Rockhampton saw the highest increase in house sales in the March quarter according to REIQ.
Rockhampton saw the highest increase in house sales in the March quarter according to REIQ. Kevin Farmer

Rocky tops state for house price increase with huge spike

ROCKHAMPTON's property market is Queensland's stand-out performer in the March quarter with a 15 per cent jump in its median house price to $265,000 but the REIQ zone chairman has advised the public not to read too much into the statistics.

Noel Livingston said he had always been very sceptical of median prices and the way they reflected the market.

"If you look at the 12 month period, it's down 4.9 per cent," Mr Livingstone, the REIQ Rockhampton zone chairman and Professionals Livingston and Molloy Real Estate principal, said.

"The median prices start at the top and go to the bottom and a line is drawn in the middle. It's a funny way to do things and it isn't the mean price.

"The bottom end of the market is getting very affordable and being swallowed up to some extent.

"There is a shift in focus in the market for different price points."

 

Noel Livingston.
Noel Livingston. Contributed

Mr Livingston believed the high end sales of upwards of a $1million, including Rockhampton's highest ever sale of $1.8million in March, influenced the 15.2 per cent increase.

Read: 'Extraordinary' home on The Range makes sale price history

Read: Report reveals real estate hot spots in Rocky

Another impact was "diminished stock" in the bottom end of the market.

 

Central Queensland Rent Market March Quarter 2019 showed Rockhampton had a 15.2 per cent increase in sales.
Central Queensland Rent Market March Quarter 2019 showed Rockhampton had a 15.2 per cent increase in sales. REIQ

"If there weren't all those high end sales and the bottom end of the market still had as much stock as previous quarters, we wouldn't have seen those figures - they have a reflection," he said.

"It hasn't increased our market. It's just a reflection to show you the price points and the difference between the different price points which weren't there before.

"There are more people upgrading and moving to town and buying higher end properties. Before there was a focus on the bottom end of the market."

A rise in prices at the very lower end of the market had also had an influence, with houses around $150,000 all being "swallowed up".

"It became a really great area for the first home buyers to take the opportunities they could," Mr Livingston said.

"Kids were getting into their first homes for $200,000 or less. It was a wonderful opportunity and it was stacked up dollar for dollar against rentals.

"People were better off buying than renting and there's a lot of that going on."

 

Central Queensland Median House Price March Quarter 2019
Central Queensland Median House Price March Quarter 2019 REIQ

Because of Adani and other infrastructure projects creating jobs within the area, there has been a rise in investments back in the market, with investors reaping the best returns from the lower end of the market.

In the last 12 months, Rockhampton's rental vacancy rate has dropped to 2 per cent, causing investors to take notice.

"If you're an investor looking to buy a rental property, you're scared to see 8.6 but when you see a tight number every quarter over 12 months, you have confidence," Mr Livingston said.

"You can buy a house for $200-$250,000 and get a decent return.

"It's of interest to investors and it will only improve with more and more demand for rentals and more investors coming in to fill that demand.

"It's all pretty good news."

 

Queensland Region's Median House Prices March Quarter 2019
Queensland Region's Median House Prices March Quarter 2019 REIQ

Despite Mr Livingston's dispute of the 15.2 per cent rise, he said the report still showed positive results for Rockhampton.

Member for Rockhampton Barry O'Rourke said Labor would be digging deep to provide support to infrastructure funding.

"We know places like Rockhampton need their fair share," Mr O'Rourke said.

Adani's Impact

After REIQ's latest Queensland Market Monitor revealed Rockhampton's property sales had a 15.2 per cent increase within the March quarter, it was expected the approval of Adani would further bolster the region's property sales growth.

REIQ Rockhampton zone chairman Noel Livingston said despite the data being influenced by an increase in high end sales and a diminished bottom end of the market, the approval of the mine would result in further change.

Mr Livingston believed future markets could expect a "very positive response" from the announcement.

"Adani will stimulate the market," Mr Livingston said.

"For so long, our market has been influenced totally by the jobs market.

"When so many jobs were ripped out of us when mining went pear shaped, there have been gradual changes in the market.

"This will be another major change."

 

Warren Ebert
Warren Ebert Phil Hargreaves Productions

Sentinel Property Group managing director Warren Ebert said the approval of Adani's Carmichael rail and coal project would prove a catalyst for a regional economic boom.

"Finally giving the green light to Adani will be a major boost to the economy in Townsville and throughout other regional areas crying out for job opportunities," Mr Ebert said.

"The Adani project will provide thousands of high paying jobs, not just one off handouts.

"The project will deliver 1,500 direct and 6,750 indirect jobs during ramp up and construction."



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