Brisbane property defying national slump

Brisbane’s property market is “as safe as houses” according the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ). Contrary to reports country-wide, REIQ chief executive Antonia Mercorella is saying that the state’s capital was on track to be one of the best-performing property markets in the country over the next few years, despite the uncertainty created by the health crisis.

Ms Mercorella said the Brisbane market has managed to remain stable, despite the trading restrictions during lockdown, because real estate has continued to transact on the back of the Federal Government’s economic reforms.

“During the GFC, prices strengthened over the medium-term in many locations, courtesy of economic stimulus as well as low interest rates. Likewise, after the last recession and subsequent natural disasters, prices continued to firm over time — even with high unemployment. The illiquid nature of property as well as the proclivity for property owners and investors to hold for the long-term means this asset class can withstand short-term financial upheavals better than most, which is likely to be the situation after the pandemic. There is a reason why the adage ‘as safe as houses’ has been around for so long.”

Ms Mercorella said Brisbane’s housing market continued to show underlying strength in the first three months of 2020.

“With marginal growth month-to-month, backed by a quarterly median rise of 0.6 per cent, it’s in line with the national trend for positive property price growth since June last year for the period,” she said.

“Liveability, affordability and future economic prospects, all suggest that Queensland’s capital still remains a market where you can confidently buy.”

REIQ Brisbane eastern zone chair Julie Harris agreed the predicted price falls as a result of the pandemic had not eventuated.

“All the properties we’ve sold since this crisis started have been at ticket-price or better,” Ms Harris said. “We have not discounted one of them. We had a number of listings scheduled to happen that didn’t. A number of vendors held back, but I have to say in general terms, the market has stayed consistent.”

Ms Harris said the unit sector had also performed well.

“From September through to December 2019, we had a good jump in activity,” she said. “Units started to move and prices started to creep up. Unfortunately, come March, property activity stopped … but even the units we’ve put on the market during lockdown have sold at higher than ticket price.”

The median house price for the Brisbane local government area rose 1.5% in the year to the end of March to $690,000, while unit prices rose 1.2% annually to a median of $420,000, according to the latest REIQ report.

Twelve suburbs outperformed the overall market, achieving double-digit house-price growth over the 12 month period. Fig Tree Pocket was a standout — the median house price in the western suburb jumped 36%, followed by Milton at 34.6%, Windsor with 24.5% and Seven Hills with a 22% increase. The median unit price in Bulimba rose 22%, followed by more than 17% in Murrarie, 16% in Enoggera and 15% in Morningside.

Across greater Brisbane, the Moreton Bay house market is steadily rising, Ipswich is starting to recover and Redland and Logan remain in the softening phase, according to the REIQ. Over the year to March 31, Logan’s median house price fell 1.3% to $395,000, the Moreton Bay median house price slipped 0.3% to $447,750, Redland declined 1.5% to $525,000 and Ipswich stayed steady at $350,000.

But there were some standout suburbs.

Samford Valley recorded the highest growth in median house price in the year to the end of March at almost 19%, while Newport and Thornlands made price gains of about 15%.

The unit markets across all regions are in the falling price phase, but Margate still managed to record a 9.9% rise in its median price.

REIQ Ipswich zone chair Glen Ball said the region’s housing affordability made it appealing even during a downturn.

“Everything that we’re listing is getting a lot of interest and, in some cases, we’re getting multiple offers,” Mr Ball said. “More listings are now starting to come back on, we’re getting back to normality, and to me, it’s just like before (the shutdown).”

Buyers and investors alike should be keeping their eyes out for great deals in the suburbs mentioned above. They should also be looking at the areas surrounding these suburbs, as price growth in one area is generally linked to price growth in surrounding suburbs in subsequent years.

Written: 24 July 2020, Updated: 28 July 2020

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