Cairns, Wide Bay, Townsville markets among those resisting a nationwide decline in property prices

Property prices are falling nationally at a record rate, but not in regional Queensland where homes are holding their value.  

Real estate experts says the pandemic-driven value hikes have not deterred southerners from regional areas of the sunshine state, but the trend is at risk of “pricing out” local buyers.

Earlier this month CoreLogic observed an 8.4 per cent decline in property values nationally over eight months — the largest on record.

In regional Queensland, a 6.5 per cent peak to trough decline is being driven by the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast markets.

CoreLogic head of research Eliza Owen said in specific areas of regional Queensland, the declines were “much milder”.

“In Wide Bay values are down just over 3 per cent from a peak,” she said.

“Townsville down about 2.5 per cent.

“Cairns has actually fallen just half a per cent.”

Ms Owen said the “relative affordability” had made the regional markets resilient.

“Median dwellings in these regions are still around $500,000 or less,” she said.

“And given people don’t have to take out as much debt to buy into these markets they may have been less affected by recent interest rate rises.”

Median house price




Comparing 22-21


Cairns LGA





Bundaberg LGA





Gladstone LGA





Mackay LGA





Rockhampton LGA





Toowoomba LGA





Townsville LGA





Gold Coast LGA





Sunshine Coast LGA





(Supplied: Real Estate Institute of Queensland)

In Cairns and Townsville, sales agents said spacious, coastal properties continueD to draw interest from south-east Queensland and interstate buyers.

Karyn Voeviden, a Townsville agent for more than 20 years, said there were no signs of a downturn.

“I still think we’ve got growth to come with the price point being what it is and the amount of people wanting to relocate here,” she said.

“What people can get on the Gold Coast or Brisbane, on the beach side here it’s half the price.

“You can pick up a traditional four-bedroom, two-bathroom, with a pool, in a suburb which is five minutes to the city in that $500,000 price point.”

resisting a nationwide decline in property prices
Sales agents say there is a high demand for property in regional Queensland.(ABC News: Baz Ruddick)

In Cairns, agent of 35 years Alex Witten said properties were selling within 30 days on market.

“This week we put a small property on the market in a very good area at a pretty high price and within 24 hours we had 30 written inquiries, and we had an offer pretty close to the money,” he said.

“That is how quick property is selling.”

The demand for housing is also due to a shortage of rental properties.

September quarter data from the Real Estate Institute of Queensland showed that Cairns, Bundaberg, Gladstone, Mackay, Rockhampton, Toowoomba and Townsville had a rental vacancy rate of 1 per cent or less.

Priced out of the market

While the “relative affordability” of properties in regional Queensland may be keeping the market resilient, Ms Owen said there was concern that locals were at risk of being priced out.

She said that was partly due to owner occupiers seeking out more affordable housing.

“That is bringing higher income demand to these relatively affordable markets, which means for locals, they are threatened to be priced out,” Ms Owen said.

“No doubt for people who have been in these regions for a longer period of time this recent cycle has presented quite a shock and limited their affordability.”

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