Sales stampede: Property market booms as southerners move in
A STAMPEDE of southern buyers fleeing the capital cities and the coronavirus pandemic is driving a new boom in the Rockhampton region’s real estate sales market.
In recent months, Rockhampton’s Mr Real Estate owner and principal Jason Rayner said they were selling a house a day but sales were now accelerating towards an average of two per day.
A 20-year veteran in the industry, Mr Rayner was greatly encouraged by the surge in sales activity, which he attributed to increased employment, an extremely tight rental market, and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I believe that this is probably the best that I’ve seen it since 2013, based not only on the number of homes that are settling each month and also the (sale) price is starting to show signs of confidence,” Mr Rayner said.
“I keep in touch with valuers, banks, and with solicitors and they’re seeing numbers that have been the best they’ve seen for over 13 years.
“People are talking, people are commenting on Facebook, people are reacting, but more importantly, they’re taking action and they’re actually buying.”
Unable to source rental properties, it was workers for major projects including the Bruce Highway Northern Access, the re-roofing of thousands of hail impacted properties and the $1 billion Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area upgrade, who were driving property sales.
“We have about 1,100 rentals, and there was six active vacancies yesterday and today, there are three,” he said.
“There’s a rental crisis and that’s usually the start of a market recovery.
“As the rental property market becomes tight, the rents increase, so some of those buyers jump out and buy homes.”
It was starting at the bottom end of the market and “dominoing” its way up to the top.
He said the improving real estate market was good for the community, good for the city and a welcome change from the unfavourable economic conditions elsewhere around Australia.
One year ago, he said their agency was doing an average of 12 sales per month.
“This month we’ve done 34 contracts in 18 days. That’s huge,” he said.
“We were thinking it was busy (in recent months) doing one (sale) per day, and now it’s pushed up to almost two a day.”
Mr Rayner said he recently listed a four-bedroom property at 22 Tamarind Ave, Norman Gardens.
“We listed it for $645,000. I had upwards of 15 people at the open (house) and we sold it at the end of the open for $650,000,” he said.
“It was on the market for 30 minutes. A local businessman snapped it up.
“It was less than a 28 day turn around from when the property was listed to moving in, which is massive.
“If that’s not confidence, I don’t know what is.”
Based on the latest RP data figures for the greater Rockhampton region for October, he said there were around five settlements per day, working out to 145 sales per month.
“Which is a significant increase from the year before, at 90 sales – that’s up 20 to 30 per cent.
“It’s our time. The real estate clock has definitely turned over to full swing again and we’re starting to proceed up market, which I believe is happening at a fairly brisk rate.”
Based on current information, Mr Rayner projected the region could see 1,400 properties sold for the year, up from 1,200 in 2019.
During the boom period between 2005 to 2007, Mr Rayner said he was selling in excess of 100 properties per year.
This year he has cracked the elusive 100 barrier again.
“I used to pride myself on getting 100 sales per year and have been trying for the past 13 years and haven’t managed it,” he said.
“To get it this year, in a year of uncertainty and challenges, its just been a massive achievement and I feel proud of myself, the team and the community for supporting us.”
He said they were fielding a lot of enquiries from southerners, particularly from New South Wales and Victoria, who were eager to learn more about the Central Queensland lifestyle.
Provided they were able to cope with the northern heat, these southern buyers were a driving force in the market.
Mr Rayner was seeing a lot of grey nomads opting not to return to Victoria and southern visitors approaching him at open homes astonished by how safe they felt being far from the clutches of the pandemic.
“I think that feeling of freedom, the feeling of safety and that feeling of not having to worry about every person you talk to, it’s part of our attraction,” he said.
“I think we’re the best kept secret in Australia right now, and we’re trying to spread the word.”