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Where have all the Queenslanders gone? The iconic home in danger of dying out in the southeast

THE quintessential Queenslander is in danger of becoming extinct as buyers battling rising building costs opt for low-maintenance versions of the real thing.

THE iconic Queenslander home is in danger of becoming extinct as buyers battling rising building costs opt for lower-maintenance versions of the real thing.

While our love affair with the traditional style of home is still strong, the state’s namesake is slowly being replaced by replicas of the original.

Housing history researcher Magnus Eriksson, who tracks the histories of houses across southeast Queensland, said quintessential Queenslanders were a dying breed.

“If WWF (World Wildlife Fund) was doing a survey, they’d probably put it on the most threatened list,” Mr Eriksson told The Sunday Mail.

“I would certainly say they’re disappearing and not being replaced.”

Mr Eriksson said true Queenslander homes were characterised as having a lightweight timber construction, a corrugated metal roof and a highset frame.

The original style was developed around the 1800s and began to change in the 1930s.

“That highset style started disappearing and more of a modern style came in,” he said.

“There are a few replicas going up, but there’s not too many of them.

“Only a few are built in the true form.

“The new ones may look the same but they’re not the same as a handmade original Queenslander.”

Australian Institute of Architects’ Queensland executive director Melissa Greenall said the industry had noticed a decline in demand for the Queenslander as a preferred newbuild style.

“Modern families are exhibiting a preference for more modern styles, brick built with modern conveniences such as open plan living, ducted airconditioning and internal entertainment spaces such as media rooms,” she said.

“Sadly, it appears that the Queenslander is losing its popularity in Queensland.”

With the cost of building in the state climbing at the fastest rate in Australia, building, renovating and maintaining an original Queenslander home has also become more expensive.

Economist Michael Matusik recently published research which showed construction costs have risen by five per cent over the past year alone — the highest rise of anywhere in the country.

But buyers are prepared to pay a premium for a good quality replica with all the charm of an original, but without the upkeep.

A newly built Queenslander in Kedron recently broke the sale price record for the suburb after selling for $1.65 million under the hammer.

The auction of the five-bedroom home with a pool at 59 Thirteenth Avenue attracted a huge crowd and 14 registered bidders.

This newbuild Queenslander at 59 Thirteenth Ave, Kedron, sold for $1.65m. Source: Supplied

This newbuild Queenslander at 59 Thirteenth Ave, Kedron, sold for $1.65m. Source: Supplied

Selling agent Matthew Jabs of Place Newmarket said about 70 per cent of clients he dealt with were looking for a traditional Queenslander style home compared to a modern style, but it often depended on the location.

Matthew Jabs of Place at the auction of 59 Thirteenth Ave, Kedron. Photo: AAP/Ric Frearson.Source:News Corp Australia

Matthew Jabs of Place at the auction of 59 Thirteenth Ave, Kedron. Photo: AAP/Ric Frearson.Source:News Corp Australia

He said the quality of the build and finishes was a key factor and not all replicas were of the same standard.

“The proper, traditional ones are harder to build because they require more technique and craftsmanship,” Mr Jabs said.

“They also cost more to build so a lot of builders won’t do it.”

This newbuild Queenslander at 59 Thirteenth Ave, Kedron, attracted a big crowd at auction. Photo: AAP/Ric Frearson.Source: News Corp Australia

This newbuild Queenslander at 59 Thirteenth Ave, Kedron, attracted a big crowd at auction. Photo: AAP/Ric Frearson.Source: News Corp Australia

The former owners of the Kedron property, Belinda and Trent Ramke, of Ramear Investments, specialise in building high quality replicas of Queenslander homes.

Mrs Ramke said she found people were prepared to pay more for a high quality replica of a traditional style Queenslander than a contemporary style newbuild.

“The traditional houses are a bit more expensive to build because you’re putting more into them,” she said.

“There’s a lot of extra money in the carpentry.”

But she said the cost of a high quality Queenslander renovation could often be more expensive than a newbuild.

“That’s what we’ve found in our research,” she said.

And there are no “hidden surprises” in a newbuild.

“With a renovation, there could be anything behind those walls.”

Samantha and Malcolm Hall, with their son Max, outside their recently sold replica Queenslander in Hawthorne. Photo: Lachie Millard.Source: News Limited

Samantha and Malcolm Hall, with their son Max, outside their recently sold replica Queenslander in Hawthorne. Photo: Lachie Millard.Source: News Limited

Samantha and Malcolm Hall have just sold their replica Queenslander at 10 Lindsay St, Hawthorne for $1.164 million.

“I lived in actual Queenslanders through my university years and they look so lovely from the outside, but when you actually live in them, they’re draughty and hard to clean,” she said.

