Houses are now cheaper than units in Bundaberg

Crystal Jones

IT IS now cheaper to buy a house in Bundaberg than a unit.

The "rare and unusual" event was revealed by the REIQ in their latest quarterly state of the market report.

The good news for home buyers is that Bundaberg is the cheapest, out of the largest LGAs (Local Government Areas), place to buy a house in the state.

The Bundaberg quarterly median house price has fallen 5.5% this quarter to $260,000.

The softening in value means it is now more expensive to buy an apartment in Bundaberg, where the median quarterly price is $287,000, than it is to buy a house.

Most other Queensland markets also saw decreases in the median house price.

A lengthy federal election campaign and extensive uncertainty around the negative gearing debate were cited as reasons for the decline in most markets.

REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said it had been a challenging quarter for the Queensland property market and the Bundaberg figures were abnormal.

"This is really unusual and it's a little bit of a quirk of the market - we haven't seen this in more than 20 years," Ms Mercorella said.


Crystal Jones

"It's also a reflection of the buyers, who are largely pre-retirees and southern investors buying low-maintenance units that are easy to look after and very liveable.

"There is also a mix of young first-home buyer couples who are buying an affordable first rung on the property ladder.

"We know from our agents that listings volumes were down and the whole market really just hit pause while they waited for a result in the election, which would also give certainty around negative gearing for investors.

Scott Mackey from Remax Precision in Bundaberg said he didn't think we would ever see the houses cheaper than units again.

"It is surprising the way the data has fallen," Mr Mackey said.

"It's a bit of anomaly I don't believe it will continue."

The real estate agent said he thought Bundaberg was at the bottom of the market with investors starting to see the potential in the region.

"We are seeing increased investor enquiry," Mr Mackey said.

"Interest rates to borrow money are low but it's even lower for cash in the bank.

"Why would you keep your cash in the bank when you can put it into a good value home and get a good rental return with a strong possibility of the price going up."

He said investor interest coupled with the construction activity at the port and around Bundaberg would see prices start to firm.


Crystal Jones


Median house price up in Brisbane in a quarter of surprises

The property market in the southeast corner of Queensland returned to positive territory this quarter, following last quarter's contraction, and the Brisbane LGA median house price has grown 1.3 per cent to a new high of $635,000, the highest this has been in history.

Brisbane's unit market fell just a fraction, 0.2 per cent, to $440,000 for the quarter. However, the annual median sale price grew 0.3 per cent compared with June 2015, to $441,300, and this is 7.6 per cent greater than five years ago.

The Gold Coast powered to a new median house sale price of $580,156, representing quarterly growth of 3.6 per cent. The annual median sale price, of $560,000 is 6.7 per cent higher than 12 months ago and 14.9 per cent higher than five years ago, establishing the Gold Coast as one of the best performers in the state.

The Gold Coast unit market also landed in positive territory, with a quarterly price of $390,000, which is 1.6 per cent higher than last quarter. The annual median unit price is $380,000, which is 3.3 per cent higher than 12 months ago and 2.7 per cent higher than five years ago, when it was $370,000.

The Toowoomba median house price fell 2.3 per cent this quarter, to $343,000, however, the annual median price held steady, recording a 0.1 per cent growth and the market is still 17.5 per cent higher than five years ago.

It's a similar story in the city of flowers' unit market. While the quarterly price fell by 2.7 per cent -- to $301,500, the annual median of $310,000 is 3.7 per cent higher than 12 months ago and a whopping 26.8 per cent higher than five years ago, indicating that the market has likely satisfied some pent-up demand and the market is now levelling off.

The Sunshine Coast median house market added one per cent value to the quarterly price, to arrive at a June median of $525,000. The annual median sale price of $515,000 is 4.7 per cent higher than this time last year and 13.2 per cent higher than five years ago.

The unit market for the Sunshine Coast LGA has softened slightly, to $365,000, but the annual median price of $370,000 remains 5.7 per cent higher than five years ago, when it was $350,000.

The Gladstone market fell 6.7 per cent this quarter, the second-largest quarterly fall in the state -out of the largest LGAs-, behind only Mackay, which fell 6.9 per cent. With a median house price of $331,250, the Gladstone market is now one of the most affordable in Queensland.

Gladstone's unit market stalled in the June quarter, and with just 18 transactions no meaningful trends could be identified. The annual median unit price remains $280,000 which is 1.8 per cent above 12 months ago and 29.4 per cent below five years ago.

Rockhampton's median house price fell 3.7 per cent this quarter, to $260,000, the lowest in the state and with only 16 unit transactions this quarter, no trends could be identified. The annual median unit price is $299,000, which is 17.2 per cent below last year, but 7.7 per cent above five years ago.

Mackay has experienced some of the greatest medium-term market falls in the state, with three of its suburbs - North Mackay, Blacks Beach and South Mackay - all around 30 per cent below the five-year waterline. The Mackay LGA median house price of $316,500 is 6.9 per cent lower than the March quarter. Mackay's unit market fell 2.1 per cent from 26 transactions, to $235,000.

Townsville revealed a surprise bump in median house price growth this quarter, reflecting the anecdotal evidence from many agents who say it has been a busy quarter. The median house price grew 2.9 per cent to $339,685 and it is a hoped-for sign that the market is stabilising, preparing for a busy spring season.

Townsville's unit market recorded 106 transactions for a quarterly median of $280,000, just 1.8 per cent below last quarter. The annual median of $285,000 is 0.2 per cent greater than 12 months ago and 10.9 per cent below five years ago.

The Cairns market did not report strong quarterly growth, with its median of $390,000 exactly the same as last quarter, however, the REIQ is confident it will return to stronger growth trends in coming quarters. The annual median house price of $400,000 is 2.6 per cent higher than this time last year and 10.5 per cent higher than five years ago. The Cairns market is classed as a rising market both for houses and units (see graphs on page 5 of the accompanying Queensland Market Monitor, June edition).

"The Queensland residential property market has improved this quarter, broadly speaking, and while we continue our efforts to do everything we can to help those markets operating in challenging conditions, it is encouraging to see solid growth being recorded in other parts of the state," Ms Mercorella said.

Markert report

DON'T miss our bonus real estate market report inside tomorrow's paper for the latest property trends impacting the region.

Our quarterly suburbs guide will reveal the price movements for your suburb and growth areas for the June quarter.

Get an overview from the real estate experts on how the region's housing market is performing as well as the state of play across Queensland.

The guide will also take you to an interactive property prices tool at for a closer look at the latest figures.

It's all in our bonus property market report, only in tomorrow's

Median house price

Bundaberg -5.5%

Brisbane -1.3%

Gold Coast +3.6%

Toowoomba -2.3%

Sunshine Coast +1%

Gladstone -6.7%

Rockhampton -3.7

Mackay -6.9%

Topics:  property, real estate

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