By Herron Todd White
March 2020

Rockhampton Property Updates

Rockhampton homes vary greatly from pre-1900s Queenslanders right through to your modern estate built brick homes. Typically the older established areas such as Wandal, The Range and Allenstown in the south and Berserker, Park Avenue and Koongal on the north side comprise high set timber and fibro homes, mostly being built between 1930 and 1975. After this, the 1980s through to the early 2000s suburbs such as Frenchville, Norman Gardens and Kawana experienced expansion in the form of single and two-level brick homes.

As to buyer profiles, there has never been a defined trend amongst the various buyer types as most categories have been spread across these areas.

It should be noted however that in more recent years many of the first home owners have been attracted to new housing estates in suburbs such as Gracemere, Parkhurst and Norman Gardens, taking advantage of the government grants and financial benefits on offer. The older suburbs, however, can in many cases offer much lower entry level prices which can also be attractive. The last decade has seen a large number of first home owners buying and upgrading albeit some choose to renovate or extend their existing homes.

In summary, it is difficult to foresee any major changes in these buyer profiles moving forward and a sporadic spread is the best way to sum up where different types of home owners are operating. Whether it be upgraders, downsizers, retirees, family buyers or first home owners, all of these various profiles are operating within the various suburbs discussed above.

Speak with a Rockhampton Mortgage Broker today.

Gladstone Property Updates

Much the same as most other regional locations across Central Queensland, Gladstone has a good mix of home owner types. Investors have been very prominent during boom periods, however first home owners and upgraders have taken the market share of purchasers over the past two to three years.

It’s not hard to recognise the value to be had in the current market even after having seen minor price growth over the past 12 months. We have seen a marked increase in demand for executive style large four-bedroom homes on larger lots and typically with pools or sheds. The increase in demand has come from out of town buyers (typically from southern markets) wanting to downsize their mortgage but at the same time not wanting to compromise on quality or features.

Mackay Property Updates

The Mackay residential market has a good mix of home owners and potential purchasers, with no real defined trend among different demographics.

We do have three broad market types though, comprising lower level which predominantly is sub- $300,000 to $350,000, middle markets which are between $400,000 and $700,000 and the prestige market which is $700,000 and above.

Within the lower level, we are seeing a significant increase in first home buyers entering the market, with local lenders and agents reporting most activity in this price bracket. This can be attributed to a number of reasons. For example, Mackay underwent a significant downturn between 2013 and 2017, in which market values fell 20 to 30 percent. This fall in value has created relative affordability in the Mackay market that was not prevalent in years gone by. One negative effect from the downturn that has affected first home buyers is the tougher lending criteria by banks and coupled with the Banking Royal Commission, this has put far greater tests on borrowers, particularly with deposits. This has made it far more difficult for first home buyers to save deposits for middle markets and therefore they are choosing the lower-level market. Those who have been able to save larger deposits have definitely taken advantage of the first home owner’s building boost and built new dwellings usually in the $450,000 to $500,000 price range.

The middle markets have also been active in Mackay over the past two years. The main purchasers in this price bracket are upgraders and new residents moving to Mackay, usually established families. Prior to the downturn, Mackay had a reputation as being a mining town with affordability and cost of living being a big hindrance to non-mine related employees. That has definitely changed, with Mackay now back on the radar for teachers, police, ambulance, firefighters and other occupations who previously may have avoided Mackay. The only downside to this market segment is that the median price of dwellings fell by around $100,000, with some falls higher within this price bracket. That erosion of equity has limited the ability of some who purchased at the peak of the market to sell their existing homes.

The last market segment is the prestige market which has also seen good activity over the past two years. Again, this comes down to affordability and the fact that the majority of prestige dwellings selling in Mackay are usually below replacement cost, offering good value for money for those able to afford them. Purchasers in this market are usually good middle-income upgraders as well as other professionals who waited during the downturn until values stabilised and have now entered the market. Construction of large executive and architect designed dwellings has also increased over the past two years on the back of renewed confidence in the Mackay economy.

Speak with a Mackay Mortgage Broker today.

Hervey Bay Property Updates

Hervey Bay has a good mix of purchasers across most of our asset classes.

The entry-level range sub-$350,000 appeals to first home owners and downsizers. These homes are generally smaller three- or four-bedroom properties. This asset class also appeals to investors as gross returns can be upwards of five percent in some cases. Mid-range property up to $600,000 comprises a broad range from residential houses, acreage or even small scale rural lifestyle blocks. This market is also a mix of owners and investors. Homes are generally larger and ancillary improvements become more extensive.

