Brisbane unit prices up 3.8% in sluggish June quarter but mixed-bag of results for apartment development hotspots: REIQ
Unit and townhouse prices in Brisbane increased by 3.8% over the June quarter to a median of $402,500 but sales volumes fell as some buyers awaited stamp duty changes that kicked in on July 1, according to new figures published by the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ).
The strong quarterly performance means unit prices are now down just 1.5% on a year ago, with a 12-month median price of $399,000.
The REIQ noted an increase in the number of high-end unit sales in Brisbane city and city-fringe suburbs, which it says “augurs well for confidence levels amongst buyers”.
It also noted an increasing number of first-home buyers and investors in the market (these two groups are unaffected by the July 1 stamp duty changes) compared with owner-occupiers over the June quarter.
There was a mixed bag of results for inner-city suburbs, which are the focus of a wave of new apartment projects, with around 40 in various stages of development and construction.
In the Brisbane CBD, where Harry Triguboff’s Meriton group is building Brisbane’s tallest residential tower, the 81-level Infinity tower featuring 546 apartments, prices climbed 37.2% to a median $532,500 to be down only 0.5% year-on-year
In Hamilton, site of Devine and Leighton Holdings $500 million Hamilton Harbour mixed-use development along the northern banks of the Brisbane river, unit and townhouse prices were up nearly 10% over the quarter to a median of $445,000 – down 0.4% year-on-year.
Also along the northern banks of the Brisbane River, Newstead unit prices rose 57.6% over the quarter to a median of $750,000 due to a high number of waterfront properties. Year-on-year they are down nearly 13%.
In neighbouring New Farm, apartment prices rose nearly7% to a median of $510,000 but are down 4.8% year-on-year.
However, over the quarter, median prices fell in 6.4% in Fortitude Valley ($379,000), 17.1% in the West End ($487,000) and 16.7% in another development hub, Woolloongabba ($400,000).
~ Medians affected by varying quality of stock sold
The stamp duty concession provides a concessional stamp duty rate of 1% up to a value of $350,000, with stamp duty charged at normal rates for the remaining value of the home purchase.
However, there may be an artificial lull in the number of first-home buyer purchasing new apartments in the final months of 2012 depending on when the state government new $15,000 handout for new home purchase kicks-in. The government has plans to scrap the $7,000 first-home owner grant.
“As was the case with the house market, there was reduced unit and townhouse sales activity over the June quarter as many buyers waited for the return of the stamp duty concession on 1 July,” REIQ chief excecutive Anton Kardash says.
“However, as first-home buyers and investors were unaffected by the stamp duty change, these buyers were more prominent over the June quarter.
“Given the affordability of units and townhouses, as well as their often more central locations, first-time buyers and investors often compete for this type of property, which may be partly responsible for the increases in median prices we experienced over the period.”
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