Regional QLD

The Smartline Report – April Edition

The month in review: Regional QLD

By Herron Todd White
April 2015


Toowoomba’s residential market continues to demonstrate strong levels of activity with interest from both owner occupiers and investors. Absentee investors have been a strong driver of the market, however agents are reporting reduced interest from this sector.

The residential vacancy rate now sits at a 2.9%. We point out that this represents a 60% increase in the vacancy rate over the past 12 months where it previously hovered around the 1.8% mark. This result can be attributed to the high levels of construction activity undertaken across the western suburbs throughout 2014.

House and land sales remain steady with infrastructure projects such as the QIC Grand Central / Garden Town redevelopment, the West Brisbane Wellcamp Airport and the proposed Second Range Crossing sustaining the momentum of the market and counteracting the effects of the easing resource sector.

Traditionally, vacant land in Toowoomba has been constrained by limited supply. The market was dominated by one prominent local developer for many years, however more recently, private developers have entered the market with focus around the western suburbs of Glenvale, Harristown, Cranley, Mount Kynoch and Cotswold Hills.

Demand for land in the suburbs of Middle Ridge, Kearneys Spring and Rangeville has traditionally outweighed supply with re-sales often occurring at significantly higher prices than original developer sales.

The median sale price for vacant land in Toowoomba has increased from $160,000 in 2013 to $175,000 in 2014. This number can vary significantly depending on which estates settle during the data capture period as there is a significant difference in values across the city. Land sales in infill estates generally attract premium prices as they are often purchased for unit development.

Middle Ridge recorded the greatest percentage increase with values rising by up to 38% from 2013 to 2014. The western suburbs now accommodate small lot estates, ranging in size from 150 square metres through to around 600 square metres. The smaller lots are new to the Toowoomba market and to date, sales of this product have been primarily to investors as part of house and land packages.

Hervey Bay

Construction activity in Hervey Bay has picked up over the past twelve months which has supplemented good steady demand for house and land packages from both interstate and intrastate purchasers. Feedback from local builders is very positive, with optimistic market sentiment contributing to ongoing new building contracts. The volume of vacant land sales seems to have improved in the surrounding localities of Nikenbah, Dundowran Beach and River Heads. Sale prices for vacant sites are still considered to be reasonable overall with excess stock slowly being absorbed. Some sites offering ocean views which back onto a nature reserve that precedes the beach (in Dundowran Beach), have achieved prices over $400,000 in recent times.

The main estates located close to schools and medical precincts appear to dominate buyer demand. The next stage of the centrally located Hervey Bay Heights estate in Kawungan has recently been completed, with prices reported to start from $160,000 up to $195,000. Sales of completed dwellings within the next stage of Augustus on the fringe of Urraween have been sluggish over the past two months, however look to be improving.


There are a number of newish estates in the Bundaberg region that are attracting interest with steady sales of vacant land.

The third stage of the Fairways estate at Bargara has seen vacant lots selling at around $170,000 for average lots of about 800 square metres.

The Views estate at Bargara has average size lots of 800 square metres selling for $155,000.

The latest stage of Belle Eden at Ashfield on the eastern edge of Bundaberg city is selling vacant lots for the mid $170,000s. Edenbrook in the established suburb of Norville is selling the remaining vacant lots of around 1,012 square metres for $180,000.

Branyan near the river in Bundaberg is an estate that has developed smaller lot sizes and is not very well received by the local market with mostly investor sales to southern purchasers.

Sales in the Bundaberg area seem to have increased in volume with upward pressure expected when current stocks are exhausted.


You are spoilt for choice when it comes to vacant land in the Gladstone region!

There are multiple large estates in Gladstone city, most of which are situated along Kirkwood Road between the Dawson Highway and Gladstone Benaraby Road. Investors appear to have largely retreated from the market and the primary focus from land developers is on owner occupiers. There is very strong competition in the residential land market given the weak demand for a high supply of residential lots. As a consequence market depth is limited.

Values for vacant land have fallen since the buoyant 2010 to 2012 period and now appear to be in a more realistic and compressed range of approximately $190,000 to $220,000 across a broad range of modern residential estates.

