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Why are property prices so high?

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It’s been one of the most turbulent years in history across just about every industry and market, yet property markets all around Australia are soaring with no end in sight. It begs the simple question: why?

A +2.8 per cent national surge in March alone—the fastest rate of monthly growth since 1988—capped off a bullish first quarter of 2021 that saw a +5.8 per cent increase in dwelling prices according to CoreLogic’s national home value index.

property prices

Property prices have skyrocketed throughout March 2021. Source: CoreLogic Hedonic Home Value Index 

A few key factors have aligned to create a perfect storm that’s seen prices rise to their highest levels ever in many cities and regions despite the country’s recent recession.

Interest rates remain at a record low

Since November 2020 the Reserve Bank’s cash rate has held at 0.1 per cent, its lowest in history, and RBA governor Philip Lowe’s most recent statement maintains the central bank’s message: it’s here to stay.

With interest rates not forecast to rise until inflation is sustainably in the 2 to 3 per cent range—a target Lowe doesn’t expect Australia to hit until 2024 at the earliest—buyers are scrambling to capitalise on low-cost borrowing.

According to RateCity, the lowest available mortgage rates currently sit comfortably under 2 per cent for both variable rate and fixed rate options up to four years.

With a potential 2024 rate hike in mind, RateCity’s research director Sally Tindall told the ABC that a majority of four and five-year fixed rate home loans are just now beginning to rise, saying “I think that’s a sign that [lenders] are now factoring in cash rate increases and cost of funding increases that are coming down the line.”

It’s possible that mortgage rates have hit their lowest point, pushing buyers to take action now to secure what they believe to be the best deal.

That action is reflected in the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ latest numbers, with owner occupier loan data showing a total of $21.7 billion in new loan commitments for February 2021 alone, up +55.2 per cent from the previous February.

Within that group, first home buyers borrowed +66.8 per cent more than they did in February 2020.

Investors have also been taking advantage, with a +31.6 per cent increase in loan commitments for the same February year-on-year period, totalling nearly $7 billion lent.

There’s low stock on the market

Among the biggest factors driving property prices skyward is a lack of supply.

CoreLogic’s data shows that, over the first four weeks of March, the number of properties listed across the country was a startling -25.5 per cent below the five year average.

The ratio of new listings to sales sits at around 1.1, meaning for every new property that’s listed, 1.1 properties are sold.

While there is a broad sense that, with the market’s heat echoing 2017 boom levels, selling now could mean receiving a high return, uncertainty about having to buy within that same market has presented property owners with a tricky decision.

“Last year, sellers were more inclined to sell before they bought because there was so much uncertainty about prices,” Domain’s senior research analyst Nicola Powell notes.

“If you sell before you purchase, what many may now be finding is that the market is running away from them and gaining in price.”

“In the ideal scenario, your transactions are as close as possible, but that’s not always possible.”

Rather than choosing to buy first and sell after or vice versa, many homeowners have opted to hold out on listing their properties, causing the squeeze on supply.

The more sellers delay putting their property on the market, the more that supply squeeze tightens, creating a compounding effect reflected in April’s Property Seeker report.

Commenting on the report, REA Group’s director of economic research Cameron Kusher explains “Because there has been a low supply of stock for sale, that in itself becomes a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy in that sellers say ‘I won’t sell because there is nothing to purchase’.”

With seller confidence appearing to be on the rise, though, that bottleneck could ease in the near future.

“I get the sense that many people decided simply to not sell in 2020 and now that case numbers are low and there is a bit more certainty this year, they are more comfortable selling,” Kusher said.

“I expect supply to increase for the next few months and ramp up quite a bit during spring this year, assuming we aren’t forced back into lockdowns at some time.”

Buyer demand continues to grow

On the other side of the equation, there’s been a frenzy of buyers making the market extremely competitive.

A number of factors are driving that swell in addition to low interest rates, not least a suite of first home buyer schemes enticing new entrants into the property market across the country.

In addition to first home owner grants and the federal government’s First Home Loan Deposit Scheme, states have introduced a variety of incentives like stamp duty reductions or exemptions and concessions for properties within certain price brackets.

In Victoria, for example, first home buyers are eligible to pay $0 stamp duty on homes worth up to $600,000, with concessions available above that up to $750,000.

Many of these schemes are due to expire in 2021, pushing new market entrants to make a move sooner rather than later and take advantage of the situation.

The residual impacts of government support and travel restrictions throughout the pandemic have also helped many Australians save substantially over the past 12 months.

“Wage subsidies programs like JobKeeper and stimulus packages such as HomeBuilder, as well as the ban on international travel, meant more people were in a position to buy a home despite sweeping job losses,” Kusher said on another recent REA Group Housing Market Indicators report.

