Toowoomba market update

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The median house price in Toowoomba decreased 2.4 per cent to $309,000 over the September quarter. However the stability of Toowoomba’s property market is evident with a 7.8 per cent increase over the year and 20.4 per cent compared to five years ago.

Preliminary house sales activity is up 5 per cent compared to the previous June quarter and up 2 per cent on the better-than-expected September quarter of 2012. Since the beginning of the year, the proportion of sales in the $350,000 to $500,000 price bracket has been steadily increasing. Agents have also noted a lack of housing stock available under $300,000, a price point which has seen steady demand all year.

What’s more intriguing though is the slight increase in million-dollar house sales compared to last year. Although this price point still represents a small part of the Toowoomba market, agents have noticed the occurrence of top end sales in areas such as East Toowoomba, Middle Ridge and Redwood since the beginning of 2013.

According to local REIQ accredited agents, sales market activity hasn’t been this good for a number of years. And while there may have been some doubt before regarding the local economy, recent council incentives are ensuring that local contractors and developers are working on projects based in the Toowoomba region.

Indeed the amount of construction work both under proposal and in the pipeline is significant – from residential developments in Glenvale and Cotswold Hills, to new shopping centres and sports parks, to critical infrastructure upgrades such as the Toowoomba Range Bypass and Wagner’s Wellcamp Airport.

It is no surprise then that investor activity remains robust, on the back of an already tight rental market. There continues to be interest from interstate, particularly Melbourne, due to its proximity to the Surat Basin. And while 12 to 18 months ago the region was not reaping any significant benefits from mining activity, there are expectations that this time around things will be different.

The median unit and townhouse price in Toowoomba declined 9.9 per cent, due to the varying quality of stock sold between quarters. However over the 12 months to September the median price increased by 5.3 per cent. While demand for units is said to have increased the market segment remained undersupplied, however the emerging trend of building and construction activity looks to fill that gap.

Rental Market

The vacancy rate for the Toowoomba region tightened to 1.3 per cent as at the end of September, after increasing to 1.8 per cent for June. REIQ accredited agents expect rentals to continue to pick up towards the end of the year due to increased activity from the army base and abattoirs near the Oakey area. Additional survey responses again indicate a slight increase in already strong investor activity.

According to the RTA, the median rent for a three-bedroom house in Toowoomba increased from $280 per week in September 2012 to $295 per week in September 2013. Between the same two periods, the median rental price for two bedroom units also increased by $15 to $235 per week for the September quarter 2013