Sunshine Coast drives regional QLD property to strongest point in three years: Hotspotting’s Terry Ryder

Sunshine Coast drives regional QLD property to strongest point in three years: Hotspotting’s Terry Ryder
Sunshine Coast drives regional QLD property to strongest point in three years: Hotspotting’s Terry Ryder


Regional Queensland markets are at their strongest in three years, with growth momentum unfolding in multiple centres across the state.

Our Autumn 2020 survey of sales activity shows that Regional Queensland has 55 locations with upwardly mobile markets, the highest we have recorded in our quarterly surveys since early 2017. There has been only one better quarter in the past five years.

The number of “declining” markets has reduced (from 12 six months ago to six now) and there are now few danger markets outside of the perennial struggler, Mount Isa.

Resources-related centres which have been in decline previously - including Gladstone, Emerald and Moranbah - are showing increasing signs of recovery, with notable uplift in median house prices in these places.

The Sunshine Coast continues to lead Regional Queensland in terms of the number of suburbs with rising demand. It has 12 growth suburbs and numerous others with steady buyer demand.

The Sunshine Coast has a strengthening economy boosted by massive spending on infrastructure as it transitions from tourist town to international city. A $400 million upgrade will allow Sunshine Coast Airport to accept international flights later this year, while the Sunshine Coast International Broadband network will create the fastest internet connections to Asia anywhere in eastern Australia via the subsea cable.

The Sunshine Coast is also building a 53ha CBD from the ground up and a $5 billion medical precinct is well under way.

Nearby Gympie also has growth markets and benefits from offering an affordable alternative to the Sunshine Coast, to which it is well-connected following billion-dollar highway upgrades.

The big improver in our Autumn survey is Cairns, which now has nine suburbs with growing sales activity. Some of its suburbs are producing solid growth in their median prices.

This puts Cairns on level terms with the much-larger Gold Coast City, which also has nine growth suburbs but 33 suburbs with plateau markets - which suggests the Gold Coast market overall is solid but not heading into big price growth.

Townsville is gradually fighting back from the devastating floods of early 2019 and now has five upwardly mobile suburbs but, as yet, no compelling evidence of price growth.

There is growing evidence of recovery in resources towns in Central Queensland. Gladstone, which was plunged into downturn by developer oversupply, now has lower vacancies, better sales activity and prices are rising again - but still remain well below the pre-downturn peak levels. Anyone tempted should remember the volatility shown by this market in the past.

Iconic coal mining town Moranbah is also fighting back. Its median house price rose 11% in the past year to reach $230,000 - but with a long way to go reach The Heights of the mining boom when the median topped $700,000.

Emerald continues to improve, with its median price up 10% to $330,000 in the past year.

Blackwater’s situation shows how much these markets fell after the mining boom stopped - and how deceptive median price statistics can be. Its median price has risen 42% in the past 12 months but is still just $140,000. Previously, typical values had plunged to below $100,000.

Mackay has stood out in recent surveys as a recovering market with good growth prospects and currently has four suburbs with rising sales activity. Rockhampton has potential but as yet has not joined the upward trend.

The important inland city of Toowoomba is showing promise but, as yet, has no compelling evidence of significant growth.

The overall improvement in sales volumes across Regional Queensland is beginning to show up in price performance. Our research shows that half of the towns and suburbs of Regional Queensland have recorded some level of price growth in the past year.

The strongest performers overall have been the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast, with Cairns locations also starting to show up.

Sunshine Coast leaders in annual price growth include Warana (up 19%), Parreara (up 12%) and Alexandra Headland (up 18%) for houses, and Buddina (up 26%) for apartments.

The best on the Gold Coast have been Palm Beach, Worongary and Surfers Paradise (all up 10%) for houses, and Burleigh Heads, Currumbin Waters and Clear Island Waters (all up 10-12%) for apartments.

The tourist town of Port Douglas, which is part of the Cairns LGA, is notable for delivering good median price growth for both houses (up 11%) and apartments (up 7%) in the past year.

TERRY RYDER is the founder of
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Terry Ryder

Terry Ryder

Terry Ryder is the founder of

Sunshine Coast 2020 Property Boom


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