“I think people are looking to spend, and one of those ways they can spend is looking for a nicer house.”

With competition within the market so heated, there’s a psychological aspect too: the fear of missing out.

Considering the historic +2.8 per cent upswing in March alone, buyers are scrambling to secure a deal in case they’re left behind.

Michael Yardney of Michael Yardney’s Property Update explains that the frenzy is pumping prices well above vendors’ expectations, saying “some home buyers are so worried the market is going to pass them by that they are compromising their selection criteria just to get into this market.”

Where does this leave sellers?

The pace at which things have been moving has meant sellers are faced with plenty to consider.

Is it best to list now and take advantage of the hot market conditions, or will holding out result in more money later down the line?

For those selling and buying in the same market, the scarcity of listings and increased buyer competition may mean, if it’s feasible, buying before selling may be a preferable option.

While 2020 proved that there are no certainties in life, property market predictions for the year are looking buoyant.

ANZ Research has forecast prices in Australian capital cities to rise by +17 per cent in 2021, with the majority of that rise happening over the first half of the year.

Whatever your situation, your decision should be based on your own personal circumstances and your own local market.

Every market is different, so it’s important to understand how properties like yours are performing by undertaking market research and speaking to local agents.

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Gold Coast

Residents in one of Australia’s fastest-growing cities are forced to sleep in cars as rental crisis bites

The rental situation in one of Australia’s fastest growing cities is so dire that desperate renters are having to sleep in their cars and in caravan parks.

Rental vacancy rates have plummeted below one per cent in most parts of the Gold Coast – down to below half a per cent in many suburbs – including Burleigh, Arundel, Coolangatta, Coomera and Varsity Lakes.

The rental squeeze is being driven by a range of factors, including Covid refugees coming from Melbourne and Sydney and also returning home from overseas.


The Gold Coast’s ‘surf, sun and sand’ reputation can be a trap for people who try to move there without enough money, as one community manager warns ‘don’t come here’ unless you are loaded 


9 Tallon Street, Upper Coomera – 26km from the beach – will cost you $700 a week. 

The Gold Coast has long had steep population growth but if anything it appears to have increased in recent years and the city’s housing is evidently not coping.

Leading demographer Mark McCrindle said recently population projections keep changing and the city reach a population of one million by 2034 – 16 years earlier than previously expected.

The imbalance between available properties and people who want them is so severe that it is creating an accommodation crisis leading to a homelessness problem in the city many Australians falsely romanticise as a dream place to reboot their lives.

Vicky Rose, manager of the Nerang Neighbourhood Centre, told Daily Mail Australia that 80 per cent of her enquiries are about ‘accommodation stress’, with increased homelessness inevitable.


Location, location: 1/30 Bullimah Avenue, Burleigh Heads went on the market yesterday for $750 a week and the agency has already been flooded with enquiries and applications. 

‘We are saying ‘don’t come here’, unless you have a job and plenty of money behind you,’ she said said.

‘People dream of the sun, surf and sand and yes it’s a great holiday destination, but it’s not a great place to live unless you can afford it.

‘The coast of living is up there with Sydney and Melbourne and people mistakenly assume its going to be cheaper.’

She said shonky landlords are making the situation worse by trying to cash in on the red hot market.

‘There’s a marked marked increase in long terms tenants – average joes – seeing their tenancy ended abruptly because they can’t increase the rent as much as they want.

‘So the owner kicks the tenants out saying they want to renovate, they paint one door and put it back on the market for an extra hundred dollar a week.’

Two property managers Daily Mail Australia spoke to both said the rental market was busier than they’d ever seen it, with applications for properties flooding inboxes.

Misty Kelly, of agency The Blue Door had received 50 enquiries and seven applications within two days of listing a four bedroom house with a pool at Upper Coomera, 26km from Main Beach.

‘There’s a huge demand, not enough properties and that creates a lot of pressure,’ she said.

‘People are sounding desperate.’

‘I’ve been an agent for 15 years and this is nothing like I’ve ever seen before.’

Ms Kelly said because there is more demand than supply, she advises young people not to move out of home because ‘prices are inflated’.

‘They need to let those people really in need get a property and not go homeless.’

Aside from people moving from interstates, she’s also seen people coming home from overseas move into their investment properties.

Carmen Kennedy, of Coomera Realty told the Gold Coast Bulletin people are ‘desperate’.


Ashmore Palms Holiday Village has seen a big increase in people moving in after they couldn’t find a rental property on the Gold Coast 

‘They were just so desperate, staying in cars and sleeping at caravan parks. It’s been pretty tough couple of months for people out there,’ she said.

Both Tallebudgera Creek Tourist Park and Ashmore Palms Holiday Village confirmed to the Daily Mail they had seen increases in people booking in because they couldn’t find a home to rent.

