The median house price in Cairns dipped 1.8 per cent over the quarter to $351,500 however preliminary sales numbers were up 10 per cent, with the majority of increased activity occurring in the sub-$350,000 price point.
Over the September quarter, 449 preliminary house sales were recorded for the Cairns region – which is also an increase from 420 preliminary sales for the September quarter last year.
Local agents report strong buyer activity, most notably from investors – both local and interstate, and up-graders. Market confidence continues to be very positive, particularly around the proposed Aquis development and the improving tourism industry.
Listing numbers are reportedly quickly diminishing from the increased buyer demand. Vacant land listings suitable for development is limited, however developers are said to be doing their homework in the area, a sign that new developments are on the drawing board.
For the quarter, the increased sales activity was evident in the inner city suburbs of Manunda and Bungalow, with buyers attracted to the affordably priced properties.
Suburbs along the northern beaches area such as Holloways Beach, Trinity Park and Palm Cove also recorded an increase in activity. Local agents report that these suburbs have seen good buying opportunities; however such sales are becoming rarer.
The Cairns unit and townhouse median sale price increased 10 per cent over the September quarter to $215,000, following a shift in sales activity towards the upper end of the market. Preliminary sales numbers increased 18 per cent for the Cairns unit and townhouse market, with a jump in sales in the $350,000 to $500,000 price point.
The highest increase in sales activity over the quarter was recorded in Yorkeys Knob which also recorded a large jump in it’s median, up 32.6 per cent to $240,500 thanks to some high quality unit sales. With the Aquis development proposed for the suburb, Yorkeys Knob has reportedly been popular with investors.
Port Douglas, Edge Hill and Mooroobool also performed well with an increase in preliminary sales numbers over the year, compared to the previous year. Local agents report units in the $100,000-$150,000 bracket are spending little time on the market.
Overall, the outlook for the Cairns property market remains very positive, with the tourism industry expected to find its usual stride in 2014.
The vacancy rate for the Cairns region has fallen further to 1.6 per cent at the end of September, compared to 1.8 per cent for June. With a turnaround in the tourism industry, confidence has returned to the market, and demand for rental properties is beginning to increase.
According to local real estate agents, increased activity in the sales market is seeing former investment properties being sold to owner occupiers. This combined with minimal new developments is restricting the supply of rental properties. Agents also report a significant increase in demand for house rentals.
Despite a tightening in the vacancy rate, vacancy periods are still on average around 2 to 4 weeks.
According to the latest figures from the RTA, median weekly rents in Cairns are relatively stable, with only small increases recorded. Median rents for two bedroom flats increased $5 to $270 per week while three bedroom houses saw it’s median rent increase $10 to $340 per week.