Of the two key regional south-east Queensland property markets, the Sunshine Coast property market had a decidedly better year than the troubled Gold Coast market, according to Herron Todd White’s (HTW) year-in-review December report.
However, both remain distinctly buyers' markets, with opportunities for first-home buyers and investors (with a long-term view) to secure discounted purchases while the more expensive end of both markets remains under pressure.
Certainly there is much more upbeat tone to HTW's assessment of the Sunshine Coast than the Gold Coast.
“Well one thing is certain, 2012 has turned out to be much better than 2011. There seems to be an air of optimism around now with more and more people ‘doing things’,” is how HTW began its round-up of the Sunshine Coast market.
In comparison, HTW describes the Gold Coast as a “tough property market” with values having declined “across all property market subcategories with the prestige, unit and acreage markets hit the hardest”.
The Sunshine Coast property market was helped by the building of the $2.03 billion University Hospital at Kawana, with construction of the private hospital due for completion next year and with work now underway on the main hospital.
Another positive factor, according to HTW, was the changes in both the local and state governments earlier in the year, which helped improve confidence levels.
“The resultant effects are that we have seen a significant increase in activity.
“The main market where this has been felt has been the sub-$500,000 house market. Properties have been turning over more quickly, with some agents making noises about running out of stock.
“In this sector it doesn’t feel as if there is going to be a sudden spike in values, but certainly we expect that values will stabilise,” says HTW.
However, the Sunshine Coast resort investment unit market and prestige markets remain “quite tough”.
And while sales are being recorded and activity has improved, HTW says this is from sellers being prepared to meet the market, with buyers “smelling blood in the water and treating these properties harshly”.