‘I’ve never seen it like this before,’ Carly Stanaway of JW Prestige, told Daily Mail Australia.

‘A lot of people are struggling, they are all applying for same property at once,’ she said.

‘They keep putting in applications getting knocked back, even though they have good applications, it’s just because so many people are applying.’

She was holding two open houses within two days of listing a modest brick semi at 30 Bullimah Avenue, Burleigh Heads, where the rent looks Sydney-like at $750 a week.

The suburb’s vacancy rate is just 0.4.


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Brisbane Housing Market Insights: May 2021

BrisbaneBrisbane Housing Market Insights

Brisbane housing market insights for May reveals increased demand for houses and approvals for new units has been underpinned by increasing consumer sentiment and a surge in interstate migration.

This resource, to be updated monthly, will collate and examine the economic levers pushing and pulling Brisbane’s housing market.

Combining market research, rolling indices and expert market opinion, this evolving hub will act as a pulse check for those wanting to take a closer look at the movements across the market.

Brisbane’s typically slow-moving property market has continued to rise as part of a once-in-a-decade boom that experts say could fuel a further 10 per cent rise in house prices in the coming year.

Brisbane house prices have soared to record heights for the seventh consecutive quarter, with tight stock levels and strong demand across all demographics increasing competition.

Investors have also made their way back into the market and competition is heating up.

The latest Corelogic home value index shows Brisbane dwelling prices have risen by 1.7 per cent on a rolling four-week basis.

Brisbane house prices advanced a further 1.8 per cent during April, pushing it up 6.2 per cent for the recent quarter and 9.6 per cent for the year to date.

The current median value for dwellings is $558,295 which is $10,000 higher than just a month ago.


Type Month Quarter Annual Median
All 1.7%▼ 5.6%▲ 8.3%▲ $558,295▲
Houses 1.8%▼ 6.2%▲ 9.6%▲ $621,806▲
Units 1.0%▶ 3.0%▲ 2.4%▲ $405,902▲

^Source: Corelogic Hedonic Home Value Index – April

The resurgence of buyer interest in the Brisbane property market has meant that auction clearance rates have consistently been in the 70 per cent range.

Clearance rates across April notably higher for houses compared to apartments, reflecting broader trends.

Hot spots included Brisbane’s inner city, inner east, inner west and the inner north – where house prices skyrocketed by 13 per cent over the past year to $1.2 million, 13.2 per cent to $1.053 million, 10.4 per cent to $1.17 million and 13.1 per cent to $1.1 million.

Brisbane auction clearance rates

Week Clearance rate Total Auctions
Week ending 11 April 2021 80.9% 123
Week ending 18 April 2021 72.7% 104
Week ending 25 April 2021 76.2% 105
Week ending 2 May 2021 76.0% 104

^Source: Corelogic Auction Clearance Rates – April

Brisbane is experiencing one of the tightest rental markets in a decade on the back of high demand coupled with extremely low supply.

Across April, Brisbane’s rental markets are experienced a tightening of supply, with vacancy rates currently sitting at 1.8 per cent.

Rental returns and yields have significantly increased in Brisbane, with rents soaring from 5 per cent to 15 per cent.

Gross rental yields sit at 4 per cent for houses and 5.2 per cent for units—much higher than other capital cities such as Sydney and Melbourne.

Some of the tightest vacancies across the capital’s suburbs include Anstead (0.5 per cent), Birkdale (0.3 per cent), Capalaba (0.2 per cent), Ferny Hill (0.3 per cent), Gumdale (0.4 per cent), Manly West (0.5 per cent), Rothwell (0.2 per cent), Sandgate (0.5 per cent), Shailer Park (0.4 per cent), Thornside (0.3 per cent) and Wakerley (0.4 per cent).

Brisbane residential rental vacancy rate


City April 2021 vacancy rate Monthly % change
Brisbane 1.4%▼ 0.1%▼

^Source: SQM Research – April

Rental stock on market

City April 2021 vacancies Vacancy net loss
Brisbane 4780▼ 627▼

^Source: SQM Research – April

Brisbane rent prices

Type Rent Monthly % change Annual % change
Houses $489.10▲ 0.5%▲ 6.8%▲
Units $386.60▲ 0.5%▼ 2.8%▲

^Source: SQM Research – April

Brisbane’s housing market has remained particularly unaltered by the closure of international borders, where historically high demand from overseas migrants has been disrupted.

Tight stock levels and strong demand across all demographics have made it incredibly difficult not only to find a property to buy but to also secure something at a reasonable price.

Loan data shows investors have started coming back into a housing market they had largely vacated and the boom is being driven overwhelmingly by established owner occupiers.

Another big part of the demographic buyer base helping drive demand in Brisbane has been first homebuyers.

