2522 suburb medians calculated in the latest Domain House Price Report.
The median house price in Noosa Heads grew by a massive 17.2 per cent, while neighbouring Sunshine Beach, which shares the Noosa Heads postcode, increased by 18.7 per cent.
The median price for a house in Noosa Heads is now $1.125 million, while Sunshine Beach is at $1.395 million.
In the context of Sydney and Melbourne’s declining property markets, Noosa and Sunshine Beach’s performances were particularly exceptional, local agent Tom Offermann said.
“Noosa’s market has matured. It’s grown from being a speculative market 10 to 15 years ago, to a lifestyle market where property here is an integral part of people’s lives,” he said.
“It’s much more sustainable. If there are tough economic times people are less inclined to sell because their property has become that place where their families come together. It sounds dreamy but it’s the case.”
Mr Offermann said it was now common in Noosa for properties to stay in one family for generations.
“Many of our high-end properties, the owners won’t sell them. The common response is that the ‘family would kill us if we sold it’. It’s their reserved spot at Noosa and it’s special.”
One of Mr Offermann’s most significant sales in the lead-up to Christmas was at Le Mer on Hastings Street — an apartment building that has been tightly held and highly sought-after as one of Australia’s premier beachfront locations since it was built over 30 years ago.
The three-bedroom, two-bathroom unit at No.5 sold within two weeks of being listed.
“There are still owners there who have been there since the beginning. I recall selling these apartments for $225,000 — now they’re in the $6 to $7 million range,” he said.
Mr Offermann said from a finance perspective, holding properties in the area made sense.
“On the Gold Coast, you can create real estate by selling air, with high-rise buildings. There’s no limit,” he said.
“Whereas we have the population cap and all the town planning policies, so what we’ve got is what we’ve got. Property here is finite.”
Last year got off to a particularly heady start in Noosa, with its first residential sale over $10 million. There was also Pat Rafter’s beachfront mansion that sold for $15.2 million, followed two weeks later by the $18 million Sunshine Beach trophy home that set a new record for the Sunshine Coast.
The house at 21-23 Webb Road — a seven-bedroom, eight-bathroom beachfront estate — was one of the biggest real estate deals in Queensland in recent years.
Just days before Christmas, Mr Offermann settled the off-market sale of a new house on Noosa Hill overlooking Laguna Bay for over $10 million.
He said that momentum then carried over into January, and described the start to 2019 as “phenomenal”.
“We had $30 million in sales in two weeks,” he said.
“It’s been an explosive start to the year and, while January is often a good month for us, this year has been even stronger than previous Januarys.”
David Conolly of Century 21 Conolly Hay Group said Sunshine Beach had grown substantially in popularity with home owners due to its unique and prestigious location.
“Sunshine Beach is an east-facing surf beach, it’s got a village atmosphere, it’s so close to Noosa yet it’s still got a little bit of distance from the holiday situation of Hastings Street,” he said.
“Really, from Sunshine Beach all the way through to Peregian, demand has been so strong … it’s an area where people want to live rather than holiday.”
Mr Conolly said the likely reason why Noosa and Sunshine Beach’s median house prices were so high was the number of trophy homes sold last year, while overall demand in these areas had gone to a new level in recent years.
“They’ve been fantastic markets the last couple of years, there’s no doubt about it,” he said.
“Noosa has become a hub for people educating their children with lots of fantastic schools and people are living and working here for the lifestyle.”
The Brisbane suburbs where property values will rise
The Brisbane suburbs where rent prices have increased most
Brisbane’s rent prices have remained relatively steady over the past 12 months, but that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been any big changes in rent prices across the city. So which suburbs have seen the biggest price hikes, and which have seen the biggest reductions?
When it comes to units, Bardon recorded the highest jump in rent price in the past 12 months. The north-western suburb saw an 18 per cent increase up to a median weekly rent price of $360, which is consistent with a 20 per cent increase over the past five years.
Brooke Rowley, property management business developer for Ray White Paddington, said smaller units have recently popped up in the suburb and were likely to account for the bump in price.
“We have height restrictions so we don’t have all the high-rises, but we do have a lot of smaller units and townhouses,” she said. “They’re not high rise, the top would be three levels. But nice, and fairly new.”
Rowley said most of the rental interest in the area came from more established renters who were interested in the location and surrounding amenities.
“Bardon is the catchment zone for two very good schools, Bardon State School and Rainworth State School. A lot of people look for the good schools, and then want to stay in that area. [We see] more professionals sharers and families because of the schools, and close proximity to the city. [There’s also] easy access to get to Mt Coot-tha and the western suburbs.”