While there is high risk associated with developing further stages of residential lots, most developers in Gladstone appear to be carefully monitoring market conditions and releasing small sub stages comprising a smaller volume of lots.


After surviving Cyclone Marcia the Rockhampton region is getting back to business. While there were some properties affected by the cyclone our focus for this month is land. Land, land, land and more land. Needless to say apart from a few trees and other minor debris most vacant land in the area is waiting and ready to be built on.

Land sales in the region have been fairly steady throughout 2014 and into 2015. Within Rockhampton itself there are two main areas in which land is available and both are in the northern suburbs. Norman Gardens has been the main focus throughout the last decade and Parkhurst is now offering a number or options and is taking over as the major growth corridor for Rockhampton.

Norman Gardens has traditionally been developed with standard block sizes of around 700 to 800 square metres and some blocks up to 1,000 square metres. A number of new developments have been actively producing small lots of around 400 square metres and these have mainly been targeted to investors with some locals also enjoying less land to look after. Prices start from approximately $160,000 and range up to $200,000.

On the other side of the river there has been a number of land sales scattered around the hillside suburb of The Range in the mid to high $200,000s. These allotments are very scarce and the limited land available within the southern suburbs results in higher pricing. A small unique Group Titles subdivision is offering land from the mid $170,000s for blocks of approximately 500 square metres.

The majority of land ranges from 700 square metres to 900 square metres in size with some offering water views. Prices start in the mid $150,000s albeit without the water view. A number of developments also provide options of larger land sizes offering a rural residential lifestyle with allotments of around 4,000 square metres.

Finally Gracemere has continued to feel the effects of the mining downturn with land sales being relatively slow in this area. Land is available within a number of estates offering general house blocks from 700 square metres ranging in price from mid $110,000. These lots are offering a lower price point for those still looking to build in the area.


The Mackay market has been feeling the effects of the mining industry slowdown, with falling property prices across the region. Land has not been missed in the down turn, with falling sales volumes and reducing values across almost all estates in Mackay. Building approvals across Mackay are also falling with reductions over the past three quarters of data.

We have very different levels of estates in Mackay, ranging from estates in the northern beaches which are primarily marketed toward house and land package buyers (mainly for investment product) through to estates such as Mira Flores, Richmond Hills and Shoal Point Waters which are marketed primarily toward owner occupiers.

Values in these estates have fallen between 10% and 20% on the back of reduced demand. Modern estates are now offering buyer inducements in the form of cash backs, building grants and the like to secure sales.

It is not uncommon to find sales in these estates at below $200,000 which was virtually unheard of 18 months ago.

These falling values have had a bigger flow on effect to outerlying towns and suburbs such as Marian and Mirani in the Pioneer Valley and Sarina and coastal villages to the south. Values in these towns rose significantly higher than Mackay from 2010 to 2013 as people looked for more affordable options, however have now fallen back to similar levels as 2010.


You are spoilt for choice in the Whitsundays for land. You can choose between a gated estate known as Villa Britannica with all lots having ocean and island views and selling in the low $300,000s or you can head out to the Whitsunday airport and buy a lot and build your dream home with a plane hanger. This is also a gated estate where lots are also available around the low $300,000.

If it is acres you want, then Whitsunday Acres has lots starting from as low as $170,000.

You also have an ocean front 23 lot subdivision known as the Cove located at the Port of Airlie. These lots are only now ready to build on with only eight lots left. These started at $445,000 up to $1.2 million.

Or if it’s out of town you want with the rural residential lifestyle lots than there are sales for two plus hectares starting from $150,000 at locations like Strathdickie, Gregory River, Mount Marlow, Sugarloaf and Woodwark.

Or if it’s a steep sloping lot in or around Airlie then prices start in the low $100,000 to the middle to high $100,000 There is also land available around a new proposed golf course.

We have all tastes covered in the Whitsundays.

Please note that information in this publication is subject to change without notice. Smartline assumes no responsibility for any errors, omissions or mistakes in this document. © Smartline Home Loans P/L 1999 – 2015. Australian Credit Licence Number 385325


Share on:

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.