Brisbane’s proportion of home loans that remained on deferral at the end of March was just 0.7 per cent, indicating a very very low likelihood of distressed selling.

The seasonally adjusted estimate for total dwelling units approved in Queensland in March was 4547, 12.1 per cent up on February’s figures.

Queensland building approvals

^Australian Bureau of Statistics, (Suspension of trend series between May 2020 and Jul 2020 due to Covid-19)

Dwelling Approved Monthly % change
Houses 2792▲ -4.0%▼
Units 4547▲ 12.1%▲

Queensland home loan lending indicators


Region First home buyer loan commitments First home buyer ratio – dwellings First home buyer ratio – housing
Queensland 3437▲ 36.6%▼ 32.3%▼

^Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics – March

Region September (quarter) 2020 arrivals September (quarter) 2020 departures September 2020 quarter net
Queensland 22,317▼ 15,080▼ 7,237▲

^Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics – September quarter 2020

Brisbane’s housing market: policy updates

Australia’s central bank will maintain low interest rates to support the country’s ongoing economic recovery and surging housing market, buoyed by its busiest Easter auction market on record.

Strong tailwinds will bolster the Australian economy through the second half of the year, but macro-prudential measures are likely to be introduced to ease house price pressures in 2022.

Queensland faces a “hard road” during the next four years as the state recovers from the coronavirus pandemic, Treasurer Cameron Dick says.

Brisbane housing market forecasts

ANZ economists forecast Brisbane house prices will rise by 9.5 per cent next year, as low interest rates and government stimulus flow through the economy while Commonwealth Bank updated its forecasts, projecting a strong rebound in prices across the second half of 2021.

CBA now expects Brisbane house prices to increase by 16.6 per cent to December 2022 compared to 13.7 per cent in Sydney and 12.4 per cent in Melbourne.

Westpac has also updated its property forecasts, with Brisbane real estate prices tipped to surge 20 per cent between 2022 and 2023.



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Gold Coast

Gold Coast apartment development insights: What happened on the GC in April?

Gold Coast apartment

Urban have wrapped up all the moves across the Gold Coast in April

The Gold Coast apartment market is one of the most active in Australia, as much for developers as it has been for buyers.

From planning documents to approvals and sales successes, Urban have wrapped up all the moves across the Gold Coast in April.

FORME lodge plans for luxury Burleigh Heads development

The latest news came from developer FORME, who lodged plans for a second Koichi Takada-designed boutique residential complex in Burleigh Heads at the end of April.

Gold Coast apartment

96 The Esplanade, Burleigh Heads QLD 4220

The 17-level tower of just 30 apartments on the sought after The Esplanade is high-end luxury, with interiors being handled by MIM Design.

Cala Dei sales launched

Having sold out of all of their stock across their whole portfolio, the South East Queensland developer Spyre Group officially launched sales at Cala Dei in Coolangatta.

Gold Coast apartment

Cala Dei, which will replace the Komune Resort on Marine Parade, will comprise 31 apartments across its 12 levels designed by bureau^proberts. It will sit in landscaping by CUSP.

The Lacey Group secure approval for The Monroe at Palm Beach

The Gold Coast-based developer Lacey Group have been given the green light by the City of Gold Coast for its $32 million Palm Beach development The Monroe.

The project of 33 apartments and a beach house on the exclusive Jefferson Lane has been designed by Plus Architecture and is located adjacent to the Palm Beach Surf Club.

Gold Coast apartment

Lacey Group know the area well, having had success on the same street where they sold out The Jefferson, the $32 million development of 46 apartments.

88 Burleigh sells half its apartments

Allure Property Corporation have secured the sales of over half of their apartments in their boutique apartment development 88 Burleigh within just four weeks of the project launch.

Gold Coast apartment

88 BurleighThe Esplanade, Burleigh Heads QLD 4220

Local and interstate downsizers with an existing connection to Burleigh Heads have been the drivers in the $55 million worth of sales, with the average price point around $2.65 million.

Place Projects agent Bruce Goddard said there were 360 inquiries within the first two weeks of its launch.

Cru Collective secure Kirra Beach site

The Gold Coast developer Cru Collective is jumping on the hype that has been surrounding Kirra Beach in recent years.

Cru, who sold out their $40 million Siarn Palm Beach development in September last year, have acquired a prime 635 sqm corner site at 2 Musgrave Street, on the corner of Musgrave and Winston Street.

Devine Development Group lodge plans for Alba Residences

The longstanding Queenslander developer Devine Development Group have lodged plans for a $105 million apartment project Alba Residences at North Burleigh.

Gold Coast apartment

Set on the dress circle Esplanade facing the beach, the 21 level tower designed by bureau^proberts will comprise half and full floor residences catering for the top end of the market, with prices starting from $2.25 million.


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