$600,000 to $800,000 sees predominantly owner-occupiers in the Dundowran Beach, Craignish and Wondunna acreage locations. Again, these are large homes with extensive ancillary improvements. This range is also the base level entry for Esplanade homes along the Hervey Bay foreshore.

Prestige homes above $800,000 are generally found along the Esplanade in Hervey Bay and this is an owner-occupier market. Although the buyer profile has not changed, there appears to be more confidence in this market sector over the past 12 months which is encouraging for the area.

Another market that has continued to gain momentum over the past 12 months is the RV park owner with a number of complexes currently under construction in Hervey Bay.

Speak with a Hervey Bay Mortgage Broker today.

Emerald Property Updates

While values continue to slowly rise, turnover has not yet matched that of former glory years. This is mainly due to a large portion of property owners still with negative equity having purchased in the boom years and not yet able to get out. Time is slowly changing this but it has stopped a lot of activity in the upgrade market and people moving around. We therefore are seeing predominantly new first-time home buyers, people moving to town or existing renters now buying. The rental market has firmed considerably and with vacancy below two percent, we are likely to see a lot more renters looking to buy. There is definitely a large portion of young people in the town who have grown up here and stayed or who have moved to town with many jobs on offer in the resources sector and are buying. Typically, they are active in the sub-$400,000 range. Investors are still a minority but are starting to show a bit more activity as rents have been increasing quicker then values in the majority.

Toowoomba/Darling Downs Property Updates

Toowoomba’s housing market is defined by a wide variety of home owners. It sees a strong cross-section of first time owners, families and retirees. The dominant demographic group is couples of varying structures with over 80 percent of the local population in a couple, with or without children. When examining the age profile of the Toowoomba region, it is apparent that young adults are often exiting the region and returning in their 30s and 40s to raise a family.

The eastern suburbs including Rangeville, Centenary Heights and Middle Ridge are popular with families, often replacing the traditional retiree demographic. East Toowoomba and Mt Lofty are popular with more affluent families as well as empty nesters.

Over the past five years or so, there has been an increase in international buyers who have relocated to Toowoomba to capitalise on the employment opportunities in the government, public and private health sectors and the education sector. These buyers have tended to seek out new dwellings in the developing areas of Middle Ridge and Kearneys Spring.

First home owners are well catered for in Toowoomba, with entry affordable housing available in the inner and outer western suburbs including Newtown, Glenvale, Wilsonton, Rockville and Harlaxton. These areas are experiencing a strong level of renovation works. First home buyers may experience difficulties entering the market within the desired eastern suburbs and often have to resort to secondary locations to enter the market.

As at the 2016 census, Toowoomba had a higher than average level of couples without children, a factor further encouraging a greater level of small lot construction and an influx of retirement village product.

Speak with a Toowoomba Mortgage Broker today.

Townsville Property Updates

Figures show that Townsville’s demographic composition by age structure changed significantly over the ten years from 2008 to 2018. The proportion of persons in the population aged 55 and over has progressively increased from 18.9 percent to 23.9 percent due to the combined impacts of baby boomers entering these age ranges, population ageing and older people remaining affiliated with Townsville rather than moving elsewhere. Meanwhile, the proportion of the population aged either 10 to 19 or 35 to 44 has diminished from 29.8 percent to 26.3 percent, suggestive of families with high school or university age children having a lesser attachment to the region.

Trends in the age composition of the population will not only have economic implications for Townsville and its future labour supply but also impact on future housing styles and choices in the Townsville property market.

We have started seeing a move by downsizers towards inner-city unit living, particularly within the suburb of North Ward. This style of housing provides low maintenance options for retirees whilst being in close proximity to lifestyle amenities such as The Strand, cafes and entertainment.

First home buyers are currently preferencing new home construction or packages, whilst we are also seeing movement from buyers currently residing in the outer suburbs to suburbs within closer proximity to the city centre.

Speak with a Townsville Mortgage Broker today.

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DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is correct at the time of publishing and is subject to change. It is intended to be of a general nature only. It has been prepared without taking into account any person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this information, Smartline recommends that you consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances. Smartline recommends that you seek independent legal, financial, and taxation advice before acting on any information in this article.