Saturday, June 9, 2012

Demand strengthens in unit market: REIQ

Press Release from REIQ today:  Queensland’s unit and townhouse market experienced strengthening demand over the March quarter, according to the latest Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) figures.

The REIQ’s quarterly Queensland Market Monitor found the numbers of preliminary unit and townhouse sales across the State were up 11 per cent compared to the December quarter last year.  Over the period, there was also a dramatic increase in the numbers of units sold between $250,000 and $350,000 with sales in this price bracket increasing 22 per cent.

"This increase in more affordable unit and townhouse sales is being driven by demand from first home buyers and investors, who often target properties at the lower end of the market," REIQ CEO Anton Kardash said. "About 19 per cent of homes financed in Queensland are now being bought by first home buyers, which is the highest level of activity from first-time property buyers since 2009 when the First Home Owners Boost was available. Investors too are making a long-awaited return to the market with more than 4,500 properties bought by investors in March this year. The 10-year average is 5,000 dwellings per month so this is also the strongest level of activity from investors since early 2010".

Over the March quarter, median unit and townhouse prices softened in a number of areas due to this shift in demand for more affordable properties. Median prices reflect the types of properties that sell over a particular timeframe so if more affordable properties sell the median will be dragged lower.

Brisbane’s median unit and townhouse price softened 3.1 per cent to $387,750, however sales activity was up more than 20 per cent compared to the previous quarter.

On the Gold Coast, the beachside suburbs recorded the greatest increase in activity, with Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach topping the list.

The Sunshine Coast saw a similar trend with Mooloolaba and Noosaville recording the top increases in sales activity over the quarter. The Sunshine Coast was also the only major region for Southeast Queensland to record an increase in its median, up 2.2 per cent to $332,250.

Although a strong result for the house market was recorded over the quarter, Cairns’ unit market continues to struggle, with sales down 30 per cent. Comments from various regional zone chairs, Cairns included, say that units are proving difficult to sell, as buyers are put off by the increased costs associated with owning a unit, such as body corporate fees, insurance levies and council rates. As such, buyers end up seeing more value in buying a house, with the ongoing servicing costs equalling that of a unit.

The chart below, from REIQ, is for apartments and townhouses only, not houses.  Click on chart to make bigger.

Notes for chart 
* Medians affected by varying quantities of new properties sold 
f Medians affected by varying numbers of waterfront properties sold 
- Due to the nature of properties in this suburb, some group titled property sales have been omitted

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