Southerners need to avoid being fleeced by Queensland's famed white shoe brigade

Pete WargentOctober 2, 20170 min read
When I first came to Sydney in the 1990s, there was a lot of talk about housing being expensive, although in truth it was still possible buy decent blocks of land reasonably close to the city, at least in the less fashionable inner western suburbs.
I can also remember years ago reading a blog by Property Update contributor Stuart Wemyss, which argued that although some parts of Melbourne were evidently expensive, most of the talk about oversupply and a property bubble was just short term noise. 
Wemyss highlighted a very similar point: you could still find decent blocks of dirt close to the city, for a price that wasn't absurd - demonstrably not the case in many so-termed 'global cities', which Melbourne aspires to become - and over the years he was proven right.
I feel a bit the same about Brisbane today.
Sure, there are some suburbs that are expensive, as you would expect with the Greater Brisbane population approaching 2.5 million. 
But you can still find blocks of land reasonably close to the city, within a 6-8km radius of the CBD, for a relatively good price. 
Of course, there will be ups and downs, but over the next couple of cycles the right property types and locations will likely perform very well, in my opinion, especially in good school zones. 
Although some areas have been overbuilt with high rise apartments, south-east Queensland will offer some of the best opportunities over the decades ahead, as it expands as a population hub and becomes more popular with Asian migrants. 
The forthcoming Commonwealth Games will be a plus too.
Slump, and rebound
Queensland has always attracted migrants from interstate, and as the resources mega-projects kicked off through the early years of the mining boom, the Sunshine State was pulling in tens of thousands of internal migrants per annum. 
These were unbridled boom years both for Queensland's economy and Brisbane housing.
From 2010, demand for Brisbane housing slumped, broadly in tune with internal population flows.
Unfortunately, with apartment projects often taking an age from approval to completion, this was also a time at which many interstate investors settled on new units, which are now under water, figuratively speaking (not only in Brisbane, but in other parts of Queensland too). 



More literally speaking, Brisbane experienced severe floods in 2010-11, which arguably exacerbated a downturn that was already in the post as LNG projects approached completion.
By March this year, estimated interstate migration to Queensland had risen to its highest level since 2009.
So, what's going on? It's partly a function of the housing market cycle, with Sydney now expensive, and congested.
Another boon for Queensland is that took its capex downturn medicine earlier than Western Australia, so although it was painful, the drag has now ended, with roads and other infrastructure projects having kicked off.
And, after a terrible lull, Queensland employment is suddenly now picking up, rising by an outsized +95,400 over the year to August 2017.

And population growth is in turn ramping up just as dwelling starts now collapse, helping to rebalance the ratio of demand to supply.

You didn't really need ABS estimates to tell you about the migratory shifts, since every second person in inner city Brisbane seems to have just relocated from Sydney, or from Perth in many cases. 
With the Sydney market now slowing, there will no doubt be a great surge in interest in Brisbane property - that's just the way the cycle goes. 
White shoes alert
A few caveats, however, if you're thinking of buying a Brisbane property investment.
Of all the capital cities, Brisbane plausibly has the patchiest housing market - some locations and dwelling types are experiencing strong price growth, while others are struggling big time.
Be wary about locations prone to flooding, and definitely watch out for white ants (termites)! 
Oh, and real estate laws are different up north, so you need to understand how to make offers subject to certain conditions. 
Personally, I would buy established not new property, for way too many heads have been burned buying new of off the plan up north. 
Finally, there is a long history of southern buyers getting brazenly fleeced on Queensland property deals by slick sales techniques - the famed white shoe brigade - so make sure you don't become yet another casualty. 

Pete Wargent

Pete Wargent is the co-founder of, offering affordable homebuying assistance to all Australians, and a best-selling author and blogger.
Pete Wargent
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