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QLD property powers ahead as investors target the state

QLD property

Unlike some of its East Coast neighbours, Queensland has been spared much of the Delta outbreak devastation in recent months, and that’s paved the way for a strong launch into the spring selling season.

Houses in Brisbane have soared so far this year, up nearly $115,000 since the beginning of January according to CoreLogic—an increase of more than $3,300 per week over eight months—and there are few signs of slowing.

Houses in regional Queensland have also shot up +15.6 per cent in 2021, and units are following close behind at +14.6 per cent.

So what does all of this mean for what’s to come in the warmer months?

Brisbane market update

Houses Units
Monthly change: +2.1%
Monthly change: +1.4%

Brisbane’s median home value jumped up an even +2.0 per cent in August to $612,377, making it one of the strongest performing capital markets.

Houses in the capital are edging towards the $700,000 median barrier, while units, which have performed more modestly so far this year, are now picking up the pace too.

According to SQM Research, new listings fell -9.5 per cent for the month, likely due to Covid-related hesitation from sellers, yet total stock on the market fell by an even larger -10.3 per cent, indicating that buyer demand is still outstripping supply.

Auction clearance rates also sat comfortably above 70 per cent throughout August, when 12 months ago they were suffering below 50 per cent, so things are looking particularly healthy in terms of sales.

Westpac’s latest Housing Pulse report points out that “the recent announcement that Brisbane will host the 2032 Olympic gains may well be creating a ‘halo effect’ for what is already a strong market.”

As long as Queensland manages to keep Covid at bay, it looks like it should be a positive spring selling season ahead.

Regional QLD market update

Houses Units
Monthly change: +1.4%
Monthly change: +1.7%

August has seen another strong performance from Queensland’s regional destinations, especially the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast, as more out of towners flock to brighter shores.

The median home value in regional Queensland jumped up another +1.5 per cent to $461,073, demonstrating a staggering +20.8 per cent gain over the past 12 months.

Units have continued to slightly outperform houses for the quarter, and the two property types are now almost neck and neck in terms of value.

According to REA Insights, new listings in the regions have seen a far less substantial drop than Brisbane of -0.5 per cent, suggesting that vendors are still looking to take advantage of the strong selling conditions while Covid disruptions are minimal.

It’s also worth noting that REA found the number of views per listing has risen significantly, up +12.9 per cent in July across the state. That’s +69.1 per cent higher than 12 months prior, so interest in Queensland property continues to gather steam.

Investor activity is surging across the state

Owner-occupiers aren’t the only ones jumping into action, and much of the country’s recent investor resurgence is being focused within the Sunshine State.

According to REA Insights, Greater Brisbane and nearby regional destinations are seeing very strong levels of interest from investors.

QLD property

Brisbane topped REA’s list for increased investor interest in Australia. Source: REA Insights 

Specifically, Logan, Moreton Bay, Ipswich and North Brisbane are the highest growth regions for investor enquiry, and it’s not just houses that are being sought after either.

While pockets of Brisbane have been stigmatised by oversupply issues in the past, units now seem to be back in favour. Enquiries on North Brisbane units are up +400 per cent year on year, with south and inner Brisbane also surging up +200 per cent.

That’s backed up by ABS data that shows new investor lending has more than doubled in the state since March 2020.

Along with interstate buyers looking to migrate north for a lifestyle improvement and Queenslanders themselves upgrading within the state, the soaring rates of investor activity indicate there’s more strong growth to come.

What’s next for the Brisbane and QLD markets?

Covid outbreaks of the past few months have brought uncertainty to Australia’s property markets, but as we enter spring CoreLogic says there’s already evidence that listing numbers are beginning to ramp up in Queensland.

The Reserve Bank of Australia confirmed for another month that interest rates won’t be moving up from their record lows any time soon, so buyers continue to operate with confidence knowing that money’s cheap.

Affordability constraints have been identified as one of the key reasons this year’s boom has eased in recent months, however, this issue is mostly affecting the Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra markets. In fact, this may be assisting the Queensland market, as those priced out of the other major cities seek more affordable options elsewhere.

Between the typical seasonal uplift, low interest rates, burgeoning investor activity and continually strong interstate interest in Queensland property, there are few signs that growth will be curbed.

It’s looking like more prosperous times are ahead for sellers in the Sunshine State.

