Friday, 18 May 2018

Apartment glut prompts massive discounting in Brisbane, research reveals

By Anna Levy

Updated Wed at 3:56am
PHOTO: New Brisbane apartments are coming in for heavy discounting, SQM Research found. (ABC: John Gunn)
RELATED STORY: Queensland's population hits 5 million people today

A recent real estate advertisement revealed what some might call the bargain of a lifetime — a northern Brisbane apartment selling for almost 40 per cent below its 2010 purchase price.

The two-bedroom unit in Chermside is what property analyst firm SQM Research call a "distressed property"— bought for $522,000 and now on the market for $315,000.

In a more buoyant market, it might be enough to attract a long list of eager buyers, but with a rental vacancy rate of 3.3 per cent in Chermside the apartment has proven far from an easy sell.

SQM Research managing director Louis Christopher said large price falls have become the new norm for Brisbane apartment owners looking to sell in a saturated market.

"We have seen some heavy discounting before, but this is probably one of the biggest ones I've ever actually seen," he said.

"It's fair to say this is not normal in the market. Nevertheless, there has been an oversupply of properties — we see it through the rental market in the Brisbane CBD where we are recording rental vacancy rates of 5 per cent.

"We are noticing the vacancies in Brisbane are still elevated in the CBD and in the inner city market, whereas in the outer regions of Brisbane, we are recording tighter vacancy rates."
Worst could be over, expert says

Mr Christopher said homeowners and investors might see their fortunes improving in coming months, as SQM data showed vacancy rates had been falling for the past four months.

"We noted the overall Brisbane rental vacancy rate is now at 3 per cent and has actually been dropping," he said.

"There's a chance now that the worst may actually be over when it comes to property investors in the rental market."
PHOTO: Inner-city apartment vacancy rates remain high, Mr Christopher said. (ABC News: Isobel Roe)


Queensland population growing steadily

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data also suggested the state was enjoying steady population growth.

Marking the birth of the 5 millionth Queenslander yesterday, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the two main drivers of the population increase were migration growth, particularly from New South Wales, and from 60,000 babies being born in the past year.
PHOTO: Is this Queensland's 5 millionth person? Cordy Kerr-Kennedy was born yesterday in Townsville. (ABC News: Mark Jeffery)



"Overseas and interstate migration is up by 50,000 people in the past year, 19,000 came from interstate … more than 12,000, or 230 a week move from New South Wales to Queensland," she said.

Mr Christopher said property oversupply was a problem mostly localised to Brisbane, with surrounding Queensland regions and other states recording much tighter vacancy rates.

ABS data also revealed the fastest and largest-growing area in Queensland in 2016-17 was Pimpama on the Gold Coast, which grew by 3,000 people.

Large growth also occurred in Jimboomba on Brisbane's south side and in North Lakes — a suburb north of the city — which both increased by 2,100 people.

"On the Gold Coast, we've been recording vacancy rates well under 2 per cent and on the Sunshine Coast, the vacancy rate is once again under 2 per cent, strongly suggesting it's been a landlord's market in those two regions," he said.

"When I look at the three main capital cities — Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane — Brisbane has suffered the most in terms of an oversupply of units.

"Brisbane's population growth rate has been falling behind Sydney and Melbourne and because of that, it hasn't been able to absorb the surplus stock that's been built, hence the reason why we've seen higher vacancy rates compared to Melbourne and Sydney."

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