THE number of homes for sale in some of Queensland’s entry-level markets has surged this spring selling season, as first home buyers and investors emerge from hibernation to hunt for bargains.
Local real estate agents are reporting a 50 per cent jump in the number of homes hitting the market in the outer northern suburbs of Burpengary, Morayfield and North Lakes since the start of August.
And new figures from property research firm, CoreLogic, reveal new listings are up 11.9 per cent in Brisbane over the month and 2.8 per cent higher than they were during spring selling season this time last year.
Unit listings have skyrocketed nearly 90 per cent in Fairfield and almost 60 per cent in Strathpine in the past 12 months, while there are at least 30 per cent more houses on the market in Middle Park than there were a year ago.
Raine & Horne Queensland general manager Steve Worrad said there was strong demand for housing in the state’s entry-level markets, driven by first home buyers and investors, who were being lured by their affordability compared with Sydney and Melbourne.
It comes as the number of loans approved to first home buyers nationally hits its highest level since the end of the global financial crisis.
Reserve Bank of Australia data reveals the proportion of first-home owners loans has risen to 18.5 per cent this year from a low of 12.9 per cent two years ago.
Figures from home builder Porter Davis and realestate.com.au reveal that 46 per cent of would-be buyers in the Queensland market are currently looking to purchase their first home.
Raine & Horne Burpengary, North Lakes and Morayfield principal Gina Wells said entry-level four-bedroom properties in Burpengary were selling for $420,000, while homes in North Lakes started from $550,000.In Morayfield, entry-level properties were available from $330,000.
“At the same time, buyer numbers are holding up, although, with increased listings, owners must price their homes sensibly to achieve a timely sale,” Ms Wells said.
“First home buyers prefer suburbs such as Burpengary and North Lakes as they are only 40 minutes by rail or road from the Brisbane CBD, coupled with the region’s affordability.”
Ms Wells said investors made up about 30 per cent of buyers in the entry-level markets because they appreciated the region’s affordability, infrastructure and historically low vacancy rates.
“We’ve had an excellent September, and we expect the property markets in this region to motor along well into December thanks to a decent level of homes for sale and consistent buyer numbers, which include plenty of Sydney investors chasing the strong yields this region offers,” she said.
Nicole Taylor, 21, and her partner, Billy Mawson-Perini, 20, have just bought their first home in Burpengary — a four-bedroom, two-bathroom house on a 663 sqm block of land.
“We started looking around Rothwell and North Lakes and actually left Burpengary to the last minute, but when we saw this place, we loved it straight away,” Miss Taylor said.
“It’s got more land and the area’s nice. It’s good for a first home.”
On the southside, local agents say Mount Gravatt East and Holland Park are proving hot spots for first home buyers this spring, even though median house prices in those suburbs are higher.
Stan Egawa from Place – Sunnybank said those suburbs were attracting buyers in the $600,000 to $700,000 price range.
“There is good interest compared to some of the surrounding suburbs,” Mr Egawa said.
“We’re getting double digit buyers through open homes (in Mount Gravatt East and Holland Park), which is very strong.
“In Sunnybank, we’re only getting one or two people to an open home.”
Mr Egawa said many first home buyers were looking for a home they could move in to straight away and live in comfortably, but with potential to renovate the kitchen and bathroom down the track.
“Three-bedroom, one-bathroom houses are very popular,” he said.
“Their ideal location is Coorparoo or Greenslopes, however, they’re realising that for the amount of money they’ll be paying in that area, they’re going to end up with a lot older house or compromising on block size.”
Rob Karaka of All Properties Group said first home buyers were active at the moment in the suburb of Regents Park, with near new or new four-bedroom, two-bathroom houses on 600 sqm blocks were selling for between $400,000 and $550,000.
Shaji Rajan has just bought his first home in Regents Park after renting for three-and-a-half years.
For just $430,000, he was able to secure a five-bedroom, two-bathroom house on a 600 sqm block at 34 Lamberth Road.
But he had competition, with his offer only accepted after another offer fell through.
“Regents Park is a very good area and it’s affordable,” Mr Rajan said.
“For our budget, we can find very good houses here and good schools and it’s very easy for us to get to work.”
Algester and Calamvale on the southside are also attracting strong interest.
Andrea Manson of Belle Property – Calamvale said listings had jumped “substantially” this spring and first home buyers were keen to get in to the market before interest rates went up. “There’s that perception it’s going to happen sooner rather than later and so many (first home buyers) are wanting to lock in a lower rate while they can,” Ms Manson said.
“Anything under $500,000 in our area is very popular with first home buyers.”
Agents in regional parts of the state are also reporting a strong start to the spring selling season.
Home sales in Bundaberg are 5 per cent stronger than they were this time last year, according to Raine & Horne Bundaberg principal Joshua Rub.
“Values remain consistent despite the spike in sales and those properties that are priced, presented and marketed professionally are selling within 3.5 weeks,” Mr Rub said.
“Sales are higher this spring simply because we have more committed buyers than tyre-kickers.”
He noted the sale to a first homebuyer of a three-bedroom house close to the beach at 25 Heritage Drive, Bargara, for $272,000 within two weeks of hitting the market.
“In Bundaberg and Bargara, local first home buyers and investors are extremely active this spring,” Mr Rub said.
In Gladstone, which had been hit hard by the mining boom hangover, home sales are at their strongest point in four years, according to Raine & Horne Gladstone principal Mark Patton.
“Well-priced entry-level properties valued upwards of $140,000 offer excellent value and incredibly competitive yields that are as high as 7.5 per cent,” Mr Patton said.
“The savvy buyers have recognised the Gladstone market has reached the bottom and they are making their presence felt at open homes.
“Many have also realised that by buying now, they’ll have a good opportunity to share in some capital growth too.”
FIRST HOMEBUYER HOTSPOTS THIS SPRING SELLING SEASON
Suburb Median house price
North Lakes $492,000
Suburb Median house price
Mount Gravatt East $657,000
Holland Park $710,000
Regents Park $410,000
Town Median house price
(Source: CoreLogic, Raine & Horne, Place Estate Agents, All Properties Group, Belle Property)