2021 Toowoomba Property Market Update
The Australian property market has had a year unlike any other in 2021, and we certainly experienced it here in Toowoomba.
Rising home values, increasing rents and demand outstripping supply – we had it all. We look back on a year of historic growth and find out what we can expect in 2022.
2021 – the year of the regional property boom
Regional markets across the country boomed this year, thanks to record low-interest rates, an increase in remote working, relatively affordable property and a major tree change trend that saw big city dwellers fleeing ongoing lockdowns in search of more space and a laidback lifestyle. The top-performing regions, according to CoreLogic, were lifestyle areas within a reasonable commuting distance of the capital cities, like Toowoomba.
House values rose across regional Queensland, and here in Toowoomba, we saw a huge 15.5% increase. Unit prices increased too, with 18 of the 22 Queensland regions recording at least a 10% rise, while 12 regions saw values rise by more than 20% across the year.
Other measures of a hot market were also in evidence, with the average number of days property spent on the market before being sold declining across regional Queensland. Meanwhile, demand is well and truly outstripping supply, with advertised listings across regional Australia currently 37% below the five-year average, while the number of home sales is sitting about 24% above the five-year average.
The Toowoomba sales market in 2021
Here in Toowoomba, we’ve seen incredibly strong demand from buyers for all types of property, and homes are being snapped up as soon as they come onto the market. FOMO (the fear of missing out) is playing a role here. The market is so competitive that some buyers are willing to compromise on their idea of the ‘perfect’ home just in order to secure a property, while others are entering the rental market while they continue their search for the right home to buy.
First home buyers in Toowoomba
First home buyers have been out in force in Toowoomba this year, driven by a tight rental market and the desire to get a foot on the property ladder before the prices rise even more. They’ve been prompted by low-interest rates and aided by first home buyer schemes.
Data from the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) shows that Queensland first home buyers are acquiring property at the fastest rate in 13 years, buying around 3,000 homes every month, and first home buyer loans are at their highest level since 2008.
But this trend has not been reflected around Australia. In fact, the number of first home buyers across the country decreased by 12.6% in the September quarter, according to the latest Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) Housing Affordability Report. This drop has been driven by worsening housing affordability issues.
The fact that we’ve seen a 50% increase in first home buyers in Queensland over the last 12 months is a sign of the relative affordability and enviable lifestyle on offer here.
Property investors in Toowoomba
Property investors have also been very active here in Toowoomba this year. We’ve seen long term investors take advantage of the rising sales market to sell long-held investment properties, and we’ve also seen strong interest from new investors. After all, Toowoomba is being touted by experts as a savvy place to invest in property, and some Toowoomba suburbs have returned exceptional results for investors this year. However, with more owner-occupier activity taking place, the investment market is feeling a bit of a squeeze. Only time will tell how this will impact the rental market.
The Toowoomba rental market in 2021
Just as the sales market has seen price increases this year, so too has the rental market. The average weekly rent for houses in Toowoomba has now hit $416, according to SQM Research, the highest level in more than a decade. Units, meanwhile, are now renting for $329 per week after reaching a multi-year high of $340 a week in November.
These price hikes are being driven in part by a scarcity of available rental properties. For example, there were only 165 properties listed for rent in Toowoomba in the week ending 1 November, the lowest number in more than a decade. We’re seeing many tenants choosing to stay put and renew their existing leases rather than compete in a tight rental market for a new home. Some are even offering to pay above and beyond the asking rent and sign long term fixed leases in order to maintain their tenancy.
Looking Ahead to 2022
Demand for property here in Toowoomba continues to outstrip supply, and we anticipate the strong market conditions we’ve seen this year will continue into the next. Experts are predicting our property market will experience a significant surge over the next five to ten years.
COVID living has seen us all put a bigger emphasis on our lifestyle at home, and the desire for a swimming pool, a second bathroom or a home office remains a focus for many buyers and tenants.
With our state and international borders now opening up, we could well see more new buyers and tenants arriving here in Toowoomba from outside Queensland.
Housing affordability declined across the country during the September quarter, with the proportion of income needed to meet loan repayments rising to 36.2%, according to the REIA. While property in Toowoomba remains relatively reasonably priced in comparison to the capital cities, as prices here continue to rise, affordability will be something to keep an eye on.