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How the Sunshine Coast stole the housing boom and why Townsville missed out


House price in regional cities have boomed, some by more than 30 per cent but when it comes to Queensland it is very much a tale of two cities.

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The Sunshine Coast ranked third in Australia in regional house price growth with a rise of 32 per cent. But in Townsville the increase has been only 8 per cent.

According to research house CoreLogic, the difference between the two is that the Sunshine Coast is far enough away from Brisbane but not so far that people can’t commute to work.

That is also the case with regional centres like the Southern Highlands and Shoalhaven, in NSW, which topped the ladder with an annual increase of 35 per cent and the Richmond Tweed Heads region on the Queensland-NSW border.

CoreLogic’s Tim Lawless said there were localised factors in each region but the top performing regional areas were all coastal or lifestyle markets generally within a two-hour commuting distance to a capital city.

“Working from home looks to have some degree of permanency post-Covid and is one of the catalysts of this trend with more people basing themselves in regional locations to work remotely or balancing office work with home working,” he said.

He put Townsville at the “other end of the scale”. Although an 8 per cent increase was a reasonable outcome in most years, Lawless said it had to be considered that it had been the strongest market since 2007 with low interest rates and reasonably good access to credit.

In 25 regional markets, 24 recorded double-digit annual growth and 50 per cent of those record an annual rise of more than 20 per cent. Townsville was the one region that missed out.

Seven regions recorded a rise above 30 per cent.

He said the longevity of regional Australia’s housing boom would largely depend on affordability and those areas within practical commuting distance were likely to remain the most highly sought after.

“If housing values across regional parts of the country continue to outpace the capitals, the obvious outcome will be that regional market lose their affordability advantage,” Lawless said.

“We can already see this trend taking shape in some of the most popular regional coastal markets such as Byron Bay where median house values are $1.7 million and Noosa and the Sunshine Coast in Queensland where median house value are $1.2 million, much higher than comparable capital city values.”

Brisbane’s annual price increase has been about 22 per cent, well below the Sunshine Coast’s and its median value is about $648,000.

In the unit market, the Wide Bay recorded growth of 29.2 per cent and the Sunshine was just behind with 29.1 per cent.

The Gold Coast had the quickest sales with a median time-on-market of 18 days.






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