Regional QLD

The Smartline Report – May Edition

The month in review: Regional QLD

By Herron Todd White
May 2016

Toowoomba is renowned for its heritage and character homes. The inner city suburbs are dominated by these houses which were generally built between 1890 and the 1950s. These areas typically comprise heritage properties which are mostly colonial cottages or Queenslander style dwellings and represent the vast majority of
character housing across the Toowoomba region.Attributes that aid the popularity of these character homes include features such as high ceilings and VJ timber wall linings and the fact that they are suited to current restoration trends and modern extensions. Additionally, these areas are centrally located within close proximity of the CBD, schools and other established facilities.

The opportunity to buy colonial dwellings in Toowoomba is endless with 1930s workers cottages starting around the $210,000 mark. An example follows of an original, 3-bedroom timber cottage which sold in February for $219,000 in the inner suburb of Toowoomba City.

The more affordable character home options are available in the suburbs of Newtown, Toowoomba City, South Toowoomba and Harristown. A recent sale is shown below of a fully renovated, 4-bedroom colonial dwelling in South Toowoomba which sold for $740,000.

Higher value heritage dwellings can be found more readily in East Toowoomba and Mount Lofty. These suburbs feature tree lined streets and in some instances, larger lot sizes which are appealing to the prestige buyer segment. Close proximity to private schools and the convenience to the central business district underpin property prices in these areas.

East Toowoomba’s median house price has climbed from $442,000 to $455,000 from the end of 2015 to the first quarter of 2016. Detailed below is the recent sale of a 5-bedroom, renovated colonial dwelling in East Toowoomba which sold for $1.245 million. When it comes to character properties in Toowoomba, there remains somewhat of a polarisation in quality with some homes dilapidated and in need of repair and renovation while others are already immaculately restored with high end finishes and even in some cases, over-capitalised.

Sunshine Coast
The Sunshine Coast is considered to be relatively young when compared to other areas and especially when compared to capital cities and historical townships in Queensland such as Toowoomba and Maryborough. The area was first settled in the 19th century with development progressing slowly until tourism became an important industry around the 1950s and 1960s. Subsequently there are limited heritage style properties on the coast.

The sprinkling of heritage properties are mainly located within the hinterland and railway townships starting from Beerwah in the south to Pomona in the north incorporating the original main service centre of Nambour where the majority of these property types are found. The older style properties comprise mainly pre- and post-war 1930s to 1960s style dwellings with an entry price point for a home in original condition of circa $250,000. Typical with these homes are the fairly standard renovations carried out. New kitchens and bathrooms, polishing
of the timber floors and painting. Renovation 101. A challenge with these homes is that if there is a significant issue uncovered in the renovation process, repairing it can blow out costs.

The small fibro cottages that were once weekenders are one of the popular dwelling styles on the coast. Typically these are located within the original beachside suburbs of Caloundra, Maroochydore and Noosa. These are typically extended and renovated but the design features have evolved into new homes.

They become contemporary style fibrous cement homes with skillion roof, louvres, good outdoor spaces and a number of other cool features that all have some origin in the original beach shack. Entry level for an original beach shack can vary based on the location and the under lying land component.

The economics around the renovation process do have to be watched and monitored closely. Costs do have the potential to blow out given that various trades and builders aren’t interested in working on these types of homes as they do tend to be put in the too hard basket. While it may make more economic sense to bowl a home over and build from scratch, there is nothing like the character associated with renovating a classic.

Hervey Bay
Heritage property on the Fraser Coast is predominantly located in Maryborough, otherwise known as the Heritage City. Property in Maryborough dates back to the late 1800s with some buildings having been restored to a very high standard. Property which is heritage listed tends to have restrictions on what type of restoration work can take place in keeping with the age and period features. In recent times, the market in Maryborough
has been retracting and may represent good value for money depending on the quality and condition of improvements.

Dwelling styles of this era typically encompass the Queenslander and Colonial type homes, with large expansive verandahs, polished timber floorboards, fretwork and very high ceilings. High set dwellings typically achieve good breezes, minimising the need for air-conditioning. Depending on the overall condition and features of the property, price points range between $100,000 and $290,000 for most housing stock. A popular renovation recently observed has been the enclosure of a sleepout to create a walk-in robe and en suite, with some
recent refurbishment making good use of this sometimes under utilised space. Costs to renovate a Queenslander can easily snowball, with over capitalisation an important factor to consider before embarking on a project of this size.

A quick search of the Government Heritage Register of Queensland would indicate that there are no residential premises in Bundaberg that are heritage listed. The buildings listed on the register are ones such as the Arts Building, local original bridges and early Bundaberg schools. The suburbs closer to the CBD including Bundaberg West, Bundaberg South and Walkervale contain many older traditional Queenslander style homes that have been renovated.

