QLD Sales Overview Q4 2011

Across many areas in Queensland residential real estate has undergone a significant softening in sales activity and values, as demand has reflected the general decline in sentiment and confidence. The majority of first home buyers took the step into home ownership when the boost to the grant was available in 2009 and interest rates were drastically low. The future supply of this segment of buyers have been sapped and investors appear to be patiently waiting to see if they can attain a better bargain with values declining across most markets in the state. As a result of decreasing demand to purchase property, many markets within Queensland are seeing increased competition for rental premises, placing pressure on rents. In turn this could see greater investor activity as yields increase and become more attractive. In addition, the recent turmoil in global economic conditions have played a central role to the highly volatile equity markets. The stability and affordability of several Queensland property markets have already enticed investors to re-enter. Markets such as the Whitsundays, that has been affected by not only poor sentiment, but natural disasters and a decline in tourism has started to show green shoots, with attention arriving from the large disposable income of the fly in - fly out miners.

Purchasers looking at property should consider that historically low sales activity, softening capital values and increasing rental yields, form an ideal market to buy a property primed for strong returns. These buyer favourable conditions also allow purchasers to exploit their position in the market place to acquire a property at a discounted price.

Throughout the June 2011 half year period, Queensland recorded a total of 53,707 settled house transactions, equating to an annual softening of 22.8 per cent (15,900 sales) from the previous year. Of the more established markets recording a minimum of 10 transactions during the June 2011 half year, only 101 out of the 611 identified achieved increasing sales activity. The key trend established over 2010 appears to have continued as the dominance of mining communities experienced strong increases in settled transactions, while most urban localities declined. Mining suburbs that have continually attracted increases in activity were Gracemere (37 additional sales), Calliope (26 additional sales) and Dysart (24 additional sales), while some costal towns like Tannum Sands (up 26 sales), have also received increasing activity as a result of the mines. The growth of these markets is a direct result of strong investment and the availability of high paid employment within these areas. Of the top 20 growth suburbs across Queensland only Gordon Park, Wynnum (both located in Brisbane), Mudgeeraba and Clear Island Waters (both located on the Gold Coast) were localities not considered to be in mining regions.

PRD Research has identified the 20 suburbs recording the strongest decrease in settled transactions during the first half of 2011. Aside from Bowen, Atherton and Douglas, all top 20 suburbs were confined to South East Queensland. The largest softening's recorded throughout the June 2011 six month period were achieved in The Gap, Buderim and Forest Lake registering a reduction of 76 sales, 66 sales and 65 sales respectively. Notably, only three suburbs in the top 20 to experience declining sales, have recorded a median sale price above $500,000. When looking at the median house prices in the top 20 list, only one suburb (Atherton) has experienced growth over the 12 month period ending June 2011, increasing by five per cent.