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Record auction figures in December as Australia’s property market plays catch up


A surge in post lockdown supply coupled with buoyant market conditions, led to unprecedented levels of auction activity across Australia in the final three months of 2021.

CoreLogic’s Quarterly Auction Market Review shows 42,918 properties were taken to auction across the combined capital cities in the three months to December 2021, an 85.1% increase from the previous quarter and more than double (109.5%) the December 2020 figures.

CoreLogic’s Research Director Tim Lawless says several factors resulted in the surge in auctions, including some catch-up from the September quarter when the largest auctions markets were weighted down by lockdowns as well as a pickup in activity following the seasonally slower conditions of winter.

“The large number of auctions held through the December quarter also reflects the strong selling conditions that were present, which motivated vendors to capitalise on strong buyer demand and the significant rise in values seen through the pandemic,” he says.

“Auctions as a way of selling tend to be more popular during a sellers’ market; in this situation buyers are highly competitive and incentivised to outbid rival purchasers in order to secure a property. During cooler market conditions an auction may not attract as many registered bidders or as much competitive bidding.”

In Australia’s two biggest auction markets, Melbourne had 19,788 auctions and a clearance rate of 69.7% for the December quarter compared to Sydney, where 14,906 auctions were held at a clearance rate of 69.9%.

Across the combined capitals, the quarterly clearance rate of 71.3% was only slightly down on the previous quarter results of 71.7%.

However, as the quarter progressed and the volume of auctions held increased, the clearance rate progressively trended lower to 61.1% in the week ending 19 December, 2021.

Mr Lawless says higher auction volumes will often correspond with lower clearance rates as demand becomes more thinly stretched.

“The surge in the number of auctions through the final quarter of 2021 was accompanied by a consistent trend towards lower clearance rates, with this trend evident across each of the capital cities,” he says.

“The drop in clearance rates implies demand didn’t quite keep pace with the level of auction supply during the quarter.”

In the smaller capitals Brisbane (3027 auctions, clearance rate of 74.9%), Adelaide (2902 auctions, 80.5%) and Canberra (1949 auctions, 82.4%) also recorded significant increases in volumes compared to Q3 2021, and the corresponding quarter in 2020.

auction At a granular level, the suburb of Wishart, 12km south-east of Brisbane’s CBD, recorded a 100% clearance rate, the highest in the country, with all 28 properties scheduled for auction in the December quarter selling under the hammer.

The heightened auction volumes in Brisbane and Adelaide echoed the cities respective housing strength, where values continued to rise at cyclical highs through December, prompting a higher proportion of properties being taken to auction.

Auctions in Australia’s regional areas also increased substantially over the quarter. Larger centres such as Newcastle, the Illawarra, Geelong and the Gold and Sunshine coasts in Queensland, each saw a surge in auction volumes, reflective of the tight housing market conditions that currently exist in the country’s popular coastal areas and lifestyle-oriented markets.

In the week ending January 23, 2022, close to 460 auctions are scheduled across the capital cities, almost 40% higher when compared to the same period a year ago. However, Mr Lawless says it’s too early to forecast the auction market trend likely to prevail in 2022.

“Overall advertised supply levels generally remain below average across most of the capitals suggesting sellers are still benefitting from strong selling conditions,” Mr Lawless says.

“Auction volumes tend to ramp up through early February and move through a seasonal peak in the weeks prior to Easter. Over the medium term we are expecting listing numbers to gradually normalise which should see buyers regaining some leverage in the market over time.  If this is the case, we could see more vendors reverting to private treaty sales rather than auctions as competitive tension amongst buyers eases.”

A full city-by-city suburb analysis, where at least 20 auction results were reported over the December quarter, can be found in the report.


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High Rollers Spending Big in South-East Queensland’s Premium Market


The Gold Coast continues to rise above the pandemic, providing bang for buck for many ultra high-net worth individuals who bought into the unyielding prime residential market.

The region recorded a 156 per cent increase in annual sales turnover for prime residential property, the biggest in the country, according to Knight Frank’s Australian Prime Residential Review report.

Knight Frank head of residential research Michelle Ciesielski, who authored the report, said Gold Coast property had chalked up a 10.5 per cent increase in prime prices, the second-highest behind Sydney at 10.7 per cent.

