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Australian capital city home prices surge 2.8% in March, their fastest since 1988

Australian capital city

Australian capital city average dwelling prices rose a whopping 2.8% in March according to CoreLogic and are up 4.8% on a year ago. This is their seventh monthly gain in a row and their fastest monthly rise since October 1988 and they have now surpassed their September 2017 record high by 3.5%.

Sydney dwelling prices rose a very strong 3.7%, which is their faster since August 1988, and they have now surpassed their July 2017 record high.

Melbourne prices also rose 2.4% and have now surpassed their November 2017 record high.

Prices in other cities were all up strongly led by Hobart with prices up 3.3% in March, followed by Canberra up 2.8%, Darwin up 2.3%, Brisbane up 2.4%, Perth up 1.8% and Adelaide up 1.5%. Prices in Hobart, Canberra, Brisbane and Adelaide are all at record highs.

Regional dwelling prices rose 2.5% in March and are up 11.4% on a year ago with their relative strength over the last year reflecting lower levels of indebtedness and hence less vulnerability to the financial stresses caused by the pandemic driven economic downturn, less exposure to the slump in immigration and increased buyer interest as people seek to relocate from cities as part of a secular trend towards working from home and a greater focus on lifestyle.

Capital city house prices rose 3.1% in March and 6% over the last 12 months whereas unit prices lagged with a 1.9% gain in the month and 1.1% rise on a year ago, with the relative underperformance reflecting an ongoing shift in preferences towards houses as a result of more working from home and a lifestyle choice and as weak rental conditions made worse by the slump in immigration constrained the inner city unit markets in Sydney and Melbourne.

Over the last 12 months unit rents fell -3.8% compared to a 5.2% in house rents, with the weakness in unit rents concentrated in Sydney and Melbourne. However, the Sydney and Melbourne unit rental markets have shown signs of stabilisation and improvement in recent months.

The strength in home prices is consistent with other data showing a booming property market including record new housing finance commitments over recent months, surging home sales and record or near record auction clearance rates.

Clearance rates are now at levels consistent with 15% to 20% annual price gains in Sydney and Melbourne!

So why is the property market back to booming?

The property market has seen a huge turnaround from expectations of a year ago for sharp falls in home prices as a result of the pandemic driven lockdowns. Capital city home prices did fall nearly 3% around mid-last year (led by Melbourne), but the fall was brief as the government policy response intervened to protect the housing market from the recession and to push prices higher. Basically the combination of ultra-low mortgage rates, multiple government home buyer incentives, economic recovery, the strengthening jobs market and now an increasing element of FOMO (buying now for fear of missing out) combined initially with low listings are driving prices sharply higher. The pandemic driven desire to “escape from the city” also appears to be pushing up suburban house prices and regional prices up at a faster rate than its depressing inner city unit prices in Sydney and Melbourne.

While first home buyers led the initial recovery, spurred on by various incentives, owner occupiers have followed and now investors appear to be starting to jump in too.

Average capital city dwelling prices have now surpassed their September 2017 boom time high by 3.5% with Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart and Canberra and now Sydney and Melbourne along with average regional prices all at clear record highs. Perth and Darwin remain well down on their 2014 mining boom highs, but are now recovering rapidly.


With variable mortgage rates set to remain ultra-low for the next few years average prices are expected to rise another 15-20% or so over the next 18 months to two years.

However, the pace of increase is likely to slow through 2021-22.

First, government housing incentives are likely to be sharply curtailed in the months ahead with HomeBuilder ending, the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme tapped out and some states may start to wind back various incentives.

Second, in the absence of an ability to raise interest rates, the RBA and APRA are expected to reach yet again for macro prudential controls to slow housing lending. While they don’t target house prices and are of the view that we have not yet seen a significant deterioration in lending standards on the metrics they look at, past experience indicates that surging house prices leads to a deterioration in lending standards and increasing financial stability risks. And the metrics APRA and the RBA look at are starting to push up in the direction of a deterioration in lending standards with record housing finance pointing to an acceleration in housing debt, an increasing share of lending at high loan to valuation ratios and a rising share of interest only loans albeit from a low base. All of which suggests that it will make sense to start tapping the lending standards brake soon. The first thing to do would be to increase interest rate buffers but limits on high loan to valuation ratio lending and high debt to income ratio lending may make sense too.

Thirdly, the recovery in immigration once the international borders are reopened is likely to be gradual and if so this will allow for years of property undersupply to give way to oversupply which is the best way to take pressure off house prices.