These types of homes are also generally on larger size allotments (typically around 1,000 square metres) which also adds to their appeal. The larger Queenslander type dwellings as opposed to the smaller workers cottages are the ones that if renovated to a high standard, will attract the higher prices. Homes of this calibre are usually tightly held and attract a high level of interest when they become available, even in current market conditions.

There are no residential premises in Gladstone that are heritage listed. In saying this, suburbs closer to the city including Gladstone Central, West Gladstone and South Gladstone contain many older traditional Queenslander style homes. Many of these homes have been renovated to high standards and have some form of harbour or district view due to the hilly nature of central Gladstone. These types of homes are also generally on larger size allotments (typically around 1,000 square metres) which also adds to their appeal. Homes of this calibre are tightly held however can attract a fair level of interest when they become available, even in current market conditions.

The Queensland Heritage Council ( decides what is entered onto or removed from the Heritage Register. It considers each nomination individually against criteria stipulated in the Queensland Heritage Act 1992. A rudimentary count of the Queensland Government Heritage Register shows that there are approximately 76 heritage listed buildings in the Rockhampton area. Of those, approximately seven are residential dwellings and one is currently used as a multi-unit dwelling.

Most of these dwellings achieve their heritage status due to their architectural or aesthetic qualities as well as their contribution to the area’s history. Rockhampton’s heritage listed dwellings are generally located in established areas such as The Range where historically, the more affluent citizens built their homes due to the views and breezes the elevation afforded. These qualities still make them desirable today.

Price points vary, however indicate that location, land size and dwelling area, coupled with prestige attachment tend to dictate price rather than heritage status. For example, in 2012 there was a sale of a well located, 5-bedroom dwelling with over 400 square metres of living area and set on over 8,000 square metres which fetched $1 million. It was purchased even though it still required an extensive maintenance program to enhance its appearance.

On the other hand we believe that dwellings with heritage status located on typically sized, sub 1,000 square metre allotments with typical sized living areas would not fetch a premium price. This is due to the fact that there are other similar styles to choose from which do not have heritage constraints attached.

In the current market, it could be argued that it is unwise to purchase and renovate heritage listed property solely for capital gains purposes. Most current renovations are to enhance the property for personal enjoyment, even though owners are aware that they are over-capitalising.

The rental market is not affected by heritage listings, rather by market conditions and location. No more or
less rental income is achieved by the dwelling being heritage listed.

Mackay has limited heritage style dwellings. There are some pockets which are improved with large Queenslanders. The majority of these areas are located in South Mackay, close to the CBD and
other inner suburb areas, particularly around West Mackay. Properties comprise large dwellings on traditionally larger allotments. Renovations can vary from traditional highset look, to having the dwelling raised and fully enclosed underneath, although this can be difficult due to flood overlay in these areas. The main constraint when renovating is the high costs associated to restore these dwellings to their former glory. These homes over the past ten years have held good interest in the market and commanded premiums, particularly if renovated to a high standard.

It is considered that good quality Queenslanders will attract good interest and price levels, even in the current market.

In and around Airlie beach there are no heritage listed dwellings, however in and around Proserpine there are older dwellings located around the town centre, mainly the pubs and shop fronts.

There are some older dwelling located in and around Airlie Beach and Cannonvale usually with some sort of view. In some cases these 1960s and 1970s style dwellings are being renovated to look modern, however in most cases the properties are purchased for their location and view and the old dwellings are being knocked down and replaced with new dwellings.

Townsville was founded in 1864 and from a heritage perspective offers a uniquely Australian tropical character.

Some of the classic heritage styles found around Townsville include high set and low set Queenslander workers cottages, bungalows and colonials. The highest concentration of these properties is found within the inner city areas of Belgian Gardens, North Ward, Castle Hill, Townsville City and South Townsville, along with the fringing suburbs of Railway Estate, Hermit Park and Mysterton.

Buyers of this style of property typically appreciate the classical design and are attracted to the period features, finishes and use of natural products compared with modern day design.

Many of these older style homes fall within the character zoning of the local Town Plan, which aims to protect the traditional character and streetscape. Renovators have the potential to make good capital gains depending on when in the property cycle they purchase and what area and period the home falls within. Generally speaking period homes of circa 1920 that are well presented and located within desirable suburbs such as the inner city and Mysterton are harder to over-capitalise on than say homes of the circa 1950 to 1960 era, which may not be as appealing to buyers.

Heritage style property appeals to certain buyers, which results in a smaller market segment. Typical buyers of heritage style property have an appreciation for their classical design and for this reason they remain popular.

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 – 2016. Australian Credit Licence Number 385325

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