“A newbuild replica doesn’t have all those issues. It still has the character feel, but without the hassle.”

This replica Queenslander at 10 Lindsay St, Hawthorne, has just sold. Picture:

This replica Queenslander at 10 Lindsay St, Hawthorne, has just sold. Picture:

Selling agent Gunther Behrendt of Ray White Bulimba said traditional Queenslander home styles were still sought-after.

“If they capture the character correctly in a replica, they’re definitely in higher demand,” he said.

“They’re a better built home and a lot of people like the lower maintenance of a replica.”

The original Queenslanders that do still exist are in high demand, as proven earlier this month when a Federation Queenslander built in 1912 fetched $4 million at auction.

The historic three-bedroom home at 77 Mowbray Tce, East Brisbane, attracted 30 registered bidders.



*Timber frame

*Corrugated iron roof

*Raised up from the ground

*Internal walls made from VJ boards

*External walls clad in weatherboards

*Timber framed windows

This original Queenslander at 77 Mowbray Tce, East Brisbane, sold for $4m.Source: Supplied

This original Queenslander at 77 Mowbray Tce, East Brisbane, sold for $4m.Source: Supplied

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Bid to Open Up Student Accommodation to Workers

Student Accommodation

Scape Australia plans to open up its student accommodation to essential workers and interstate travellers as it waits for international students to return to the country.

The group applied for a temporary change of use for its Atria South Brisbane property until the end of February 2023, providing accommodation for non-students in the 88 Ernest Street building.

This will “allow the applicant to effectively manage the impact Covid-19 has had on their Brisbane assets [six buildings in total]” according to the application.

“Prior to Covid-19 [December 2019], building occupancy in Brisbane was at 75 per cent currently the assets have an occupancy rate of 28 per cent as Scape’s primary market is international students,” the report stated.

“The proposed ‘other change’ will allow Scape to use the vacancies in its buildings to offer the Brisbane housing market an alternative to typical renting models [share houses and the like].

“Scape are hoping to host like-minded occupants within the building who are not students.

“Examples include interstate travellers who do not want to sign a six- or 12-month lease elsewhere but need to remain in Brisbane for three-plus months or hospital workers who are assisting in the nearby Mater with the Covid-19 response.”

This is the second time Scape has tried to change the use of the building—that proposal was rejected by the council in August last year due to parking and transport issues.

Overseas arrival numbers remain at record lows, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which recorded a 99.1 per cent drop in visitor arrivals in February compared to the same period last year.

Student Accommodation

▲ Scape have multiple properties in Brisbane and more than 18,000 beds across the globe in development or operation. 

To shape a recovery for the industry, federal education minister Alan Tudge announced a 10-year, whole-of-sector international education.

In 2019 there were 750,000 international students studying in Australia, accounting for a third of university enrolments.

“In 2019, we started the year with around 480,000 continuing international students, while another 150,000 entered Australia to study in the first half of the year, and a further 130,000 in the second half,” Tudge said.

“Closing the borders, of course, had a significant disruption on the international student sector.

“That normal pattern was not possible last year. While some started online, many also deferred their studies, preferring to wait until travel is again possible.”

Despite a lack of international students in 2020, Scape continued to expand its Australian portfolio, purchasing 252 serviced apartments in the Aurora Melbourne Central building for $125 million in November.

The group also lodged plans for four student towers on each corner of an intersection in Kensington and Kingsford near the University of New South Wales.


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The cost of renting in Brisbane reaches record levels, outstrips Melbourne prices

For the first time in years, it now costs more to rent a home in Brisbane than Melbourne, with mass migration and a near two-decade low vacancy rate shooting median asking prices to record heights.

Amid tales of tenant bidding wars and rejected applicants reduced to tears, the latest Domain Rent Report, released Thursday, revealed the average weekly asking price for a house in the Queensland capital soared by almost 8 per cent to an unprecedented $440 per week over the past 12 months – and by 3.5 per cent over the past quarter alone.

The price hike means the average Brisbane tenant is now paying $10 more a week than their Melbourne counterpart for a house, and $25 more a week for a unit after prices for the latter rose by a slightly more modest 3.9 per cent over the year to a record-breaking $400 per week.

Domain senior research analyst Nicola Powell said the report marked a sharp turnaround for the city, with houses, in particular, marking the steepest annual increase in rent prices since 2008 following three strong consecutive quarters of rent gains.

“Melbourne house rents have been higher than Brisbane’s since about 2016 so what we’ve really seen in Brisbane since mid-2020 is an acceleration in asking rents and this really goes against what was happening in the lead up [to the pandemic],” Dr Powell said.

