Regional QLD

The Smartline Report – May Edition

The month in review: Regional QLD

By Herron Todd White
May 2015


The hype surrounding Toowoomba as an investor hot spot has continued to encourage growth across the residential sector for the start of 2015. The main activity in the Toowoomba market is focused around the sub $600,000 mark, with less activity above this price point.

Prestige properties in the Toowoomba region generally sit around the $800,000 price point and above. The suburbs accommodating the majority of homes in this price bracket include East Toowoomba, Mount Lofty, Prince Henry Heights, Redwood, Rangeville and Middle Ridge.

There were 13 sales of dwellings in excess of $1 million in 2013 and the same in 2014, indicating the thinly traded nature of this market in Toowoomba.

Here is an example of a recent sale of a heritage listed colonial dwelling in East Toowoomba which sold for $1.1 million.


There have been six sales in 2015 to date, which is an early indication of slightly more activity in this sector. There have been four sales in excess of $2 million since the start of 2014 with the most recent transaction setting a recent benchmark price selling at auction for $2.84 million.


Extended selling periods greater than twelve months are often required to achieve a sale, however there has been a recent trend of much shorter selling periods.

The prestige property market in Toowoomba appears to be influenced by broader economic sentiments rather than local conditions. Interest rate regressions appear to have prompted an increase in activity.

Prestige units are a very small component of the Toowoomba market. There are three existing residential towers that accommodate units over the $800,000 price point, these being The Parks, The Grosvenor and Cottesloe Crest. Traditionally, these have been tightly held properties but we have observed an increase in activity with seven sales over $800,000 since the start of 2013.


The outlook for the prestige property market in Toowoomba is expected to strengthen in the next two to three years given the low base of sales coming out of the post-GFC market. With increasing land prices across the city and increasing construction costs, there is opportunity for buyers to secure very large, established dwellings in premier localities at prices significantly less than their current day replacement cost.

Hervey Bay
Sales of prestige property for dwellings in Hervey Bay have been gradually increasing over the past twelve months. Price points vary from suburb to suburb, however generally start at $500,000 with most sales occurring up to $750,000. Particular suburbs achieving these prices include Urraween, Wondunna, Dundowran Beach and Craignish, together with Esplanade property. Prestige dwellings generally comprise high quality, modern or refurbished fit out, with extensive living and outdoor areas, set on lots over 2,000 square metres. Most homes of this calibre boast extensive ancillary improvements with inground pool and sheds, with some sites offering expansive ocean or district views.

Buyer’s market conditions remain for prestige units, with most high end property selling below $650,000. Property in this category is predominantly located along the Esplanade in Pialba, Scarness, Torquay and Urangan. Views of the ocean vary depending on the floor level, along with the location along the Esplanade with best views arguably situated near the Urangan Pier. Overall, demand for prestige property is expected to continue to improve for detached dwellings, however units will be slower with only moderate or static demand to date.

This month we are looking at the prestige sector of the Bundaberg and coastal market.

In this area, prestige is considered to be mostly properties over the $600,000 mark.

These properties are mostly situated in Bargara on Miller Street which is the waterfront esplanade, Beach Milleau at Bargara, Barolin Esplanade at Coral Cove or the upmarket estates in Bundaberg such as Coral Gardens, Edenbrook or the Belle Eden estate.

An example of a sale is 68 Barolin Esplanade, Coral Cove for $1 million, a 6-bedroom, 4-bathroom 2-car garage with rocky foreshore frontage.

This sector is a thinly traded market with only nine sales over $600,000 recorded in the past six months according to RP Data.

Our market overall is steady with most buyers taking a cautious approach. We see this market remaining steady in the short and medium term.

With a reduction in the number of sales there would appear to be good opportunities for buyers in the year ahead.

The prestige sector of the Gladstone residential market has been moderately active over the past 12 months with 12 sales occurring over $800,000 which is roughly the price range where the prestige sector kicks off. Six of these sales were over $1 million and two of these occurred in 2015.

As for location, these properties tend to be scattered over the region. Beecher and Burua are modern rural residential suburbs of Gladstone and comprise several prestige homes on one hectare lots. Other popular prestige locations are Tannum Sands (beachside suburb) and Boyne Island (riverside suburb) plus various Gladstone city suburbs most of which are elevated sites offering district and harbour views.

The dwelling prestige sector was not subject to the giant price increases that the rest of the market experienced during the most recent boom. As such, in the current market, this sector has not seen the significant declines in value either. This cannot be said however for the prestige unit market in Gladstone. The market for all units in Gladstone has strong links to the performance of the rental market. Accordingly, the market for units in the Gladstone region is inherently volatile. There is currently an over supply of units in the location and demand is very weak with very few sales occurring.

The highest recent transaction to occur in Gladstone is the sale of Turtle Island which is located in Gladstone Harbour. This 9.4 hectare island sold for just over $2.1 million in late 2014. Access to the island is by boat or helicopter only via a helipad and jetty. The island is improved with a 4-bedroom, 4-bathroom, semi modern home with a total area of 550 square metres under the main roof.