Elsewhere, Yerongpilly in Brisbane’s south saw a strong 14.3 per cent increase in unit rent prices year-on-year, while nearby suburb Holland Park jumped a similarly strong 11.1 per cent.
Meanwhile, house rent prices increased the most in Fortitude Valley, with the central suburb posting a 16.3 per cent jump. The median weekly rent price was $500 in the area. Leasing associate Connor Hadwen, of Living Here Cush Partners, said the increase was likely due to the market catching up to the recent apartment boom.
“The oversupply of apartments has mostly been filled at the moment,” he said. “So compared to five years ago, the rental prices are returning to normal levels. It’s just the suburb growth matching back to normal levels.”
In fact, Domain economist Trent Wiltshire said the most notable broad trend in Brisbane’s rental market in the past 12 months was a 6.25 per cent increase in rent price for units in inner-city Brisbane suburbs like Fortitude Valley.
“That’s a surprise given what we know has been happening in the Brisbane apartment market in the inner city,” he said. “Brisbane’s gone through a huge apartment building boom over the last few years. Despite that, rents have increased over the past year by 6 per cent.
“It’s only up by 6 per cent over five years, so it has been held down over the last few years by the big building boom, but it’s just jumped in the past year. This says to me that there’s ongoing strong demand for new apartments.”
Mr Hadwen said he had seen strong interstate and international interest in Fortitude Valley, and its surrounding suburbs of New Farm, Teneriffe, and Newstead.
“We tend to see not huge families coming to live here, but people moving here for employment opportunities. [People] wanting to live close to the city.”
Another suburb that posted a large increase in house rent price was Fig Tree Pocket in Brisbane’s south-west. It saw a 12.5 per cent jump for a median weekly rent price of $675. Closer to the CBD, Ashgrove saw an increase of 10.6 percent making for a median weekly house rent price of $575.
On the other end of the spectrum, the apartment rental market in Rocklea in Brisbane’s south saw the biggest dip across the city, with rent dropping 8.9 per cent year on year consistent with an 8.9 per cent drop in the past five years. The current median weekly rent price for units in the area is $280.
When it comes to houses, the western suburb of Chelmer saw the biggest drop at 11.2 per cent. This could be an anomaly, however, given the area’s 26.2 per cent increase over the past five years. The current median weekly rent price for houses in the area is $675.
Queensland leads the way in market recovery
Demand has started to increase in the property market on the back of the recent federal election results and interest rate cuts, with Brisbane and Mackay in Queensland leading the road to recovery.
REA’s Property Outlook for July has revealed the “ScoMo bounce” and two interest rate cuts were breathing new life into Australian property, with demand starting to increase and slowly flowing through to many indicators.
Search activity has seen a bump, particularly in Melbourne and Sydney’s hard hit markets, clearance rates in premium suburbs are getting back to high levels, and many mining towns are returning to growth after five years of negative conditions, according to the report.
realestate.com.au’s Chief Economist Nerida Conisbee said rental growth in these areas started some time ago, but a recovery is now following suit.
“Queensland is leading the way in the recovery,” Ms Conisbee said in the report. “Brisbane has been the first capital city off the block in terms of price growth, and Mackay is right now the top regional growth area in Australia.”
She added that jobs growth is also driving rental demand, which continues to be highest in Hobart, Gold Coast and Melbourne, and while the extreme price growth in Hobart now seems to be over, Launceston is taking over. Regional Victoria was also doing well, with many suburbs in Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong experiencing never before seen property demand.
But according to the report, any real uplift in the number of people listing properties for sale is yet to be seen and pricing data is yet to reflect a change in conditions, and Ms Conisbee warned that while much of this sounds promising, there are some dark clouds looming on the horizon.
“Although buyers love an interest rate cut (we see an increase in search activity onrealestate.com.au almost as soon as it is announced), the Australian economy isn’t looking particularly healthy,” she said in the report.
“While many economic indicators have been poor for some time now, the bright spark has always been low unemployment. With this creeping up and the Reserve Bank pushing through two interest rate cuts very quickly, the positive effect of cheaper finance may not be enough to offset the fact that people are beginning to lose their job. Could it be that the worst for property is still be to come?”
Ms Conisbee said if the interest rate cuts were enough to stimulate the economy and property prices continued to see a rebound, we were still looking at a very different property market to what it was like during the boom, with investor lending down 45 per cent from peak and unlikely to make a full recovery any time soon.
“Buyers from Asia, a key market for new development, have dropped dramatically,” she reported. “Over the past 12 months alone, property seekers from China have dropped by over 60 per cent to the lowest level we have ever recorded, and confidence in the new apartment sector is low following some high-profile structural issues.”
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