Regional Queensland has achieved something that few jurisdictions across Australia have managed: it has maintained its previous high levels of well-performing markets in defiance of Covid-19.
Hotspotting’s Winter 2020 survey of sales activity has identified 54 growth markets and 30 consistency markets, down only marginally on the results of the previous (Autumn 2020) survey, which found 55 growth locations and 34 consistency ones. This was the strongest performance by Regional Queensland in three years and the results of this latest survey are only slightly inferior.
The number of “declining” markets has reduced (from 12 to six to four in recent surveys) and there are now few danger markets in Regional Queensland outside of the perennial struggler, Mount Isa.
Compared to the Covid-inspired deterioration in the results of other major jurisdictions across the nation, this is a commendable performance – and provides further evidence that regional areas have done much better in the pandemic period than the biggest capital cities.
The well-performing markets include Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, Hervey Bay, Gympie and Toowoomba, as well as the Regional Queensland heavyweights, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast.
In addition, we have seen further evidence of recovery in the Gladstone market, after multiple years in decline.
We continue to rate the Sunshine Coast one of the strongest economic and real estate stories in the nation and it has produced another solid result in this winter survey. The Sunshine Coast Regional Council area and neighbouring Noosa Shire have 11 suburbs with rising sales activity and eight others with consistent sales performance. There are also a number of locations which have delivered strong price growth in the past 12 months.
Nearby Gympie has a number of growth locations and is poised for a sustained period of growth, given major infrastructure projects and its improved links to the boom Sunshine Coast economy.
Sales activity overall in Gold Coast City has declined, unsurprisingly given the impact of Covid-19 on an economy so heavily reliant on tourism. This is reflected in the 35 suburbs with plateau markets. Nevertheless, there remain 10 suburbs with rising sales activity.
There are solid performers spread across Queensland, stretching from Townsville in the far north to more southerly locations like Hervey Bay and the inland city of Toowoomba.
Townsville has five suburbs with growing sales and, boosted by major infrastructure projects, is poised for a recovery from the previous downturn.
Mackay, a growth market we have noted in previous surveys, also has five growth suburbs and has a number of locations delivering strong price growth. Sales in South Mackay have been 20-27-35-34-52 in the past five quarters, a pattern which had led to strong price growth recently.
Rockhampton is showing increasing signs of revival, with four growth suburbs and three with consistent sales performance. The suburb of Berserker has lifted quarterly sales from 21 to 31 to 33 to 43 in the past year. Frenchville and Gracemere display similar growth patterns.
The Fraser Coast, based on Hervey Bay, is showing increasing signs of a growth phase, with five suburbs with growing buyer demand.
Toowoomba, after several years of moderate activity, is showing symptoms of a rising market, with three growth and four consistency suburbs.
The one disappointing result comes from Cairns, which stood out strongly in the previous Autumn survey as a rising market with nine growth suburbs. But this Winter survey finds only two growth suburbs, with sales in most Cairns suburbs falling away recently. This is an economy strong reliant on tourism, including international visitors, which has taken a serious hit from Covid-19.
Regional Queensland has also performed well on price growth. Six out of 10 locations have produced some level of growth in their median house prices in the past 12 months and most of those where prices have declined have done so only marginally.
The Sunshine Coast has a number of strong performers with annual price growth, led by Warana (19%), Minyama (16%) and Noosa Heads (11%).
The Gold Coast also has a number of growth locations, including Runaway Bay (18%), Worongary (15%), Palm Beach (11%) and Mermaid Waters (10%).
Mackay has some outstanding performers, including South Mackay (16%), Blacks Beach (14%) and Bucasia (10%).
I’ve previously noted the revival signs in Gladstone, with vacancies down and rents rising. We are now seeing evidence of prices rising, although from a low base. West Gladstone is up 16% and Glen Eden 23% in annual terms, while Calliope, New Auckland and Tannum Sands have all risen 8-9% in the past year.
Other resources-related locations where prices are rising from low bases include Moranbah (up 19%, but still only with a median of $240,000) and Blackwater (up 45%, but with typical houses still worth only $130,000).
Emerald is headed back to growth, with quarterly sales of 50-56-59-63-72 in the past five quarters.
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