More Creek than Coast: Rural Queensland Property on the Rise

Property Market, Sales,  Principals,  Salespeople

A struggling tourism industry and growing support for remote work has resulted in an unusual phenomenon in the Australian property market: hinterland property is faring just as well as coastal property – and in some instances even better.

Key regional LGAs in Queensland such as Maranoa and Western Downs saw marked increases in sales volumes and median price over the last 12 months. At the same time, coastal hotspots such as Redland and Noosa saw marginal increases at best, and substantial decreases at worst.

Small Properties, Big Gains

Regional

HOUSES <2400m2

LGAAnnual Sales12 month changeAnnual median sale12 month change
Central Highlands

219

-2.2%

$256,250

22.0%

Charters Towers

66

4.8%

$155,000

6.9%

Maranoa

81

12.5%

$209,000

16.1%

Tablelands

183

0.5%

$313,750

12.1%

Western Downs

231

-4.5%

$197,000

6.5%

Average

156

2.2%

$226,200

12.7%

 

Coastal

HOUSES <2400m2

LGAAnnual Sales12 month changeAnnual median sale12 month change
Cairns

2,055

9.9%

$413,000

0.70%

Gold Coast

6,835

28.3%

$630,500

2.50%

Noosa

778

4.9%

$820,000

5.10%

Redland

2,301

3.0%

$520,000

-1.90%

Sunshine Coast

4,442

16.5%

$600,000

3.40%

Average

3,282

12.5%

$596,700

2.0%

Source: Queensland Market Monitor

For houses smaller than 2,400 square metres, coastal regions saw a greater percentage increase in sales volume, but median sale prices barely changed. In fact, Redland’s median sales prices shrunk by nearly two per cent. Among regional LGAs, Maranoa was the outlier for sales volumes, recording a 12.5 per cent uptick. That increased market activity bolstered its house values too, which grew by over 16 per cent. The best coastal performer was the Gold Coast, where annual sales boomed 28.3 per cent. This increase in trade did little for its median sale price though, recording just a 2.5 per cent rise.

Remarkably, the averages among these regions reflect an almost exact inverse correlation. The mean change in annual sales among smaller regional homes was 2.2 per cent, while the coastal metric was 12.5 per cent. Meanwhile, the average annual median sale price change was 12.7 per cent in regional LGAs and 2.0 per cent along the coast.

Homes in Queensland’s hinterland aren’t selling at a higher rate, but buyers are willing to pay more for them. Meanwhile, homes along the coast are changing hands rapidly, but their prices refuse to budge.

Smaller Shifts in Larger Homes

 

Regional

HOUSES >2400m2

LGAAnnual Sales12 month changeAnnual median sale12 month change
Central Highlands

45

-16.7%

$454,500

-4.9%

Charters Towers

29

-35.6%

$345,000

4.5%

Maranoa

24

0.0%

$355,000

20.3%

Tablelands

149

7.2%

$434,000

5.9%

Western Downs

127

25.7%

$335,000

15.5%

Average

75

-3.9%

$384,700

8.3%

 

CoastalHOUSES >2400m2
LGAAnnual Sales12 month changeAnnual median sale12 month change
Cairns135

29.8%

$665,542

-1.8%

Gold Coast596

5.3%

$865,000

0.6%

Noosa238

-26.1%

$690,000

-0.7%

Redland101

-18.5%

$962,000

-1.6%

Sunshine Coast870

26.6%

$735,000

-0.7%

Average388

3.4%

$738,508

-0.8%

Source: Queensland Market Monitor

Among homes larger than 2400 square metres, the relationship was remarkably different. In the regions, Central Highlands and Charters Towers saw dramatic decreases in sales volumes of 16.7 per cent and 35.6 per cent, respectively. On the coast, Redland and Noosa were similar, recording reductions of 18.5 per cent and 26.1 per cent, respectively.

Taken as an average, coastal LGAs saw a marginal gain of 3.4 per cent, while their inland counterparts noted a similarly sized shift, though in the opposite direction.

In median sale price changes, the listed regional locations came out on top. With the exception of Central Highlands at -4.9 per cent, all of the listed regional LGAs recorded positive price growth. Some gains were particularly impressive, too. Maranoa rose by over 20 per cent, while Western Downs saw a 15.5 per cent increase. With the others recording more sensible changes, the average sale price increase came in at 8.3 per cent.

These figures contrast starkly against median sale price changes along the coast. Only the Gold Coast noted an increase of 0.6 per cent. Taken as an average of listed LGAs, coastal large home sale prices dropped by 0.8 per cent.

Why Rural?

JLL reports that low interest rates, strong commodity prices, and equity in existing homes is inspiring Australian families to compete with institutional investors for agricultural land. “Established families have amassed significant wealth over multiple generations and are now aggressively acquiring assets across numerous agricultural sectors and levels of value, undeterred by COVID-19,” says Chris Holgar, director – Agribusiness, JLL.

The other drawcard is a new-found propensity for working from home. Pete Wargent, co-founder of BuyersBuyers.com.au says workers are using this as an opportunity to move away from more metropolitan areas. “Australians have had a taste of working from home over the last few months, and are now able to continue to work remotely,” says Wargent, reported by Elite Agent. “It’s these buyers who are now seeking lifestyle properties and avoiding higher density locations.”

Between stable local economies, affordable property prices, the advent of the remote worker, and growing buying power among regional families, Queensland’s inland property markets are overcoming the COVID odds to present real growth. How sustainable said growth will be, and when (if) the coastal markets will rebound remains difficult to predict. For the nonce, at least, the data represents good news for our State’s regions.

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