Queensland is the place to live

"Many Queensland regions have experienced double digit median house price growth over the 12 months to end the June this year," REIQ chairman Peter McGrath said.

"From Cairns and Townsville to Brisbane and the Gold Coast, the health of the Queensland property market continues to be reflective of the State’s robust economic position."

However, the continued strength of the Queensland property market is making it extremely difficult for first home buyers, especially in Southeast Queensland.

"The REIQ believes it is the responsibility of governments at all levels to address the structural issues influencing supply and demand in the sector of the market targeted by first home buyers," he said.

Findings of the 2006 Census released earlier this year help explain the continuing health of the Queensland property market, Mr McGrath said.

According to the 2006 Census, Queensland is still the nation’s fastest growing state. Our population is up 20.2 per cent on the 1996 Census count with about 3.9 million people now choosing to live in the Sunshine State. About 1,500 people continue to migrate to Queensland from interstate every week.

And Mr McGrath said Queensland’s unemployment rate remains at 3.5 per cent – a 29-year low.

"Population growth, low unemployment, a strong economy and increasing infrastructure have all combined to make Queensland the place to live, and this is reflected in the strength of our property market," he said.

"Homeowners should use the current market conditions to their advantage to secure their retirement. They should also be smart with how they reinvest any equity they have in their home."

REIQ figures show Brisbane’s median house price increased by 9.5 per cent between the March and June quarters 2007 – the highest quarterly increase for four years.

"This growth reflects the strength of the market in Brisbane over the last quarter. Agents have been reporting very strong demand and low levels of stock, particularly in the affordable price range," Mr McGrath said.

With housing affordability continuing to decline across the country, Mr McGrath said the REIQ June quarter figures show people are opting to buy in more affordable areas.

"With median house prices of under $300,000, Toowoomba, the Wide Bay and Central Queensland still have a number of affordable housing options available," Mr McGrath said.

"Closer to Brisbane, the surrounding shires of Logan, Beaudesert, Pine Rivers and Ipswich all still have medians under $350,000 so are becoming increasingly attractive locations for first home buyers with sales numbers increasing in these areas."

REIQ figures show the Brisbane median house price for the 12 months to the end of June 2007 is $405,000, up 9.5 per cent – from $370,000 – on the same period last year.

In greater Brisbane, median house prices in the 12 months to the end of June are up 10.6 per cent in Logan to $282,000; up 10 per cent in Beaudesert to $345,000; up 9.8 per cent in Pine Rivers to $336,000; and up 8.5 per cent in Ipswich to $255,000.

In Redland and Redcliffe, the median house price increased by 8.6 per cent to $380,000 and 6.8 per cent to $315,000 respectively over the same period.

House prices on the Gold Coast are up 6.3 per cent to now have a median of $420,000.

"Yearly growth of 6.3 per cent on the Gold Coast is manageable and sustainable into the future," Mr McGrath said.

Toowoomba continues to be one of the most affordable areas of Queensland with a median of $255,000 over the year to June – an increase of 5.4 per cent.

"Toowoomba is now one of the most affordable places to live in Queensland. The region is also benefiting from a number of interstate and overseas buyers researching the district online," he said.

The Sunshine Coast is recording healthy increases with all three local government areas posting higher medians over the year. Caloundra is up 7.1 per cent to $407,000, Maroochy is up 3.6 per cent to $399,000 and Noosa is up 3.4 per cent to $450,000.

"Population migration into the Sunshine Coast is continuing and that is having a positive impact on prices and sales activity," Mr McGrath said.

Continuing a trend over recent quarters, Queensland’s regional centres are experiencing very strong increases partly due to their affordable price tags.

Cooloola’s median increased 11 per cent to $252,000 in the 12 months to the end of June; Maryborough is up 13.8 per cent to $215,000; Hervey Bay increased 4.9 per cent to $297,000; and Bundaberg is up 11.5 per cent to $237,000.

And for the second quarter in a row, Rockhampton is the standout performer with median house price growth of 33 per cent to $266,000 over the same period.

"Compared to many other areas across the State, these regions all still represent very good value for money," Mr McGrath said.

"Gladstone also fared well. Its median is now $295,000, up 26.6 per cent in the 12 months to the end of June 2007."

The resources boom is yet again responsible for very strong growth in median house prices in mining regions across the State. Emerald recorded a 12.9 per cent increase over the year to $350,000; Banana is up 23.1 per cent to $240,000; and Mt Isa is up an astonishing 47.1 per cent to $275,000.

North and Far North Queensland are also recording solid increases and sales activity.

Median house prices in Mackay and the Whitsundays are up 10.7 per cent to $380,000 and 12.7 per cent to $400,000 respectively. And the relative affordability of Townsville and Thuringowa continues to underpin the property market in that region.

"The median house price in Thuringowa is up 15.1 per cent to $305,000 in the 12 months to the end of June, and in Townsville it’s up an impressive 20 per cent over the same period to $330,000," Mr McGrath said.

The Cairns property market has recorded strong sales activity and this is reflected in its median house price increase of 13.8 per cent over the year to $335,000.

"The whole Cairns region is doing very, very well. The steady increases in Cairns house prices over recent years ensure the growth will be sustainable into the future."

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