Rocky bargains attract buyers to housing market

A ROCKHAMPTON property expert says the region's affordable prices and "safe" market should entice more first home buyers and investors in 2016.

REIQ Rockhampton zone chair Noel Livingston said the market was finding its feet after a tough year but he saw some encouraging signs with the rental vacancy rate tightening up and more investors trickling in.

His forecast for Rockhampton real estate comes as the latest Queensland Market Monitor report is released today.

The REIQ September quarter figures showed the median house sale price was $275,000 - a 7.4% drop on the previous quarter - and sales activity was down 5%.

Mr Livingston said the price drop reflected sales were "towards the bottom end" as more first home buyers entered the market in search of affordable houses.

"It's all about prices at the moment and Rockhampton has become quite attractive," Mr Livingston said.

"There's never been a better time."

There were 165 house sales for the September quarter and 15 acreage properties.

Berserker and Gracemere had the highest number of sales, with 18 properties each, followed by Frenchville and Norman Gardens, with 17 sold in each suburb.

Berserker also recorded the biggest median price growth on the previous quarter of 16.8% to $257,000.

Mr Livingston said Rockhampton had been impacted by the resources market downturn but it was not a victim of the "boom and bust" cycle seen in other areas.

It was traditionally seen as a safe market, which appealed to investors, he said.

He added the rural economy also had a significant impact on real estate.

"Cattle prices are good, providing we can get some rain," he said.

Mr Livingston said while the latest figures did not show any major movements, the rental market tightening was a positive sign.

"As the supply of rentals diminishes, it forces market prices back up again, which is encouraging to investors," he said.

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