Brisbane shows how complex markets can be and illustrates the folly of generalisation.
My winter survey of sales activity and prices reveals that the number of rising markets across the Brisbane metro area is matched by the number of declining/danger areas – and in between are the majority of suburbs which are consistency or plateau markets.
Brisbane’s data shows the impact of the Covid-19 shutdown while also displaying a good level of resilience. The number of suburbs with rising sales activity (28) is lower than the Autumn 2020 survey (37), but better than at the same time last year (24).
There continues to be a high level of consistency markets (50 suburbs, down slightly from 56 in the previous survey). The existence of 28 growth suburbs and 50 consistency suburbs shows a solid degree of resistance to the virus crisis period. But also significant is the 113 plateau markets (suburbs where sales activity has dropped below the previous levels), the highest in three years.
Brisbane also has 21 suburbs ranked as declining markets, slightly fewer than in the previous quarterly survey (23) and substantially lower than six months ago (32). There are also seven danger markets, ones where sales activity and prices are down and vacancies are uncomfortably high.
The Brisbane market was poised for a long overdue boom before Covid-19 struck. As we wrote in the previous edition: “Every statistic that matters depicts uplift in the Brisbane market and prices are expected to rise in 2020. Many commentators have forecast a Brisbane boom in recent years, though many were simply assuming that the Queensland capital would follow the lead of Melbourne and Sydney. Brisbane, however, has lacked the core growth drivers that boosted markets in the two biggest cities.
“But, increasingly, growth parameters are lining up for Brisbane. Population data is favourable, the affordability comparison is helpful, surveyed investors say they are targeting Brisbane – and the major piece of the puzzle previously missing, infrastructure spending, is starting to happen.”
Because of those factors, we believe Brisbane will return to strength quickly in the recovery-from-corona phase.
As we often find with these surveys, there is particular strength in the northern suburbs of Brisbane – the Brisbane North precinct and the Moreton Bay LGA jointly account for half of the 28 suburbs ranked as rising markets. The southside has many of the struggling markets and Brisbane’s inner-city provides all of the danger markets.
In our analysis we divide the sprawling Brisbane City LGA into five precincts (inner, north, south, east and west) while the more distant parts of the metro area are covered by the LGAs of Ipswich, Logan, Redland and Moreton Bay – a total of nine precincts.
The Brisbane North precinct and its neighbour Moreton Bay Region are the standouts, as they have been in our surveys in the past.
The Moreton Bay Region LGA has regularly been the best-performing Brisbane market, boosted by affordability, good infrastructure and proximity to employment nodes (including a new university campus). And its status has been enhanced in this survey, with the number of rising suburbs increasing from eight to nine. This LGA also has 10 suburbs ranked as consistency markets, which overall creates a strong result for this precinct in a virus-impacted market.
Leading suburbs include Petrie (quarterly sales of 43-47-53-69-66), Strathpine (65-79-81-83) and Banksia Beach (46-54-67-68-70).
Brisbane North has 5 suburbs classified as rising markets, 9 ranked as consistency markets and none ranked as declining or danger markets. There are two particular clusters with strongly-performing suburbs: the inner north (which includes suburbs like Newmarket, Windsor, Stafford and Kedron), and the north-east precinct (which includes Nudgee, Nundah, Northgate and Wavell Heights).
Ashgrove, with quarterly sales of 54-57-60-71-74, is typical of the suburbs with rising trajectories. Zillmere (42-47-49-56-62-64) is another of the growth markets.
The other standout market to emerge in this survey is the Brisbane-east precinct, which has five growth suburbs, seven consistency markets and no locations ranked as declining or danger markets. Leading locations include Wynnum West (54-67-74-80) and Murarrie (22-28-29-35-47-51).
The Brisbane-inner precinct is a confusion of suburbs with contrasting rankings: the 22 ranked suburbs include 2 rising, 17 plateau, 1 consistency, 2 declining and 7 danger. The danger markets (Albion, Bowen Hills, Fortitude Valley, Kelvin Grove, South Brisbane, West End and Woolloongabba) are those where sales activity has dropped markedly, prices are down and vacancy rates are high – particularly with a recent virus-related surge in empty apartments in the inner-city areas.
Logan City in the far south of the Brisbane metro area continues to struggle. It has 12 suburbs with declining sales activity. But there are also signs of life, with two rising suburbs and five consistency suburbs.
Brisbane is split almost 50-50 between markets where prices are up in annual terms and those where prices have fallen in the past 12 months: 52% of apartment markets have recorded annual growth and 44% of house markets have risen, providing an overall result of 46% growth markets and 54% with falling prices.
In most cases, whether rising or falling, the change has been minor (less than 5% in the past year).
Leading suburbs for growth in their median house prices include Coorparoo (16%), Morningside (13%), St Lucia (15%) and Windsor (22%), but the market leader is Fig Tree Pocket, where the median price has increased 32% to $1.18 million.
Among the unit markets, the best for annual growth in median prices have been Bulimba (23%, Mango Hill (13%), Alderley (12% and Annerley (11%).
Terry Ryder is the founder of hotspotting.com.au