Homes in almost every part of Queensland are now worth more than ever before, even surpassing the post-COVID records set in early 2022 after years of booming prices.
The peaking home values through COVID were driven by Queensland’s stop-start border restrictions and lockdowns in other states.
Qld property prices peaking
Property analysts CoreLogic found that every regional centre in Queensland – aside from the Sunshine Coast and Townsville – are now at their peak and continuing to rise.
In the south-east, homes in Brisbane’s south, inner city, along with Logan and Ipswich, are now at their highest-ever median price.
Those in Brisbane’s east, north and west are within striking distance of their local records and rising fast, as are those across Moreton Bay.
Affordable regions in demand
CoreLogic founder Tim Lawless said it is no surprise that homes in regional Queensland were rising fast.
He said they are still comparatively cheap and did not experience the same boom as the south-east.
“A lot of those more far-flung markets like Cairns or Mackay and the Whitsundays, they’re a lot more affordable,” he said.
“They didn’t see the same trends as south-east Queensland saw through the pandemic.
“Most of those markets are still showing immediate value well below $500,000.”
Buyers are eyeing regional areas including Mackay as they are more affordable compared to parts of the south-east.(ABC Tropical North: Melanie Groves)
In contrast, the average price of a home on the Sunshine coast now tops $965,000, and $1.3 million in Noosa.
“That’s rivalling some of the more expensive markets in Sydney,” he said.
Prices defy cost of living crisis
Mr Lawless said homes in those lifestyle regions went up about 60 per cent through the COVID era and are still down after tumbling in April and May last year.
Homes in Noosa remain 10 per cent below their peak, while the greater Sunshine Coast is still 6 per cent down.
“The Sunny Coast has been a little bit of a lagging performer,” he said.
“The Gold Coast has already recorded record highs as one example, Brisbane posted a new record high in October as well.”
Even so, Mr Lawless said it is surprising to see prices rising the way they were given the combination of higher interest rates and a cost of living crisis.
“All these things would usually be pushing prices lower,” he said.
Instead, he said owners were reluctant to sell below the peak and, with less supply, people were forced to pay more.
And that reality is making it tough for those who hoped a cooling market was their chance to buy their first home.
“The unfortunate reality for first-home buyers is it’s going to be quite tough,” he said.
“I think any way you look at it, affordability – be it for a renter or a first-home buyer – it’s still pretty challenging.”
Property ladder even harder to climb
“Challenging” is likely an understatement for Maiy Azize, who speaks for the national Everybody’s Home campaign.
Ms Azize said increasing properties prices would create new housing pressures.
“If you’re an age pensioner, if you’re on a jobseeker payment, if you’re on a minimum wage, if you’re working casually, it is incredibly difficult to find an affordable rental,” she said.
“That only gets harder when you’re competing with more and more people who are on higher incomes.”
Rent hikes to follow property surge
Ms Azize also warned that when property values go up, rents often followed, as people go into more debt for their investment homes.
“Rents have been going up in Australia for the past decade in a way that’s totally unconnected to interest rates,” she said.
“What they are connected to is wealthier and wealthier people, more and more highly leveraged people investing in property – and that’s really pushing up rents.
“We know that this has flow-on impacts, not just for the people who are looking to buy.”
After the Reserve Bank of Australia lifted interest rates by 25 basis points on Tuesday afternoon, Mr Lawless said “some heat” could leave the housing market.
He said with low vacancy rates, housing supply and more overseas immigration, “it’s hard to see prices going backwards over the near term”.