Unit prices up in beef cap­i­tal

Daily Mercury - - REAL ESTATE - By SUNI GOLIGHTLY

WHILE hopes that the ex­tended first home buyer’s grant will boost Rock­hamp­ton house sales have not yet been ful­filled, the mar­ket for units is gain­ing strength.

When the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment ex­tended the $20,000 first home buyer’s grant that was due to end on June 30 un­til De­cem­ber 31, ex­perts ex­pressed op­ti­mism that the move would be a shot in the arm for the slug­gish mar­ket.

These hopes have not yet ma­te­ri­alised in the home mar­ket, with June quar­ter data show­ing the me­dian house price of $261,750 down 1.2% on last quar­ter.

Over the past five years, the an­nual me­dian house price in Rock­hamp­ton has fallen 9.8%, from $300,000 in June 2012. This is equiv­a­lent to an an­nual fall of 2%.

How­ever, for units it is a dif­fer­ent story, with the me­dian price up an in­cred­i­ble 17.4% on last quar­ter – up 2% from the pre­vi­ous 12 months, with no in­crease on fig­ures from five years ago.

REIQ’s lat­est Queens­land Mar­ket Mon­i­tor re­port says: “in a cli­mate of de­clin­ing unit de­mand and prices statewide, it’s per­haps re­mark­able that the Rock­hamp­ton unit mar­ket out­per­formed its house mar­ket over the past 12 months and over the past five years”.

Ja­son Rayner, of Ol­ogy Real Es­tate, says the rise in me­dian unit prices is due to city de­vel­op­ment, and not in­dica­tive of the mar­ket over­all.

“Those unit sales fig­ures are some­what ex­pected due mainly to high sales of the river­side apart­ments, near the CBD,” Mr Rayner said.

“Those sales have pushed the me­dian up. It’s a beau­ti­ful de­vel­op­ment; they are very mod­ern apart­ments, with ev­ery­thing you could want.

“Over­all, I would say the unit mar­ket is prob­a­bly on par with houses.”

Mr Rayner, who has been in the in­dus­try for 17 years, says while he be­lieves an up­turn in the mar­ket is com­ing, it is still a year or two away.

“There are a few key things that need to hap­pen - and I be­lieve they will hap­pen - for the mar­ket to ex­pe­ri­ence an up­turn,” Mr Rayner said.

“Once we have some more jobs open up, we will have an in­crease in rentals. The rentals are sit­ting at about 7–8% at the mo­ment and we need them to be at about 1–3%. When that hap­pens, rents go up and many renters be­come buy­ers. Also, the peo­ple who are com­ing in for work see what a great place it is, and they start buy­ing. Then the lo­cal mar­ket be­gins to move – look­ing to in­vest or up­grade. House prices start to move. Then we get on the radar of Syd­ney and Melbourne in­vestors.

“It will hap­pen,” Mr Rayner says. “All the signs are there.”

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