Bundaberg Property Watch 2013 Q1

BUNDABERG AREA OVERVIEW

The following Property Watch report is the result of an investigation into the historic and current market trends of the immediate Bundaberg Area with an additional focus on the Bundaberg Coastal Area, which encompasses the suburbs of Bargara, Coral Cove, Innes Park and Burnett Heads.

The Bundaberg Area house market has been tending upwards in recent times, with the market performing solidly without being outstanding. Since its historic low in the June 2011 six month period (which would have been influenced heavily by the Queensland flooding), the area has seen sales increase at a steady rate, with the area recording 443 transactions for the December 2012 half year period. This represents an 11 per cent improvement on the previous six month period. The median price in the housing market has also been tracking nicely, as it has hovered between $265,000 and $280,000 since December 2007. In the six months to 31st December 2012, the median house price in the Bundaberg Area was $275,000. The Price Points chart indicates the bulk of transactions (47 per cent) during the December 2012 six month period were properties priced between $200,000 and $299,999. Properties priced from at least $400,000 grew by two per cent.

After the recent spate of flooding in the Bundaberg Area, it is a little too early to predict what impact this will have on the property market. As those families affected by the most recent floods use their insurance payouts to relocate to properties above flood levels, it is expected that enquiry will increase, while median price is expected to continue to rise in the coming year. The land market may also feel the flow on as some residents choose to build new instead of moving into an existing property.

The unit market in the Bundaberg Area has experienced a decline in the December 2012 six month period after performing steadily over the previous two years. Recorded transactions were down 47 per cent from the preceding six month period, finishing with 33 transactions. This represents the poorest performance over the past ten years, which is arguably due to excessive body corporate fees in group title properties. Despite sales being slow, median price for the area was $244,000, an improvement of nine per cent on the previous June 2012 period. During the December 2012 period, 36 per cent of transactions were in the $200,000 to $249,999 price bracket, an increase of 12 per cent from the corresponding period 12 months ago.

The Bundaberg Area land market has not seen a lot of activity in the December 2012 half year period, recording a median price of $139,500. This represents a four per cent decline when compared to the previous six month period. However, since the June 2010 six month period, the median price has hovered around $140,000 aside from the June 2012 period where it jumped to $145,000; therefore the median price recorded for the December 2012 period is more in line with recent times. Sales activity has dropped off 24 per cent, with 48 recorded transactions during the December 2012 period. Looking back over a number of years, the land market in the Bundaberg Area has fluctuated between (roughly) 50 and 100 transactions. This, combined with a stable median price indicates a market that is supply driven, with buyers purchasing when product is available.

The rental market in the Bundaberg Area has performed well, in line with many other Central and Northern Queensland towns. Across all dwelling types, rents have seen increases over three years, with the most impressive increases seen in one bedroom units (17 per cent). The most solid category in terms of growth in both bonds and rents are three and four bedroom houses, which were the only dwelling types to experience growth in both these areas over the three years.

BUNDABERG COASTAL AREA OVERVIEW

The Bundaberg Coastal Area house market sales levels recently have been sound, with the coastal area having 138 recorded transactions during the December 2012 six month period. The median price in the area, however, has declined gently over the past 12 months, rounding out the December 2012 half year period at $340,000. This represents a two per cent reduction when compared to the June 2012 period and a four per cent reduction from December 2011. This softening has been due in part to fewer sales in the $500,000 plus market, whereas the $300,000 to $499,999 price range saw more activity. While the area is still considered affordable at these prices, buyers continue to look for perceived bargains in the market and it appears sellers are willing to negotiate.

Leading into 2007, the Bundaberg Coastal Area unit market was very volatile, with considerable instabilities in both sales activity and median price. Post 2007 has seen the unit market level out, with no significant action in the median price, while sales slumped significantly in the June 2011 quarter however recovered in subsequent quarters. In the six months to December 2012 there were 32 recorded transactions, a drop of 14 per cent on the previous period. During the same period, median price grew nine per cent to finish at $363,750. This rising median price can be attributed to a large portion of sales for the quarter (22 per cent) occurring in the $550,000 plus market. These higher priced sales have come from newer apartment buildings located adjacent to the waterfront.

The land market in the Bundaberg Coastal Area has performed steadily since the December 2008 six month period, with the median price trending generally downwards slightly while sales have remained stable. During the most recent December 2012 period, both sales levels and median price dropped off slightly. Sales shrank 17 per cent to record 45 transactions for the period, while the median price contracted four per cent to finish at $147,000.

With the Bundaberg Area being within relative close proximity to mining operations to the North and West, it offers those in the resource sector a more affordable opportunity to purchase property when compared to larger towns such as Gladstone. Bundaberg and its surrounds present a superior value proposition for those looking for an improved lifestyle offering combined with affordable cost of living.