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February 7, 2023 by ash

Property: The Qld regions among top price growth performers

PROPERTY prices in regional Queensland recorded the second highest growth in Australia last month, and while down on their peak, median values are still 47.1 per cent higher than March 2020.

The combined median dwelling price in regional Queensland, which includes all regions, including the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast, is now $606,000, just $110,000 less than the Brisbane dwelling median.

The PropTrack Home Price Index for January shows that Queensland’s top performing locations over the last quarter were all in the regions, with the Darling Downs recording the biggest growth in dwelling values, up 2.81 per cent in the past three months and 10.78 per cent over the year.

It was followed by the Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday region (+1.21% qtr, +5.73% yr), Toowoomba (+0.22%, 8.58%), Gold Coast (+0.15%, 1.72%), Townsville (+0.1%, 4.19%) and Central Queensland (+0.01%, +3.53%).

Brisbane South was the only metro market to record price growth over the same quarter, up 0.08 per cent, but it was down 2.85 per cent over the year.

Every other major SA4 region recorded value falls over the quarter, the data shows, but most were still up over the year, with the exception of Moreton Bay South (-2.02%), Brisbane West (-3.16%), Brisbane Inner City (-0.65%), Brisbane North (-4.7%) and the Sunshine Coast (-4.36%).

But this graph shows just how far property values have to fall to get back in line with pre-pandemic prices.

Since the peak of the pandemic property boom, Brisbane dwelling prices, which includes both houses and units, have fallen 3.76 per cent since the peak last year, according to the PropTrack report.

“Home prices have fallen at the fastest pace in more than a decade in Sydney, Brisbane and Hobart,” the report said.

Another report, released this week by CoreLogic, also found that Brisbane home prices had fallen at their fastest pace and rate in its history but remained 28 per cent higher than they were at the start of the pandemic in early 2020.

But it’s still just a drop in a very large bucket after values soared 42.1 per cent in Brisbane and 47.1 per cent in regional Queensland during the boom.

The PropTrack analysis shows Sunshine Coast dwelling values were down 4.36 per cent over 12 months, while other major regions posted positive growth over the same period.

But the Sunshine Coast was arguably the hottest market during the boom, with a number of uber rich snapping up properties for upwards of $10 million.

Cairns values were up 6.11 per cent in a year, albeit down 0.73 per cent over the quarter.

In Townsville, median dwelling values were up 4.1 per cent over the year and 0.1 per cent during the last quarter, while Gold Coast values were up 1.72 per cent and 0.15 per cent over the same periods.

The report noted that regional dwelling values nationally had held up “better than capital cities”, falling just 0.3 per cent in January to sit 0.32 per cent above the peak.

Combined capital city dwelling medians, in contrast, fell 0.11 per cent in January to sit 4.68 per cent below the peak.

PropTrack senior economist and report author Eleanor Creagh said national home prices had fallen for the 10th straight month, but added that the worst of the downturn appears to have passed.

“The rapid pace of price falls seen in June and July 2022 when interest rates first started rising has subsided and price falls have eased in most capital cities in recent months,” she said.

“National home price falls have also slowed, declining just 0.09 per cent in January 2023.”

But with another rate rise tipped when the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) meets next week, some vendors are being forced to meet the market, with borrowing capacities also in a nosedive.

Canstar analysis shows that another rise of 0.25 percentage points would see up to $143,000 wiped from the average borrowers capacity in 10 months.

Since April last year, a single income borrower has seen their capacity cut from $568,000 down to $435,000, a total loss of $133,000, while those on a dual income over the same period have seen their borrowing power sunk by $306,000, down from $1.3 million to $1 million.

“For years first home buyers have been struggling to raise a sufficient deposit to buy into the housing market,” Canstar’s finance expert Steve Mickenbecker said.

“Just when softening property prices have somewhat eased this burden, higher interest rates and repayments have now become the major impediment.”

The official cash rate currently sits at 3.1 per cent, up from a historic low of 0.1 per cent in April last year.