Mackay Area Property Watch 2013 Q1

MACKAY AREA MARKET OVERVIEW

The following Property Watch report is the result of an investigation into the historic and current residential real estate market trends of the Mackay Area. For the purpose of this report, the Mackay Area will look at the Local Government Area of the Mackay region.

In the six month period ending October 2012, the Mackay Area continued its strong run of form, recording a median house price of $436,050, an increase of one per cent on the previous six month period and an increase of five per cent over twelve months. Sales levels dropped off 14 per cent over the six months, however still enjoyed a nine per cent increase of the October 2011 period. This strong showing has been consistent over the past ten years, with the Area riding on the back resource sector. Since the Global Financial Crisis the Area has gone from strength to strength through consecutive periods of price growth and unrelenting demand. As Mackay is so central to a hub of mining activity and continued economic interest driving further infrastructure projects, the Area will continue to attract strong levels of demand.

Observing the House Price Points chart, in 2012 there has been a shift to the higher end of the housing market, with houses priced above $500,000 receiving a six per cent boost compared to the six month period ending October 2011. At the same time, the $300,000 to $349,999 price bracket fell by five per cent to account for 11 per cent of transactions. This upwards movement in price reflects the rising median family income of the Mackay LGA, which according to the 2011 Australian Bureau of Statistics Census, sits approximately 11 per cent above the median family income for Australia as a whole. Combined with increased investment in infrastructure to support the Areas growing population, it is likely this price range will remain popular in the short to medium term.

The Unit market for the Mackay Area has historically been a more volatile market when compared to the housing and land markets. However, in more recent times this market has plateaued, seeing minimal changes to median price and demand remaining relatively consistent. For the October 2012 period the Area recorded a median price of $325,000, seeing no change from the previous April 2012 period. Demand for the six month period ending October 2012 fell 14 per cent, with 190 transactions recorded, however was up nine per cent over the twelve months. The most popular price point for the Unit market remains the $250,000 to $299,999 bracket, which accounted for 21 per cent of sales (up four per cent from the previous six month period).

In the October 2011 and April 2012 six month periods, the Mackay Area land market demonstrated astonishing growth, experiencing unprecedented growth in sales combined with significant median price increases. In the period ending 31st October 2012, the median price has continued its surge, increasing a further five per cent on the previous six month period. Conversely to this, the number of sales decreased a dramatic amount, falling 61 per cent from 858 recorded transactions in the April 2012 six month period down to 336 recorded transactions in the most recent October 2012 six month period. Nearly all land sales in the Mackay Area have come from newer housing estates in suburbs located within 15kms of the Mackay CBD such as Beaconsfield, Blacks Beach, Eimeo, Ooralea, Rural View and Walkerston. With the resource sector already beginning to flatten out, sales levels will remain steady at more sustainable levels compared to the huge spike seen in the April 2012 period. Observing the move to these housing estates, there has been an increase in demand for smaller block sizes, as blocks 400sqm and under accounted for 15 per cent of transactions for the October 2012 period, an increase of six per cent on the previous period.

Since December 2010, median rents for the Mackay LGA have risen across all dwelling types, with many experiencing consecutive years of growth (although the exception of two and three bedroom townhouses). Unsurprisingly, this rental growth has hinged largely on the success of the Australian resource sector, with workers for the mines in high demand, and companies having to look outside the immediate township to satisfy their employment needs. As such, the influx of temporary workers has led to high demand for rental accommodation, thus pushing rental prices higher. The biggest jump in median rental price was seen in three bedroom townhouses, which in one year from December 2011 to December 2012 grew $95 to $500 per week, representing growth of almost a quarter (23 per cent) in a single year.