Brisbane property market stronger than numbers suggest: Terry Ryder

Brisbane property market stronger than numbers suggest: Terry Ryder
Brisbane property market stronger than numbers suggest: Terry Ryder

The Brisbane property market, in terms of public perceptions, is a victim of the way research companies and media choose to portray price growth.

It’s a stronger market than the published numbers suggest. Sales activity is generally buoyant and there are suburban precincts with growth markets right across the Brisbane metropolitan area.

But the various research firms publish a single figure to describe house price growth across an entire metropolitan area - and that’s what media reports. In the past year, the single figure published for Brisbane suggests only moderate growth, much lower than Sydney or Melbourne. It’s caused some talking-head pontificators to declare that “there’s nothing happening in the Brisbane market”.

But individual parts of the Brisbane metropolitan area have performed better than the reported research suggests. Over the past 2-3 years, various precincts have recorded double-digit annual growth in median prices - but the growth has not been felt across the board, so the overall Brisbane growth figures have been quite small.

Hotspotting analysis of sales activity shows that the Brisbane metro area is one of the most active capital city markets in Australia and I expect good price growth in specific areas in 2017.

Brisbane has greater buoyancy in its markets than do Sydney and Melbourne, where sales activity fell markedly in 2016. But media continues to report distorted figures for price growth and auction clearance rates in the bigger cities, especially for Sydney, creating a misleading impression.

The notion that Sydney house prices are still growing at an annual rate of almost 20 percent is ludicrous but various media outlets keep stating it as fact, because one popular source says it’s so. Domain chief economist Andrew Wilson, on the hand, says comparing all Sydney sales in 2016 with all sales in 2015 gives an annual growth rate of just 4.4 percent, while the latest figure from the ABS is 3.3 percent and the Real Estate Institute of Australia says 3.4 percent.

Meanwhile, Brisbane chugs along, largely under the radar of national media – but not property investors who are smart enough to do their own research. A recent national survey found that Brisbane is the No.1 choice for property investors who plan to buy in 2017. Cheaper prices and much higher rental yields, compared to the two biggest cities, are strong attractions for nationally-focused investors.

Having just completed my latest analysis of sales data, I can confirm that the leading precinct for market activity is the Moreton Bay Region in Brisbane’s far north, where affordability, infrastructure and proximity to jobs nodes are key factors.

The Redcliffe Peninsula, which is part of the Moreton Bay Region LGA, has received particular impetus from the completion of the Moreton Bay Rail Link, a long-awaited piece of transport infrastructure. Some of the Peninsula suburbs have recorded double-digit growth in their median house prices in the past 12 months.

But while the Moreton Bay LGA leads, there is growth to be found in almost every segment of the Brisbane market. Some of the middle-market precincts both northside and southside, which appeared to have faded somewhat in 2016, have revitalised and there are numerous areas with growth momentum.

Logan City, the mirror image of Moreton Bay in the south of the Greater Brisbane Area, has been a market leader in the past two years. It appears to have faded a little but still has growth precincts and will continue to attract home-buyers and investors because of its cheap housing, excellent transport links and generally strong infrastructure.

Ipswich City, the south-western precinct with similar qualities to Logan City, is also rising and many suburbs are now delivering good price growth.

Redland Bay, which encompasses the bayside suburbs in Brisbane’s Far East, is also now producing rising sales activity. It attracts buyers because of its affordable bayside lifestyle. It is increasingly emerging as an area of economic development and has good proximity to the Port of Brisbane and to Brisbane Airport, where there are major employment nodes.

Investors should continue to avoid the inner-city apartment markets. The CBD and near-city suburbs all have vacancy rates in the 5-7% range and these will increase as new high-rise projects are completed. Median apartment prices and median rentals are falling.

The latest Market Monitor from the REIQ shows that median apartment prices fell in all the inner-city markets last year including the CBD (down 4 percent), South Brisbane (down 7 percent), Fortitude Valley (down 5 percent), West End (down 5 percent) and Woolloongabba (down 7 percent).

There are also suburban precincts, particularly in the middle-ring areas, with above-average vacancies too, thanks to over-building of small-to-medium developments of units and townhouses.

But those cautions aside, the Brisbane metro area is a place of busy markets where growth will be found by investors in 2017. It presents as a good hunting ground for those disillusioned by the high prices in Sydney and parts of Melbourne.

Terry Ryder is the founder of hotspotting.com.au. You can  email him or follow him on Twitter.

Terry Ryder

Terry Ryder

Terry Ryder is the founder of hotspotting.com.au.

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Brisbane Property market

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