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Lifestyle homebuyers flock to Queensland

The conventional wisdom that COVID-19 has caused homebuyers to flock to Queensland lifestyle locations appears to be backed up by new data from PropTrack.

In an annual snapshot of the national residential property market, PropTrack found the COVID-19 trend of buyers looking for a sea or tree change continued in 2021.

PropTrack Senior Economist Eleanor Creagh says the search for a better lifestyle, the effect of remote work giving people more choice about where they could live, and the relative affordability of regional housing markets compared to capital cities had seen an influx of buyers to the regions.

“Strong demand, a low supply of properties for sale and low interest rates combined to drive the fastest pace of price growth in more than three decades,” Creagh says.

HIGHEST PRICE RISES

In Queensland, the Sunshine Coast was the star performer in terms of house value increases with three suburbs making a list of the national top ten – the only Queensland entries.

Sunrise Beach recorded a massive 73% jump in average estimated value for houses, the third highest rise in Australia, with Warana (up 65%) and Peregian Beach (up 64%) seventh and eighth respectively.

In the national top 10 list of highest rising unit values, Peregian Beach (up 51%) came in at number five. Noosaville (up 51%) was at number six and Sunshine Beach (up 48%) at number 10.

In addition to being a commutable lifestyle location, Creagh says the Sunshine Coast and South East Queensland more generally were relatively affordable compared to Sydney or Melbourne.

“We’ve also seen a low supply of properties for sale which has contributed, alongside the increased demand that we’ve seen with a lot of interstate migration, to values surging in South East Queensland and particularly the Sunshine Coast,” she says.

IN-DEMAND SUBURBS

PropTrack also tracked demand from highly engaged buyers and found Buderim, again on the Sunshine Coast, was the second most in-demand suburb for houses nationally – attracting interest from more than 43,000 highly engaged buyers during 2021.

Also making the national top 10 were the Gold Coast suburbs of Coomera (number four) and Helensvale (number eight).

“The Gold Coast is popular with first homebuyers and investors, as well as owner-occupier buyers, so that’s contributing to the increased demand,” Creagh says.

In terms of units, Gold Coast suburbs made the top ten in-demand list with Surfers Paradise at number two and Southport at number seven.

Creagh says Surfers Paradise’s large number of high-density, high-rise apartment blocks meant it was no surprise to see increased demand for units.

BIGGEST GROWTH IN DEMAND

The biggest growth in demand for houses from highly engaged buyers during 2021 was in Queensland suburbs.

They made up most of the national top 10 list – with Logan Reserve demand growing 122%, Ripley 115%, Park Ridge 107%, Bowen 95%, Yarrabilba 86%, Stanthorpe 83%, Redbank Plains 81%, Gatton 80% and Pimpama 76%.

In terms of demand growth for units, Port Douglas, Newstead, Biggera Waters, Toowong, Cairns North and West End made the top 10 national list.

Creagh noted residents from NSW and Victoria were heading north at a record rate as Queensland experienced high levels of net migration during the pandemic.

“Queensland fits in the lifestyle demand in terms of beachside living and scenic coastlines, but there is also a relative affordability advantage,” she says. “It also fits into the demand for more space and larger blocks.”

In terms of time on market for houses, Bald Hills was at number one on the top 10 national list (at eight days) with Drewvale (at nine days) the other Queensland entry.

For the units’ national list, Mount Coolum came in at number three (at 10 days).