The key message for property investors right now is that there are many growth markets across Australia.
There’s a tendency in mainstream media to extrapolate the situations in Sydney and Melbourne to the whole nation. If the big cities are in decline, then Australian real estate is in decline, according to news media.
This is seldom true – and it’s certainly not the case right now. Some of our smaller capital cities are pumping strongly and, in particular, regional Australia has many growth markets.
Last week I made this comment: “Regional Queensland has achieved something that few jurisdictions across Australia have managed: it has maintained its previous high levels of well-performing markets in defiance of Covid-19.”
I wrote that I rated the Sunshine Coast one of the strongest economic and real estate stories in the nation and that it continues to produce solid results in its property markets.
The anecdotal evidence from people at the coalface of the Sunshine Coast property industry is that sales are happening, vacancies remain low and there’s no evidence of values falling.
The latest data on prices and vacancy rates confirms that – with evidence of notable growth pockets.
Most of the postcodes across the Sunshine Coast region, including Noosa (which is a separate local government area), have vacancy rates between 1% and 2%. While some of the capital city CBDs and tourism-dominated locations like Surfers Paradise have had big blowouts in their vacancies, the Sunshine Coast has resisted this trend.
Although tourism is an important industry to the Sunshine Coast, its economy is insulated by the ongoing massive spend on infrastructure, including the evolving medical precinct, the new CBD now under construction, the billion-dollar highway improvements, the upgrade of the local airport to international status and the subsea internet cable link to Asia – among other projects.
And this is bolstering the local property market.
The top end of the market in particular has been boosted, thanks in part of the influx of well-paid medical specialists working in the new medical precinct, based around the $2 billion university hospital.
The two most expensive suburbs in the region, Sunshine Beach and Minyama, have both experienced notable uplift in prices recently. The median house price for Sunshine Beach, just outside Noosa, has risen 16% in the latest quarter and 27% in annual terms, to reach $1.8 million. Minyama is up 7% in the most recent quarter and 23% annually – and typical houses are now above $1.1 million.
The median house price for Noosa Heads has risen 8% in the past year, including 1.4% in the most recent quarter.
Other locations throughout the Sunshine Coast region, including Mooloolaba, Maroochydore, Coolum and Pelican Waters, have recorded more moderate growth, but nevertheless have achieved price uplift in both the past 12 months and the most recent quarter – and a time when the big cities are feeling the negative impacts of Covid-19.
Keep that in mind the next time you hear one of our chattering economists telling us that “Australian property prices” are falling.
The Sunshine Coast is a standout example among many thriving regional markets.
Terry Ryder is the founder of hotspotting.com.au