“The Gold Coast saw the biggest rise in prime annual sales turnover at 156 per cent, followed by Brisbane at 135 per cent,” Ciesielski said.

“Gold Coast prime properties were on the market 19 days less on average [than the previous quarter], the biggest reduction across Australia.”

The Gold Coast also offered more for your money.

According to Knight Frank data, US$1 million would buy you 124sq m of luxury floor space in the Gold Coast, while in Melbourne it could buy about 88sq m and a paltry 44sq m in Sydney.

Prime residential performance, third quarter 2021

Region Capital Growth YoY Sales Volume YoY Gross rental yield
Sydney 10.7% 119% 2.07%
Melbourne 6.5% 85% 2.69%
Brisbane 8.4% 135% 2.41%
Perth 10.4% 120% 1.78%
Gold Coast 10.5% 156% 3.48%

^Source: Knight Frank Australian Prime Residential Review

Sherpa Property Group chief executive Christie Leet told The Urban Developer late last year that beachfront prices at nearly $20,000 per square metre were “towards the top end, well and truly”.

“There’s a fair argument that we might have hit a peak,” Leet said.

“But there’s still plenty of people out there buying tower sites that are going to take three or four years to develop.”

Towards the end of 2021 there were more than 50 residential projects with an estimated investment value of $4.8 billion under construction on the Gold Coast.

Nationally, the third quarter of 2021 was the second highest on record for prime sales, recording 1971 properties sold, while the volume of prime sales was up 119 per cent across the year ending September 2021.

Knight Frank forecast prime prices would increase 11 per cent across 2021, and a further 8 per cent in 2022.

Luxury rental prices on the Gold Coast have risen 10 per cent with yields the strongest in the Australian prime residential market at 3.48 per cent.

The pace of development of prime apartments and townhouses across Australia has slowed. About 26,700 new high-end apartments and townhouses were built in 2020, while the pipeline was 42 per cent less for 2021 with just 15,500 under construction.

Almost half of these new apartments are for the Melbourne market (7450), while Sydney and the Gold Coast were slated for more than 2000 properties each.

Globally the strongest prime residential capital growth was recorded in Miami, followed by Seoul, Shanghai, Moscow and Toronto.

Sydney was ranked 14th, followed by the Gold Coast (15th) and Perth (16th). Brisbane was at 21, while Melbourne came in with a middling performance at 24.


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How home loan mortgages rose in 2021 to record levels

home loan

Lender records were broken in every state and territory except WA, according to the ABS data

Purchases by NSW owner occupiers came with mortgages sat at around $770,000, according to the latest lending data.

The national average mortgage size for owner-occupiers has reached a record high of $595,568 according to ABS data.

Records were broken in every state and territory except WA.

The national mortgage was up $92,404, an 18% hike over the year.

The November ABS Lending Indicators, released 14 January, advised the loans were for the purchase of new and existing dwellings.

The national average mortgage size for owner-occupiers has reached a record high of $595,568 according to new ABS data out today.

Records were broken in every state and territory except WA, according to the ABS data in original terms.

Victorian home buyers saw the biggest jump in their mortgages, up 24% or $120,000 to $618,602.

Average new owner-occupier mortgage size, November 2021

Amount Year-on-year change
$595,568 $92,404 18.4%
$769,459 $125,112 19.4%
$618,602 $120,032 24.1%
$513,649 $73,604 16.7%
$439,578 $22,868 5.5%
$421,801 $38,016 9.9%
$585,859 $58,434 11.1%
$445,915 $73,175 19.6%
$433,333 $53,271 14%

“Demand for Aussie housing remains firm, but affordability has decreased because home prices have surged more than wages,” Ryan Felsman, senior economist at CommSec noted.

“In November housing stock was high and the country’s two largest states were freshly out of lockdown, so it’s no surprise to see a rise in new lending,” research director, Sally Tindall, said.

“Growth in property prices is starting to slow on the back of fixed rate rises and a crackdown by the regulator, but the opening up of borders this year will increase demand, keeping prices moving north,” she forecast.

The data did not include refinancing, nor renovation loans.

Renovation loans surged by 18 per cent in November to a record $569 million. The value of lending for renovations is up by a massive 115 per cent on a year ago.

Canstar analysis showed Australian mortgage holders refinanced $15.72 billion worth of loans to a new lender in November 2021, down 2.3% from October.


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