Fourth, it’s likely that the 30 year tailwind for the property market of falling interest rates has now run its course. Four year plus fixed rate mortgage rates look to have bottomed and the RBA seems more determined than ever to see inflation sustained in its target range which will ultimately put an end to the long term downtrend in interest rates.

Fifth, poor affordability will start to become an increasing constraint again if it’s not already.

Finally, government policy should further encourage the shift away from city living as unleashed by the pandemic and working from home as a way to take pressure off capital city property prices. This remains to be seen though. The ending of JobKeeper and the expiration of home loan deferrals may also act as a dampener to the extent that they may boost forced sales but in the absence of a significant new coronavirus driven lockdown the impact is likely to be marginal. Actual net job losses from the ending of JobKeeper are likely to be low and the proportion by value of home mortgages on payment holidays has collapsed from 11% in May to below 2%.

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Chelmer: Why locals won’t leave this riverside Brisbane suburb

Chelmer riverside

It’s a telling sign when families stay put in a certain place over multiple generations, where one’s childhood is made so complete, those who grow up there yearn to pass down this same upbringing to their own family.

This is certainly the case for Chelmer, a scenic suburb encased by the Brisbane River on three sides and known for its grand, quintessential Queenslander homes and laurel tree-lined streets.

According to Alex Jordan of McGrath Paddington, many locals in the area have been living in their homes for more than 40 years.

Often these homes are bought by the younger families who grew up in the area and are drawn back by the fond memories they hold.

“It’s very much a family-focused suburb; it’s the type of place where children still ride their bikes around the neighbourhood and families go for walks to simply admire the charming streets,” says Jordan.

Chelmer riverside

Median house prices in Chelmer have increased by 47.1 per cent year-on-year. Photo: Supplied

“The natural beauty, varied demographic, and desirable lifestyle are the key factors in Chelmer’s desirability, along with the great local schools and its own train station.”

Domain’s latest House Price Report reveals Chelmer’s median house price is $1.765 million, rising 47.1 per cent year-on-year.

In Jordan’s opinion, the suburb’s wonderful sense of community and growing amenities are what keep the buyers strong and unwavering.

“There are many restaurants and cafes to enjoy – such as Botellon Tapas & Wine Bar, Boucher French Bistro, Hunter & Scout Cafe – with most businesses being owned by locals who live in the area,” Jordan explains.

“The number of nice parks, including Graceville Memorial Park and ​​Gordon Thomson Park, leads many local families to become members of a variety of sporting clubs, ranging from cricket to rugby, which of course only adds to the area’s team spirit.”

Originally from country Victoria, Andrew Thomson has lived in Chelmer virtually all of his adult life, moving to the area 20 years ago, where he would buy a house and raise his family.

Having grown deep roots in the area since, Thomson is now the president of the local Australian rules football club – the Sherwood Magpies – a great hub for kids and adults alike, regardless of whether they play football.

“Chelmer’s strong sense of community is an integral part of this area, particularly during the devastation of the 2011 floods and the recent repeat of that on a lesser scale in 2022. When the clubhouse was threatened by rising floodwater, all it took was one quick post on social media and 100 people were there within 30 minutes ready to lend a hand,” recalls Thomson.

“It was amazing, though unsurprising to see, and it goes hand in hand with living in such a connected community and being part of a sporting club that sits at its heart.”

Given Chelmer’s abundance of green space and the clear separation thanks to the winding Brisbane River, Thomson notes how the area is akin to a peaceful peninsula, seemingly a world away from the city, but in reality, just a 10-minute drive from the Brisbane CBD.

“Ideal mornings may include a bike ride on the river loop or a stroll along the riverside, followed by a coffee stop at one of the many fantastic cafes,” says Thomson.

“Spring is particularly delightful, with great weather, the excitement of footy finals, and the smell of freshly cut lawns and suburban barbecues – it doesn’t get any better.”



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Developers to swoop on one of the largest sites in the Woolloongabba Olympic precinct

Developers to swoop on Woolloongabba Olympic precinct

A large development site in the heart of the Woolloongabba Olympic precinct is up for sale, with price expectations in excess of $45 million.

The 1.28-hectare rectangular shaped development site at 73 Ipswich Road in Woolloongabba is expected to attract apartment developers given its central location at the heart of the planned infrastructure in the precinct.