“They had relatively flatlined since 2013.”

Dr Powell said while Queensland had always been a hot destination for interstate migrants, the pandemic and the possibility of remote working had fuelled the trend with the annual number of Australians moving to the state hitting its highest level since 2006.

“Tenants will find less choice, with the pool of available rentals shrinking by one-third compared to last year, pushing Brisbane’s vacancy rate to a multi-year low,” she said.

“House and unit rents held steady or increased in all regions across Greater Brisbane over the March quarter, apart from unit rents in Ipswich sliding a mere $5 a week. Annually, the biggest jump in asking rent was recorded for houses in Brisbane’s north and Moreton Bay North, the steepest annual increase since 2008, up 6.8 per cent and 6.7 per cent annually.”

While rent prices indeed soared across most parts of the city it was the capital’s family-friendly pockets in the middle and even outer rings that shone brightest, with houses in Bald Hills and Everton Park enjoying the biggest annual price rise after surging 10.6 per cent to $520 per week.

Hot on their heels were Kenmore, Brookfield and Moggill, where median asking prices for houses shot up by 8.2 per cent over the same period to an unprecedented $595 per week – a rental price equal only to houses in the inner-city west region.

It’s a rare rental boom that Aurora Realty Brisbane leasing manager Abi Harrington said was reaching eye-watering levels – with their agency currently managing 100,000 tenants actively seeking a home.

“We’ve gone from houses taking three weeks to rent out, to three days and even down to three hours [in the past quarter],” Ms Harrington said.

“You wouldn’t believe the gifts I have received (from desperate tenants) from gin, to flowers to cheesecake and even a bottle of champagne.

“We used to have the policy that a tenant mustn’t apply before they’ve seen the property but now we say apply first if you like the photos … and if you get approved we’ll arrange a private inspection after [because rentals are being snapped up so quickly].”

As for the soaring rents in Everton Park and Bald Hills, Ms Harrington put the increase down to tenants being simply priced out of Brisbane’s more expensive inner pockets, with houses in quiet suburbs boasting a good school catchment the number one lure.

“I’ve just listed a property in Everton Park … and in less than 24 hours I have five inspections booked in … but sometimes we get up to 15 people in the first few hours,” she said.

“This is the height of it and it’s absolute chaos. On average tenants are offering $20 to $30 dollars over the asking price but some people are surpassing that. People from Sydney and Melbourne are cashed up and headed this way because buying a house is far cheaper here and Queensland is the obvious choice as the office doesn’t exist anymore.”

Ms Harrington said soaring interstate migration was a major contributor to rising rent prices, with some southern home hunters willing to fork out $90 per week more in a move that was causing much anxiety among Brisbane residents.

cost of renting in Brisbane

Properties for rent in suburbs like Chapel Hill and Kenmore are sparking bidding wars.

“Locals feel like they’re being pushed out … and I see this getting worse. And it’s not fair on locals living here struggling to meet that price range … and we don’t encourage [bidding wars] because we’re trying to manage expectations,” she said.

Ray White Metro West property manager Stephanie Budrodeen said with rental wars now a common occurrence in hot spots such as Chapel Hill and Kenmore, median prices, in reality, had soared beyond eight per cent to as high as 30, creating a scene more akin to an auction, with the charge being led by Melbourne families particularly desperate to bag a house in a top school catchment.

She said the pandemonium was further fuelled by the “nuts” sales market with some tenants pushed out by owners desperate to sell in a booming market, while others were forced to rent purely because there was nothing to buy.

“Two weeks ago, we just had one property [a two-bedroom unit] left on our rental roll … and that’s never happened before. But the downfall to all of this is owners think their properties are worth more than they are and this is going to make problems for the future when prices are no longer inflated,” Ms Budrodeen said.

“Tenants are in panic mode right now … and in my opinion this a ripple effect from the housing market.”


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[+] Developer Ramps Up Hunt for Springfield CBD Investment Partner

Springfield CBD

Introducing The Urban Developer Plus (TUD+),
our premium membership for property professionals.

In this TUD+ Briefing, Springfield City Group’s Bob Sharpless discusses its global search for a partner to help deliver its $15-billion Knowledge Precinct that will complete the Springfield CBD.

The group has now put out a tender for a development partner to help deliver a new 120ha precinct, approved for more than 1.2-million sq m of commercial space and more than 5000 apartments.

This TUD+ Briefing covers:

—the mixed-use development opportunity for the partner

—education, health and technology uses across the site

—preferred partnership models and developer credentials

—the appointment of Moelis Australia to lead the search

—the impacts of Covid-19 on the global tender

—the timeline and projected announcement date.


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