The Christmas period from mid-December to the end of January is normally quiet for property markets with much of the country in holiday mode. Stock tends to be low as sellers wait until later in the year to list. Buyers tend to wait for more stock. There are few auctions, with auctions normally suspended during the period. However, South-East Queensland’s property markets across Greater Brisbane, Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast are bucking this trend, with strong demand from buyers, record auction clearance rates, record highs for online property searches and some properties selling before they even hit the market.
The one thing that hasn’t changed is that sellers are continuing to hold off on listing properties, with SQM Research reporting that stock was at record low levels across South-East Queensland in December. The total number of listings 6.1 per cent lower across Great Brisbane than 12 months previously, while stock on the Sunshine Coast was 25.7 per cent lower and stock on the Gold Coast was 10.9 per cent lower.
Number of Listings
Source: SQM Research
Real estate listing portal realestate.com.au reported that searches for properties across South-East Queensland during the third week of January jumped 41 per cent compared to the same time last year. The combination of record-low listings and record-high property searches are combining to ensure that there is very strong competition among buyers for properties. One central Brisbane agent reported that the market is the tightest they have seen in terms of stock for 25 years. This has resulted in long lines of interested parties viewing open homes and sellers receiving multiple offers as soon as they are listed. Real estate agents are reporting that some properties are selling even before they are listed.
The biggest auction event in the country is held each January on the Gold Coast. The Gold Coast traditionally has a stronger market than other parts of Australia during January. This year, a total of 90 properties were auctioned, with the event achieving a record clearance rate of 79 per cent. A further 15 properties were sold prior to auction. The properties sold spanned from entry-level apartments to waterfront mansions and hinterland homes. The result saw around $40 million in property sold in a further indication of the strength of the property market in South-East Queensland. Local agents report strong interest with COVID-19 triggering additional demand for property in lifestyle markets such as the Gold Coast.
Median property values have risen on the back of the strong demand from buyers. Brisbane recorded a new record median house value of $576,338 in December 2020. The Gold Coast recorded a median house value of $682,146 in October 2020, up by 7.2 per cent, while median house values in the Sunshine Coast reached $681,367, a 12-month increase of 8.1 per cent.
Some suburbs across the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast have recorded median price hikes of up to 25 per cent. The hottest suburb on the Gold Coast was Surfers Paradise, which saw median house values jump by 22.29 per cent to $1.6 million. On the Sunshine Coast, it was Sunshine Beach which saw the biggest increase, with house prices jumping by a massive 47.06 per cent to $2 million, more than double the prices of five years ago.
The Greater Brisbane region, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast are beneficiaries of strong inter-state migration from the southern states, with buyers attracted by SEQ’s lifestyle and relatively affordable properties in comparison to Sydney and Melbourne. The region is also attracting strong interest from investors willing to buy properties sight unseen. One Gold Coast agent reported selling nine properties in a week sight unseen to interstate buyers.
The interest from interstate buyers further fuels the tight markets across South-East Queensland.
The region is predicted to continue booming in 2021. Realestate.com.au is predicting the Greater Brisbane area will achieve double-digit growth, ANZ is tipping growth of 9.5 per cent and CoreLogic is predicting growth between 7 and 10 per cent.
Meanwhile, the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast are expected to continue booming, with local buyers continuing to come under pressure from interstate investors and interstate migration. This will fuel median property values, and will also put pressure on rental markets. Figures from the SQM Research show extremely tight vacancy rates of just 0.4 per cent across both the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast and given interstate migration trends this is unlikely to change.
With strong interstate migration, tight supply, low interest rates and strong buyer sentiment it is likely that South-East Queensland will be one of the strongest markets in Australia during 2021, with the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast really booming and Greater Brisbane finally shining after years of stagnation.
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MELBOURNE BACK ON THE MARKET AS AUCTION VOLUMES SOAR
Following recent data confirmations of Melbourne’s strong property rebound, SQM Research has revealed a total of 174 auctions were listed in the city last week, compared with just 35 at the same time last year.
With 100 auctions on Saturday alone, and a further 74 scattered throughout the week ending on 24 January, Melbourne’s rebound has put it on top of Australia’s auction ladder.
Recent auction data from CoreLogic revealed a strong December quarter for Melbourne, following an extended lockdown period.
Of the 7,415 auctions recorded in Melbourne over the quarter, 68.5 per cent were cleared.
REGIONAL PROPERTY PRICE RISES SET TO CONTINUE
The way COVID-19 is changing how people work is helping strengthen a trend that is seeing some regional house values track capital city prices higher.
The coronavirus pandemic has made it more feasible for white-collar employees to work from home. Many are coming into the office for just one or two days a week.
That appears to have reinforced a pre-COVID-19 tendency of people leaving big cities to take advantage of cheaper housing and a more attractive lifestyle.
However, not all regional areas are seeing higher prices.
INSIDE QUEENSLAND’S HOUSING BOOM
Pent-up demand, record low listings and double-digit price growth predictions are driving a desperate race to get into the Queensland market, as buyers with “dollar signs in their eyes” pay tens of thousands of dollars more to snag a home.
Frustrated at the lack of stock, interstate competition and the number of properties selling before they even hit the open market, buyers are resorting to letterbox drops and “throwing out big offers”, while agents are doorknocking homes in a bid to convince owners to sell.
Wannabe buyers are being forced to line up for over an hour to inspect homes.
2020 RENTAL MARKET FINISHES THE YEAR STRONG WITH A DECADE-HIGH MONTHLY GROWTH RATE OF 0.6% IN DECEMBER
CoreLogic’s Rental Market Review for the December 2020 quarter released today has reiterated the diverse rental conditions across Australia over the year, with regional markets outperforming capital cities and unit markets recording weak conditions across the largest capital cities.
December 2020 saw Australia’s dwelling market record the largest monthly increase in rental rates since 2010, up 0.6% over the month. The 10 year record can be attributed to growth across the house market which saw a 0.9% rise in rental rates over the month, more than offsetting a -0.1% fall in unit rents.
NSW COASTAL PROPERTY MARKETS BOOM WITH NO SLOWDOWN IN SIGHT AMID PANDEMIC
Sydneysiders looking to leave the big smoke behind are fuelling strong demand for properties in coastal markets, with agents inundated with inquiries for holiday homes or sea-change pads.
Agents from the South Coast to Byron Bay have seen a swell of buyer demand since mid-2020, which shows no sign of slowing down amid the ongoing pandemic.
“We’re pinching ourselves,” said selling agent Alan Bowler, of McGrath Gosford, who is expecting more than 30 bidders to compete for a two-bedroom cottage going to auction in Patonga, on the Central Coast, on Saturday.
PROPERTY SETTLEMENTS HIT TWO-YEAR HIGH
There seemed to be a surge in property settlements in December due to the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in Victoria, according to the latest report from PEXA.
Overall, Australia clocked 79,187 settlements during the month, reflecting a two-year high. On an annual basis, property settlements grew by 22%.
“We saw property settlement numbers begin to recover following the easing of restrictions nationally in the second half of the year. However, the rebound in Victoria was delayed due to the second lockdown,” said Mike Gill, senior research manager at PEXA.
Victoria reported a 43% month-on-month increase in property sale settlements to 21,000 in December.