The prestige property market in Rockhampton itself is considered to be price points above $700,000, with very little activity (either current or historical) above $1.5 million. One local suburb that features prestige property is The Range, however there is a small market sector in Frenchville and Norman Gardens also.

Prestige properties on The Range typically provide large, fully renovated Queenslanders in an elevated position with either city or western district views. Renovations have been completed to a high quality and often have a modern extension providing a more functional layout than that of a traditional Queenslander.

North of the river in Frenchville and Norman Gardens, the prestige product is characterised by modern, large homes, again of high quality and often with city views.

The Empire penthouse sold off the plan in 2012 for $1.385 million. This is by far the highest unit sale locally and has a unique corner position with views over the CBD, suburbs, Berserker Ranges and Fitzroy River.

On the Capricorn Coast, after a number of years of market correction, prestige property is now residential dwellings over $650,000, and to achieve this level of value the property must have a sought after position either elevated with expansive views or have the benefit of absolute ocean frontage.

There has been a recent sale on the Capricorn Coast of an absolute ocean front dwelling with a northerly aspect which sold in October 2014 for $2.1 million.

This was a modern home providing 5-bedroom, 6-bathroom living accommodation over three levels with just under 600 square metres of living area and included a bar, theatre and elevator.

The performance of the prestige market sector in Rockhampton is best described as sporadic with solid prices being achieved for the highest quality homes in well regarded localities. The south side prestige market is considered stronger than that of the north side due to the limited supply combined with a stronger demand. There is also a pattern establishing of cashed up professionals moving into the region and purchasing property with little regard for the local market (often finding Rockhampton affordable in comparison to southern regions or cities).

It is not expected that any sudden movements in interest rates will significantly influence the prestige market sector in the region as these buyers are in strong financial positions.

The most recent sale of interest in this market sector is currently under contract. This is also a resale and represents an increase of approximately 37% on the previous sale in late 2012 with some improvements made in this time. The property provides modern 5-bedroom, 2-bathroom living accommodation with over 300 square metres of living area, double car accommodation, pool and expansive outdoor areas in the established and well regarded suburb of The Range. This property was not officially listed on the market, however an offer was received and accepted. This is not uncommon for high quality property in sought after locations in the Rockhampton region.

The prestige market in Mackay is generally regarded as being around the $800,000 mark and above. In the past 12 months, we have seen 13 recorded sales of residential or rural residential properties over this price and only three of those were above $1 million, with the maximum recorded sale at $1.1 million. As avid readers of the Mackay column would know, the market in Mackay has fallen over the past 12 to 18 months on the back of a weakening resources sector and flow on effects to service industries in Mackay. To highlight this, a similar 12 month search from April 2012 to April 2013 revealed 54 recorded sales over the $800,000 mark with the top sale at $2.65 million (a Mackay record).

An estate known as Settlers Rise is fast becoming one of Mackay’s prestige estates, with large executive style dwellings on larger allotments. In the period April 2012 to April 2013 this estate saw five sales above $800,000 ranging from $815,000 to $1.45 million. In the 12 months to April 2015, this number dropped to two sales, both resales. The first sale at $920,000 in December 2014 previously sold in February 2012 for $1.1 million. The second has just settled at $940,000 (agent’s advice) with a previous sale price of $1.022 million in September 2012.

At present, the prestige market in Mackay is probably at value levels not seen in the past ten years. With historic low interest rates, a potential bottoming out (hopefully, fingers crossed!!) of the general residential market, it may be an opportune time to seek out prestige property in the Mackay region.

The prestige housing sector in Cairns starts in the current market climate at about $750,000, with a super prestige sector cutting in at about $1.5 million.

The market essentially consists of four elements: • beachfront houses along the northern beaches; • homes in the more elevated areas of suburbs such as Edge Hill, Whitfield, Mooroobool, Earlville and Bayview Heights; • some acreage properties in the northern beaches suburbs such as Kewarra Beach; and • a small number of penthouse and sub-penthouse apartments in areas such as the CBD, Palm Cove and Trinity Beach.

Houses in the $750,000 plus category are thinly traded. There were 90 house sales in Cairns priced at $750,000 or more during 2014 out of a total market of approximately 2,500 house sales. Of these four were priced at $1.5 million or more. There were also 19 apartment sales over $750,000 during 2014, of which one was above $1,500,000.

Conditions in the prestige sector have been slow, but properties are nevertheless starting to turn over again as the market rebuilds. We expect the market to continue improving as local economic conditions continue to recover, though lagging the market in general due to the shortage of buyers with the resources to participate in this sector.

Around the Cairns region there are also small pockets of prestige housing located in Port Douglas, especially on Wharf Street, Flagstaff Hill and some in Mission Beach.

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


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