House prices on Qld’s Granite Belt record 0.5 per cent increase, defying national trend

Queensland’s Granite Belt region has gone against the grain to be one of the few areas in Australia to record an increase in house prices.

CoreLogic’s home value index, released this week, showed Australia’s housing market slumped 1.6 per cent in August, the biggest national monthly decline since 1983.

Property prices in regional areas also saw declines, dropping 1.5 per cent.

But house values on the Granite Belt, which includes the towns of Warwick and Stanthorpe, rose 0.5 per cent in August, with the median house price now at $386,833.

The Granite Belt has been one of the strongest housing markets in regional Australia, ranked fifth across the country over the past three months with a 4.9 per cent increase in housing values.

House prices in the Granite Belt have increased 27.7 per cent in the past 12 months.

Kylie Green is one of those people driving the figures, having recently moved to the area from the Sunshine Coast with her family to run a local motel.

Ms Green said the town’s lifestyle and friendly community made it an attractive place to move to.

“People smile at you on the street, it’s really lovely,” she said.

Kylie Green and her family moved to Stanthorpe
Kylie Green and her family moved to Stanthorpe to run one of the local motels.(Supplied: Kylie Green)

Ms Green said since moving to Stanthorpe, she had seen firsthand the increasing interest in the town’s property market from investors and owner-occupiers.

“We’ll get some that will come and stay at the motel that are down looking at property,” she said.

“A lot of the investors were coming down to the area knowing that it was only a couple of hours away from Brisbane, and it was being seen now as a tourist destination as well.”

Long boom led by lifestyle

Stanthorpe real estate agent Logan Steele said housing prices in the town were being driven by people looking for a different lifestyle.

He said there was a mixture of younger couples looking to get away from city living and the “retiring retired” who were looking for a country lifestyle.

“Over 30 years in the industry, I’ve never seen such a long boom as this one,” Mr Steele said.

“It’s a lifestyle choice that people are making that’s driving it all … it’s not greed.” 

Stanthorpe real estate agent Logan Steele
Stanthorpe real estate agent Logan Steele says he expects interest in the region’s housing market will remain strong.(ABC News: Nathan Morris)

Mr Steele said rising interest rates were not of concern to many people buying in Stanthorpe because of the affordability of the region’s properties.

He said buyers also often had a large deposit or could buy a property outright. 

Future prices may decline

A further drop in house prices over the coming months is expected across the country.

CoreLogic research director Tim Lawless said housing values in the Granite Belt had held reasonably firm, despite the recent flurry of rate hikes.

“Rural markets look to be more resilient to higher interest rates at the moment,” he said.

“However, there is a good chance that as interest rates rise further we will see housing demand dampened more broadly, including rural areas of Australia.”

Migration to the Southern Downs is also easing, with new data from the Regional Australia Institute showing the number of people moving to the region dropping by 8 per cent between the March and June quarter this year.

But Mr Steele said he expected interest in houses in Stanthorpe would continue for some time.

“As soon as we get one or two new good listings on the market that are at attractive prices, we get run over in the rush again,” he said.

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