Property values have escalated despite the GFC and during 2004 the top ten suburbs yielded 53 per cent of all house sales over the magic million-dollar mark.
Comparatively, 2014 has seen the top ten account for less than 40 per cent of the total sales. This clearly demonstrates that more of our top end product is spreading further through Brisbane’s suburbs.
Paddington And Bulimba
Of particular note has been the rise of both Paddington and Bulimba to share the first place position from seventh and eighth place just ten years ago. This has been accomplished due to buyer preferences for village lifestyles and authentic retail offerings. Local coffee shops, cafes and specialised boutiques have driven consumer demand.
Notably, both Paddington and Bulimba are aspirational destinations that draw crowds from well outside their own suburb boundaries.
New Farm has also increased its market share and placed in outright second position. It shares many of the same characteristics as both Bulimba and Paddington and continues to build a reputation as a highly sought after address.
Of the top ten suburbs listed above, six of them have at least some river frontage exposure. Despite the concerns over floods, Brisbane residents love the river.
It is a connection that remains difficult to break and continues to add value to many properties. The other determining factor for our list is that most of them would be considered leafy addresses.
Established trees continue to add character and soften our suburbs. The value of tree-lined streets should not be under-estimated in attracting buyers and creating demand.
The Housing Market
What is particularly noticeable in the million-dollar housing market is that the median price for the past six years has literally gone nowhere.
To the contrary, the post GFC slump bottomed out in the last quarter of 2011 with sales volumes making the strongest recovery since the 2005 – 2007 boom. From the first quarter of 2012 to the third quarter of 2014 (the last full data set), the volume of sales has increased by over 1 50 per cent.
That is a staggering recovery in the top end housing market in terms of volumes, despite very little price creep over the previous decade. Clearly buyers are starting to see value and are responding in turn with their open wallets.
So what is driving this resurgence? Quite simply it is the recovery in the ASX All Ordinaries. The graph below shows the monthly end values of the ASX All Ordinaries and the quarterly volume of sales for Brisbane’s million-dollar plus house market.
High net worth individuals often have exposure to more than one asset class with the share market providing substantial uplift to their financial position. Combined with that is the general assumption that if you’re able to afford a $1 million dollar house, you are more likely in a senior position of some description.
As confidence returns to the broader business community and the ASX continues to trend upwards, the million dollar housing market would appear to have some way to go yet. This will push prices higher.
There are however some potential headwinds that could see this market somewhat exposed. There is genuine concern about what is occurring in the European economies combined with the impact cheaper energy is having on many resource sectors.
Combined with this has been the growing geo-political tensions in the western Pacific, Middle East and Ukraine and all of a sudden the ASX could prove to be a little wobbly.
Nationally and locally, increased unemployment rates and a desire to stimulate the economy further now has some sectors of the economic community suggesting a rate decrease rather than an increase is likely.
So there is the potential for sales volumes in Brisbane’s top end housing to moderate should economic conditions deteriorate.
Experts warn of ‘debt bomb’ as housing downturn worsens
That’s according to the sobering 60 Minutes segment Bricks and Slaughter which aired last night, revealing the country’s property downturn was just the tip of the iceberg.
According to reporter Tom Steinfort, the current slump is actually “more like falling off a cliff”, with a number of real estate and finance experts claiming houses could plummet in value by up to 40 per cent in the next 12 months.
If that happens, it would also cause an economic “catastrophe”.
Mr Steinfort spoke with data scientist Martin North from Digital Finance Analytics, who said Australia was uniquely vulnerable when it came to an economic crash tied to a property downturn.
“At the worst end of the spectrum, if everything turns against us we could see property prices 40-45 per cent down from their peaks, which is a huge deal,” he said.
“That’s higher than any other country in the Western world by a long way.
“There’s probably no country in the world more susceptible to the ramifications of a housing crash than Australia. We are uniquely exposed at the moment.”
Mr North said Australia was now in the same position as the US was back in 2006 and 2007 — a position which triggered an economic collapse.
“As a society, and as a government, and as a regulatory system, we’re all banking on the home price engine that just goes on giving and giving and giving. It’s not going to,” he said.
“We’ve got a debt bomb, we’ve got a debt crisis and at some point it’s going to explode in our face.”
He said foreclosures had also risen by 600 per cent in the region.
“The mortgage stress is definitely being felt especially in this area,” he said.
60 Minutes also spoke with several Aussie homeowners who gave harrowing details of the stress they faced trying to pay off their mortgages, including having their power turned off and being “hounded’ by their banks.
What does a million dollars buy in Aussie capital cities?
Market analyst Louis Christopher of SQM Research said the market had been “clearly overvalued”, labelling the downturn as the “correction we had to have” — at least in Sydney and Melbourne.
“On our numbers, Sydney was effectively over 40 per cent overvalued. And Melbourne was overvalued by about the same amount,” he said.
