IT will be remembered as the year Brisbane outshone the nation’s two biggest housing markets and defied a property downturn gripping other states. But the best could be yet to come.
Home values in 2018 in the Queensland capital rose a steady 0.3 per cent at a time when they fell 5.8 per cent in Melbourne and 8.1 per cent in Sydney — the biggest annual decline in 35 years, according to CoreLogic.
But the best could be yet to come.
Some of the industry’s top heavyweights have shared their predictions for the state’s housing market in 2019 exclusively with The Courier-Mail — and the forecast is sunny.
The consensus is that downsizers from Sydney and Melbourne will continue to cash out and migrate north in search of affordability, lifestyle and bang for their buck.
Growth suburbs in Brisbane’s east, Ipswich and the Gold and Sunshine coasts will be regions to watch in the new year, according to the experts.
The state’s infrastructure pipeline, couple with strong interstate migration and improving jobs growth, will help the market, although lending restrictions and uncertainty around the federal election will continue to impact borrowers.
A number of Brisbane properties are also tipped to surpass the $10 million mark if they can find buyers in 2019, with the prestige market expected to continue to outperform.
All in all, a good year ahead indeed.
Mr Warland believes the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast, as well as Ipswich and certain East Brisbane suburbs, will be the regions to watch in 2019.
“If you take a look at Brisbane markets where there’s high infrastructure such as the growth suburbs of Murarrie and Tingalpa, you can access the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, airport and city all within 30 to 40 minutes,” Mr Warland said.
He said many homeowners were sitting tight, but rental occupancy rates were high, making investment properties “still a solid option”.
“This all ties in to the finance regulations, which have changed in our market, and how buyers realign with their capacity to obtain money,” Mr Warland said.
“When we take a look at Queensland overall, Cairns has a lot of cranes up at the moment, Townsville is steady because it’s always had the infrastructure, the Sunshine Coast has had really good numbers of sales which is creating a shortage of stock, Brisbane has hot markets in the north and south of the city depending on who you are in the market and what you need, and the Gold Coast fared very well after the Commonwealth Games, so we’re really looking forward to the big auctions there in January, which will be an indicator of people’s interest.”
Mr Hackett believes Brisbane is poised for opportunity in 2019.
“With property prices sky high in Sydney and Melbourne, we sit in the perfect position to capitalise on that, as the southern markets look north for something more affordable,” Mr Hackett said.
“We’re 90 per cent cheaper than Sydney, 43 per cent cheaper than Melbourne.
“Buyers are now moving to Queensland to match employment opportunities, affordability and liveability in one location.”
Mr Hackett said he expected interstate migration to continue to increase in 2019 and the market to be buoyed by the major infrastructure spend underway in Brisbane.
“Over 130 major projects are on the cards, with a total spend of more than $55 billion — the highest in recent history,” he said.
Tightening lending restrictions are expected to continue to impact borrowers in the new year, he said.
Mr Hackett said sales volumes should remain soft in 2019, but are likely to pick up in the back half of the year, post the federal election.
“The election itself brings with it some uncertainty — surrounding proposed new laws around negative gearing,” he said.
“Labor is proposing the abolishment of negative gearing for second-hand property and a reduction in capital gains tax (CGT) discounts from 50 per cent to 25 per cent.
“The residential and construction industry must brace for a Labor victory in the upcoming federal election, resulting in the implementation of negative gearing changes.”
History proves that when Sydney tanks, the pendulum swings to the Gold Coast, according to Mr Fitzgerald.
He expects the city’s median house price (currently $655,000) to jump 50 per cent in the next three years.
“The great northern migration is back on, with Sydneysiders leaving in droves and moving north,” Mr Fitzgerald said.
“In 2016-17, the Gold Coast added another 7000 residents courtesy of internal migration according to the Bureau of Statistics, picking up a healthy portion of the 15,160 people that fled NSW at the height of Sydney’s property boom.
“The Coast is unique in that it has the highest population growth in the country, while having a land supply that will be fully exhausted in this property cycle.”
Mr Fitzgerald said land on the Gold Coast was the “golden egg” for investors because it was ripe for growth.
He predicts two in three new residents to the Gold Coast — 66 per cent of its future population — will reside in attached dwellings.
“If the state government presses the button on a new casino license on the Gold Coast and an operator commits $2 billion to $3 billion to get it up and running, then that’s a gamechanger for the city,” Mr Fitzgerald said.
Burleigh, Nerang and Hollywell had proven to be hot spots, but he said the adjoining ‘bridesmaid’ suburbs of Palm Beach, Carrara, Biggera Waters and Labrador were the ones to watch.
Springfield and Greater Brisbane are also among his top picks for 2019.
“Brisbane outperformed Sydney and Melbourne this year and I expect that to continue in 2019 at an even greater pace as listings tighten and competition from buyers pushes prices up,” Mr Fitzgerald said.
Mr Arthur said property prices and sales had held up “OK” in 2018 — nothing like the declines in the southern states.
“There are definitely quality buyers in the market with an approach of ‘cash is king’,” Mr Arthur said.
“We continue to maintain that if properties are brought to market with the intent to sell and priced accordingly, there are buyers ready, no doubt.
“If sellers try to be more opportunistic, then we’re seeing those properties sit in market.”
In the luxury space, Mr Arthur said he expected to see a continuing trend of significant sales in Queensland’s “lifestyle” locations such as Port Douglas, Whitsundays, Noosa/Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, and even across the border in Byron.
“2018 saw more significant sales in the ultra-high end ($10 million-plus) than in the past three to four years, and based on our pipeline, we’re bullish about activity in 2019,” he said.
“A recent notable agency and report showed Brisbane and Whitsundays as two of the top ‘global’ locations to visit.
“This bodes well for keeping the spotlight on our great state.”
Mr Whipps believes 2019 is set to be a year of opportunity for Queensland, and Brisbane, and one of the toughest one’s to predict.
“Our southern states have had incredible growth over the previous period and are now suffering with a hangover from the party,” Mr Whipps said.
“Queensland didn’t party so hard with steady gains over the previous period and this is what I anticipate for next year on a broad sense, however there will be pockets of opportunity for those that are well prepared and ready to buy unconditionally.”
Mr Whipps said those buyers would be attractive to sellers who were ready to move on and had other plans.
“I see this playing out in some of the unit market segments,” he said.
“Check out suburbs like West End — proximity to the city, well serviced with everything you need at your doorstep and plenty of quality to choose from.”
Brisbane’s affordability relative to the southern capitals, along with its climate and lifestyle, would help drive interstate migration, Mr Whipps said.
“And the very prospect of capital growth of circa five per cent versus a decline of high single digits in NSW and Victoria will help drive investment money into Queensland,” he said.
“It should be a good year for Queenslanders compared to the rest of Australia.”
Mr Litfin said the past 12 months had seen a new wave of developers move to the Gold Coast with a focus on smaller developments targeting owner-occupiers and downsizers.
Development opportunities arose on the southern beaches, particularly Palm Beach, which had been starved of product over the last decade.
“For the most part, sales in new developments have been steady as the value proposition has been very good compared to other cities in Australia,” Mr Litfin said.
“As a result, many projects reached presale targets with these new developments now under construction.
“The demand from downsizers and owner-occupiers should continue to rise but the growing selection of property coming to the market may see longer decision times and rates of sale become slower as a result.
“Developers who ‘get it right’ will be stand out performers in the upcoming year.”