"Once again, the statistics show how certain property markets in Southeast QLD are living up to their potential." - Mark McEvoy, Senior Investment Analyst
An inner-city exodus is driving a property boom in southeast Queensland’s masterplanned communities and outer suburbs, where COVID-weary buyers are seeking space and affordability.
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Forget Brisbane’s blue-chip postcodes, the hottest new markets are in the ’burbs, where house and land packages in Ipswich, Logan and the Moreton Bay regions are going gangbusters.
Exclusive data from property listings site Realestate.com.au shows a jump of up to 97 per cent in serious buyer activity over the past 12 months in suburbs such as Forestdale, Lawnton and South Ripley.
Record-low interest rates, the rise of remote working, first-home buyer government incentives and the impact of COVID-19 on buyer preferences has also driven an 84 per cent surge in demand for homes in Park Ridge, and a 78 per cent increase in Upper Caboolture.
The research is based on the number of visits to a listing, listing interactions, saving the property, sharing the property and/or making an inquiry with the agent via phone or email.
Realestate.com.au chief economist Nerida Conisbee said the demand was being driven by first-home buyers, affordability and buyers craving space.
“If we have a look at the same time last year, there wouldn’t have been many projects out there, so there has been quite a change in the type of housing available,” Ms Conisbee said.
“More broadly we’re seeing very strong interest in house and land off the back of HomeBuilder.”
A 300 per cent increase in sales has been recorded by AVID Property Group at its three main southeast Queensland residential communities since the HomeBuilder grant was announced in June, compared with the two months prior.
More than 90 per cent of sales have been to first-home buyers.
The developer’s general manager Bruce Harper said land sales and demand for house and land packages had “gone crazy”.
“There is definitely a preference (since COVID-19) for larger lots,” Mr Harper said.
“We’re seeing people who otherwise may have bought a unit or townhouse, or a very small block of land, now preferring to have a slightly larger parcel of land.”
Mr Harper said the Federal Government’s HomeBuilder scheme had encouraged a swathe of first home buyers to take advantage of the $25,000 grant.
“Sales were good at the beginning of the year, then they dropped off from COVID in March and April and a lot of people who’d signed contracts withdrew,” he said.
“When HomeBuilder came out on June 4, a lot of those people whose contracts had been let go had more confidence and came back into the market.
“It also then brought forward a lot of people who were thinking about building, but might not have been quite ready yet.”
Mr Harper said that even homes ineligible for the incentives were attracting strong sales.
“In some areas with strong demand, such as Lawnton and Logan, the fact people can’t get HomeBuilder has not deterred them,” he said.
Housing Industry of Australia (HIA) data revealed that the number of loans to owner-occupiers to buy residential land in July increased by 145 per cent in Queensland — the largest increase of all the states.
HIA chief economist Tim Reardon said there had been an increase in the number of loans for the construction of a new home, but also a rise in the purchase of new and established homes.
“There has been a tangible improvement in sentiment and confidence in the housing market,” Mr Reardon said.
Land sales in southeast Queensland jumped more than 400 per cent in June — the strongest monthly sales result in more than five years, according to data compiled by Oliver Hume Research.
After dropping to just 273 sales across the southeast in April, as lockdowns closed sales offices and dented economic confidence, the market rebounded to 1,110 sales in June.
The data analysed nearly 2000 transactions from more than 150 projects across Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Logan, Ipswich, Moreton Bay and Redland local government areas.
Oliver Hume national head of research George Bougias said despite the COVID-19 shutdowns and their economic impact, there were still plenty of buyers with stable incomes ready to take advantage of the grants and incentives available.
“These are the right incentives at the right time and will keep thousands of tradies in jobs as homes begin to spring up on these blocks in the next few months.”
But Mr Bougias said that while sales had been boosted by the incentives, there was also an underlying increase in demand.
“The first half of 2019 was a tough time for the southeast Queensland land market, but there was a solid recovery under way towards the end of the year and right up until the lockdowns commenced in the final two weeks of March,” he said.
The $25,000 HomeBuilder grant combined with $15,000 first home buyer grant from the Queensland government means eligible buyers can access $40,000 to help them get on the property ladder.
Other incentives, including the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme can save buyers thousands more on top of the grants.
Moreton Bay recorded the highest share of sales at 26 per cent, followed by Logan and Ipswich.
Oliver Hume chief executive Julian Coppini said the underlying fundamentals of the southeast market remained strong and included affordability, liveability, a large and growing population and good economic prospects.
“While there are still many uncertainties around the national and global economies and the ongoing level of income support and government incentives, the Queensland land market is well placed to absorb any further shocks,” he said.
Buyers searching for a cheap patch of dirt in Queensland are also being enticed by a new land offering in the South Burnett region.
The McGill Group is advertising one acre, flat blocks of land from $59,000 in Fork Hill Estate in Moffatdale, an emerging wine region north of Kingaroy and west of Gympie.
So far, 70 per cent of inquiries for the blocks are from potential buyers in Victoria.
The McGill Group founder Mark McGill said: “Such an opportunity in the current climate offers a sanctuary for families and is a great investment. With fishing, canoeing, waterskiing and boating at Bjelke Peterson Dam nearby — it’s a great spot to escape and to really prosper in the property market.”
Learn more about the housing boom in southeast QLD!
Tilley, E. (2020, September 12). Inner-city exodus fuels housing boom in southeast QLD suburbs. Retrieved from https://www.realestate.com.au/news/innercity-exodus-fuels-housing-boom-in-southeast-qld-suburbs/