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Brisbane house prices stall but market still one of Australia’s strongest

Brisbane remains one of Australia’s strongest property markets, despite house prices having ground to a halt in recent months.

As prices in Australia’s two biggest cities fall deeper into a downturn, Brisbane’s housing market has officially flatlined, with figures from the latest Domain House Price Report, released on Monday, showing an annual fall of 0.1 percent in the Brisbane local government area.

This equates to a $750 reduction in the overall median house price from $670,750 in March 2018 to $670,000 in March 2019.

The median house price fell by slightly more in the first three months of the year though, after finishing 2018 on a median of $675,000 compared with $670,000 in March 2019.

Median house prices

Source: Domain House Price Report, March quarter, 2019.

The figures for Greater Brisbane, which include the five LGAs of Brisbane, Ipswich, Redland, Moreton Bay, and Logan, showed the annual median house price was down slightly by 0.3 percent.

Domain senior research analyst Nicola Powell said Brisbane’s negative number was still considered a good outcome, particularly in the context of what was happening elsewhere in other capital cities across the country.

“Brisbane housing has had six years of continued annual growth, but now we’re seeing those house prices are flatlining,” Dr. Powell said.

“However, I will say that a fall of 0.3 percent is negligible. Homeowners in Brisbane may not be reaping big capital gains right now but it’s important to remember Brisbane is still a much better performer than most other capital cities.”

Median unit prices

Source: Domain House Price Report, March quarter, 2019.

Brisbane’s property market remains fragmented, with houses outperforming units for the seventh year in a row.

Unit prices in Brisbane’s LGA dropped 3.4 percent over the year to March 2019, as did units in Greater Brisbane, where units fell by 5.4 percent during the same time.

Dr. Powell said Brisbane units had fallen almost 10 percent below their price peaks in 2016.

There was a significant silver lining. “It means buyers are now buying units for the same price they would have paid in 2013, so the affordability is there,” she said.

“Listings-wise, the number of units listed for sale is shrinking, but they’re not shrinking enough to translate into price growth. That will still take time.”

Adcock Prestige, who sells some of Brisbane’s most expensive riverfront properties, said the most noticeable shift between now and 12 months ago was days on market.

“Where I used to sell a property in 30 to 60 days, they’re now taking around 75 to 100 days to get the same property sold,” he said.

“Price-wise, we’re tracking about the same. I’ve sold six multimillion-dollar properties in the past four weeks and all for good prices — none have been sold for less than what I thought they were worth.”

Adcock said he expected the market would pick up again after the federal election.

“Two to three weeks after the election, all the people who have held back from coming to the marketplace will come to the marketplace and reinvigorate it,” he said.

Brisbane House Prices [Strongest Market]-Investors Advisors
Jason Adcock has sold six multimillion-dollar properties in the past four weeks, including 45 Tristania Road, Chapel Hill, for $2.9 million. Photo: Adcock Prestige

REIQ chief executive Antonia Mercorella said she held concerns about the future of Brisbane’s property market, with the federal election leaving its fate hanging in the balance.

“Brisbane [both Brisbane LGA and Greater Brisbane] median house prices growth has been modest but steady over recent years. However, that consistent, steady growth is plateauing in the face of strong headwinds,” she said.

“The REIQ would like to be optimistic that, with rents holding steady and proving reasonably resilient in the south-east corner, this would encourage investors to continue buying investment properties.

“However, with Labor’s negative gearing reforms on the cards, it’s unlikely we’ll see investors overcome their fears and continue to invest. The financial benefits are simply not there.

“This will have dire effects on the market, and it’s likely that the modest plateauing in house prices that we’re seeing at the moment will become a more significant dip if Labor forms government.”

Brisbane House Prices [Strongest Market]-Investors Advisors
Brisbane house prices are holding at the moment but the REIQ fears this could be in peril if Labor’s negative-gearing policy gets through. Photo: SPACE Property Agents Paddington

Brad Robson, of Place Graceville, said prices had flatlined in his area following a flurry of activity in January but that sheer buyer numbers meant properties were generally still selling within 25 days.

“Buyers are still having children or still having kids move out and needing to downsize. Everything is still exactly the same as what it was,” he said.

“What is happening is that buyers are quite comfortable to seek out exactly what they’re wanting, as opposed to compromising and saying ‘let’s just do it because we might miss out otherwise’.

“I feel as though that’s the attitude at the moment — people are quite comfortable to pay what’s fair and reasonable, they’re just not willing to pay a record price.”

Peter Hutton, director, and principal of Hutton & Hutton at New Farm said Brisbane unit owners were more inclined to meet the market and lower their prices than house owners.

Brisbane House Prices [Strongest Market]-Investors Advisors
Homeowners in Brisbane’s more affluent suburbs are often choosing to hold their property rather than sell in a stalled market, says Peter Hutton. Photo: Tammy Law

“Firstly, there’s a greater number of investors in the market, so there’s more competition,” he said. “But the other thing is the people who own houses around here enjoy a high degree of equity, which means they can choose to hold their property and not sell if they can’t get the price they want right now.

“That’s what a lot of house owners are doing. There’s been a lot of stock withdrawn from the market since September last year — they didn’t sell so they’re not off the market. They’re not going to be forced to take a lower price and they’re relaxed about it.

“In New Farm, there’s always times where prices flatten out and we go into a period of being flat — that’s the trend now. We may not see any price growth for a little while. I think personally next year we’ll see rising prices in those desirable suburbs like New Farm.

“It’s not a bad situation to be in – it’s just a pause. I do think any buyer who secures a property today that appears to be a saving compared to 18 months ago, they are the winners in this. It will only be another six months until we’re back in another good year.”

This article was first published in Here is the link to the original article.

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