The month in review: Brisbane
By Herron Todd White
After the somewhat deflating year that was 2015, most would like to think the coming 12 months will be a cracker. Last year showed so much early promise. Although near city suburbs fired up a bit, everyone holding their breath and expecting a rush of capital gains was, on the whole, left disappointed come year’s end.
We’ve now taken the real-estate temperature and are ready to predict the coming year’s market direction… and the winner is (drum roll please)… MODEST!
Ok. I may have oversold the tension, but all signs are, in a general sense, Brisbane property owners can expect an unexciting 2016 with reasonable gains across most markets. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Booms can lead to busts. If buyers in Sydney are exhausted after their markets thrilling ride, then Brisbane might be just the tonic.
Of course, a single description of our city’s market doesn’t capture its nuances. Different sectors will perform at their own pace, so here’s our take and which look good, and which have been hit with an ‘ugly stick’.
The good news first – there are near city localities well worth consideration. Morningside, Murarrie and Carina have potential for growth as the East Village project comes to completion. Neighboring suburbs also provide potential for capital gains. With detached dwellings priced between $500,000 and $800,000, these areas are certainly affordable for the modern-day buyer.
Another tip is to stay within established, owneroccupier areas and look for affordable detached homes that could do with a lick of paint. Suburbs such as Stafford Heights and Geebung offer facilities, service and access – and with detached 3-bedroom housing for half the price of a Sydney bedsit. If you can buy a cheapie and do a little work on it, all the better. If you want to come a little closer in and spend a bit more dough, how about looking at Enoggera and Wavell Heights to the north, or Holland Park to the south. They’ll be a bit pricier than addresses further out, but this is solid property with plenty of upside potential.
Unit hunters who are regular readers will not be surprised to hear us recommend second-hand unit stock in areas with a large potential tenant base this year. Buy well layed out but unrenovated stock in a quiet location. Keep yourself within 5 kilometres of the city and make sure there’s potential to improve the unit. Once this holding becomes neutrally geared, you can ‘set and forget’ until retirement.
In terms of suburbs that should be treated with caution, we continue to warn buyers to watch their step with inner-city, off-the-plan units. This sector is a concern due to the amount of investor stock nearing completion. Add to this the number of proposed projects, along with the signs of declining rents because of rising supply, and you’ll realise why product designed specifically for the investor market is of the most worry. If you must get into this market, then seriously consider well designed, owner-occupier type units to broaden your potential buyer base. In addition, units designed for owners are normally of better quality fit out and finish, with more thoughtful design, so their appeal is universal.
So the year ahead is expected to be solid and stable with the best opportunities reserved for those seeking the affordable housing in established suburbs.