Market maintains momentum

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The Queensland real estate market maintained its momentum during the last three months of 2012.

The REIQ December quarter median house price report, released yesterday, showed sales activity was robust for the historically quieter December quarter.

Compared to the same quarter in 2011 the preliminary numbers of house sales in Queensland increased by 8 per cent in the December quarter last year.

The latest quarterly result demonstrated that the second half of 2012 was one of improvement.

This is the second consecutive quarter where the market has exceeded expectations. Historically the December quarter is quieter than the September quarter- and we did have a very strong September quarter last year – but what these figures are showing us is that buyers continue to be more active than the year before.

There is no doubt that the Queensland market is improving due to the low interest rate environment, increasing confidence levels, an element of pent-up demand, as well as a more settled economic outlook here and overseas.

A number of regions experienced a substantial jump in activity compared to the previous year and this was especially true of Queensland’s tourism centres. The numbers of house sales were up 27 per cent on the Sunshine Coast, 25 per cent in Cairns, and 19 per cent on the Gold Coast compared to the December quarter in 2011.

Buyers are once again looking at our beautiful tourism regions, perhaps attracted by the lower price-points that are now available in some of these areas.

When it comes to median house prices, Toowoomba posted price growth of 6.2 per cent to $308,000 over the quarter. Mount Isa also did well, recording a median price increase of 8 per cent to $370,000.

Across Queensland’s major regions, median house prices mostly posted stable prices over the quarter with some small reductions or small increases depending on the type of properties that sold over the period.

The Brisbane median house price increased 0.4 per cent to $510,000 over the quarter – the second quarter of positive price growth. The numbers of house sales also increased 8 per cent compared to the same period the year before.

Upgrader suburbs in Brisbane did particularly well over the period with many buyers taking advantage of low interest rates to make their move.

Unfortunately, however, the numbers of first home buyers active in the Queensland market continues to trend down following the removal of the First Home Owners Grant in October last year.