But property investor Bushy Martin said the blame lay squarely at the feet of buyers who “mortgaged themselves up to their eyeballs” in a bid to snap up dream homes before being able to afford them.
However, the segment has also sparked backlash online, with some claiming the situation had been exaggerated.
One Reddit user branded the report as an example of “alarmist journalism and scare tactics”, while another said it was “dramatic and cringe-worthy”.
Others also criticised the segment for making it seem like all homeowners would be affected, when the downturn was actually mainly focused in the NSW and Victorian capitals.
And some said it was unfair to blame the banks for the situation, and that homeowners needed to take responsibility for their own decisions.
That was in response to comments made by one homeowner on the program, who said the bank had “suddenly switched the mortgage to interest and principal”, raising his repayments by 57 per cent.
“The interest only part annoyed me the most. The bank didn’t ‘suddenly change’ your repayment from (interest only) to (Principal and interest) your IO term expired. You a) knew this would happen and b) assumed the bank would renew it when it expired. I hope this speculator gets burnt first,” one Reddit user said.
Related article: Experts warn of ‘debt bomb’ as housing downturn worsens
Queensland is the next property hotspot, experts say
As New South Wales and Victoria continue to experience weakness. Queensland is expected to take the lead, a National Australia Bank (NAB) poll of property professionals revealed.
According to the survey, industry experts project house prices in Queensland to increase by 0.7% next year and 1.3% in two years.
Some areas seen to perform strongly over the next year include Brisbane, Cairns, the Gold Coast, and the Sunshine Coast. Out of the suburbs, Coomera and New Farm are expected to realize robust gains.
Meanwhile, Queensland’s rental market is also poised to enjoy an upward boost, growing by 1.3% next year and 1.9% in two years. This is despite the stricter rules on housing investment.
The respondents of the survey also expect Queensland to retain foreign buyer interest. In fact, the share of foreign sales hit a four-year high of 22.8% over the previous quarter.
The results of the survey go against NAB’s own projection of the market. For instance, the bank expects house prices to remain flat in Brisbane over the next three years. Unit prices, on the other hand, is seen to fall by 4.5% over the next year.
NAB chief economist Alan Oster said Brisbane’s housing market seemed to be going sideways and its unit market still creates concern.
“It hasn’t peaked yet, so that’s good. We’re seeing quite strong economic activity in Queensland, so that always helps,” Oster said, as quoted by The Courier-Mail.
Gold Coast house values record the biggest growth in Queensland
The Gold Coast has recorded the strongest growth in house prices in Queensland over the past 12 months.
GOLD Coast house prices are leading the way in Queensland, up six per cent in the past 12 months to an average $620,000.
The latest figures by the Real Estate Institute of Queensland show homes on the Glitter Strip are $35,000 more on the same time last year.
Unit prices are up 1.9 per cent to $428,000.
REIQ data reveals houses on the Glitter Strip are worth $35,000 on the same time last year.
REIQ’s Queensland Market Monitor for March said the strong population growth came on the back of infrastructure projects such as the $550 million Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct and M1 upgrades.
“The property market has been one of the big winners from the sporting event as the $1.5 billion infrastructure investment has boosted confidence and demand for housing in the region,” the report stated.
“We expect house prices will show an upward path in 2018. However, this growth will most likely be more moderate.”
A quiet real estate period leading up to, and during, the Commonwealth Games likely contributed to a slight drop (-0.3 per cent) in the March quarterly median sales price, the report reveals.
Andrew Henderson says a growing population and employment opportunities were contributing to a strong property market. Picture: Jerad Williams
REIQ Gold Coast zone chairman Andrew Henderson said he expected interstate migration to continue to benefit the city.
“I expect the market to remain strong,” he said.
“There is a heavy amount of interstate buyers moving here.
“I was at an auction recently where the winning bidder was from Sydney and the underbidder was from Melbourne.”
Mr Henderson said growing employment opportunities were also attracting homebuyers to the city.
The Gold Coast property market is expected to remain strong.
“We have some of the best health facilities in the country and our universities are world recognised.
“Those two things alone complement the tourism industry and the lifestyle aspects that the Coast offers.”
The report found the fastest-selling suburbs on the Coast included Worongary, Merrimac, Highland Park, Mudgeeraba and Carrara.
It also revealed the rental vacancy held tight throughout the first quarter of the year at 1.1 per cent.
Andrew Bell says the Coast had evolved from a tourist town into a vibrant city with an expanding economy. Picture Mike Batterham
Ray White Surfers Paradise Group CEO Andrew Bell said the Games heralded the next chapter for the Coast, as it evolved from a tourist town into a vibrant city with an expanding economy.
“The city’s property market is riding the irreversible momentum that has now come to the Gold Coast in terms of economic diversity and with more employment options we will need more housing options for people,” Mr Bell said.
“We are no longer going to be subject to tourism upsides and downsides as we were in the past because our economy has well and truly diversified beyond just tourism.”