The site has three street frontages, to Ipswich Road and Henry Street and offers multiple development outcomes including residential, commercial, medical and hotel, subject to council approval.

Knight Frank agents Blake Goddard, Christian Sandstrom and Matt Barker in conjunction with Nathan Moore of Ray White Commercial Bayside on behalf of the vendor, a local private.

Goddard said the property was one of the largest privately owned infill sites within a two-kilometre radius of the Brisbane CBD and was expected to be hotly contested by buyers.

“We expect a wide range of developers to be interested in this site, including residential, commercial, mixed-use and build-to-rent developers, due to its flexible zoning allowances,” he said.

“It is one of the largest privately-owned properties situated in the heart of the Woolloongabba Olympic precinct, close to the Cross River Rail and the redevelopment of ‘the Gabba’ stadium, and one of the most significant development opportunities to have hit the market in the last few years.

“Quality development sites are sought after in the current market, but this site will be even more attractive to a wide range of buyers due to the rarity of size and location. The Gabba stadium and surrounding precinct is set to undergo major transformation in the coming years with over $1 billion allocated to the precinct.”

Moore said the property benefitted from its three-street frontage, easy access to major. arterial roads including Ipswich Road and the M1 Pacific Motorway, and the fact that a majority of it was undeveloped.

“The property is set to benefit from its prime location underpinned by exceptional future development opportunities in the area surrounding the 2032 Olympics,” he said.

The site is surrounded by nearby  amenity including The Gabba, the Logan Road dining precinct and the Cross River Rail station upon completion.

“The three-street frontage site enjoys a strategic location within Woolloongabba, offering unrivalled amenity along with extensive surrounding transport infrastructure and development,” he added.


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Residential Landscaping Ideas to Increase Your Brisbane Property Value

Residential Landscaping Ideas to Increase Your Property Value

One of the top trends in home renovations this year is to improve outdoor living – transforming spaces into inviting areas to maximise outdoor living and entertainment activities.  Residential landscaping, which can boost the value of a property in Australia, is one of those important transformations.

If done right, it can even increase the value of your real estate by up to 28%. From planting grass to creating a vegetable garden, there are several landscaping ideas that could make your backyard a delightful green oasis.

Residential Landscaping -Increase Your Brisbane Property Value

Well-Maintained Turf
A well-maintained landscape offers several benefits. It improves the curb appeal of a home and is pleasing to the eye.  In addition, it immediately increases the value of a home. Landscaping involves planting and maintaining grass on your lawn.  A manicured lawn is not only a sight for sore eyes, but it also enhances the overall appearance of a property.

However, before planting anything on your property, it is vital to prepare a coherent design and plan because a landscape that is assembled in piecemeal looks cluttered and unappealing. Hence, if you can afford to hire a professional landscape designer, do so because they can come up with a master plan that will make your yard look organized and beautiful.

It is also possible to do the landscaping yourself if you’re willing to do the extra work and effort. Even with a small budget, you can present a lovely landscape that looks well put together. Once you identify where to put your grass, ensure that it remains verdant and properly maintained.

Regular mowing, watering, weeding, and fertilisation are what it takes to keep your turf lush and green. Having the right type of grass also matters. For example, Buffalo and Couch are some types of grass that grow well in Australian conditions.

Trees and Shrubs
Second to a well-manicured lawn, potential buyers will also look at the maturity of a garden. Thus, plant trees and shrubs in strategic places, but before choosing the vegetation, ensure that you know which locations are sunny and shady in the garden. You can then choose the appropriate plants for those conditions. It’s also a good idea to opt for native plants.

They are easy to grow and are suitable for the challenging Australian climate. In addition, local plants support a healthy environment because you won’t need fertilisers and pesticides to keep them healthy, not to mention preserving biodiversity through a native garden.

Trees also make your home look fabulous in addition to providing shade, offering privacy, attracting bees, and creating shelter for birds. Consider planting a crepe myrtle, a hardy tree that gives stunning summer flowers and bright autumn foliage. It can be grown in the ground or pot.

Other species that will give a gorgeous vibe to your garden include the ornamental prunus, evergreen magnolias, frangipani, and blueberry ash. Don’t forget to make flower beds which can be a mixture of annuals and perennials to make your garden pop with colour.

Landscaping your property entails a concerted approach and effort to ensure a harmonious outcome. Maintaining a verdant lawn, planting trees and shrubs, and including flower beds are some ideas to improve the look of your outdoor space.

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