Cairns residential property market continued to strengthen over the March quarter with further improvements across most market indicators. Cairns is now the fastest selling tourism region, overtaking the Gold Coast for average days on market for both house and unit sales.
With continued improvement in the Cairns market, more vendors are said to be growing confident which is seeing listing numbers increase in the house market.
Local agents say 2015 will be either an excellent year should major projects, such as the Aquis Casino Resort, go ahead. A number of other developments however should see the region continue to record healthy market conditions moving forward.
Sales activity was relatively stable over the March quarter for house sales, however unit sales were down significantly which local agents say is the typical seasonal trend for the Cairns unit market.
Over the March quarter, preliminary house sales numbers were relatively stable with the median house sale price also remaining unchanged at $390,000.
According to local agents the top end of the market is improving with some notable properties coming onto the market. Over the March quarter the $350,000 to $500,000 price point was up on the December quarter and continues to be the main selling price point.
House listings over the year to February saw a strong improvement in time on market, with houses selling nearly two weeks quicker than they did the previous year. This was the largest improvement of all major regional centres including Brisbane.
After trending upwards since the start of 2013, sales numbers over the March quarter dropped off significantly compared to the December quarter 2014 (down 15 per cent in Cairns LGA and down 44 per cent in Douglas LGA).
The largest drop in activity was recorded in the sub- $250,000 price point with 20 per cent less preliminary sales recorded compared to the December quarter. However with this being the predominant selling price point, Cairns median unit and townhouse sale price was not impacted by this drop in activity and was in fact up 5.5 per cent over the quarter.
According to local agents this trend in sales activity is typical for this time of year. With increasing investor interest in the region, they believe the outlook for Cairns’ unit and townhouse market looks very promising.
Similar to the house market, Cairns unit market saw an improvement in average days on market, down 16 days to 86 over the year to February, making Cairns’ unit and townhouse market the second fastest selling regional centre after Toowoomba.
Cairns’ rental market also continues to perform strongly however vacancy rates were up slightly by 0.2 percentage points to 2.4 per cent at the end of March. While still under 2.5 per cent, this is the highest vacancy rate the region has recorded since March 2012.
Local agents report investors still offloading properties into the sales market, which is keeping a lid on rental supply levels. The residential market as a whole is said to have plateaued somewhat but demand for rental properties remains strong.
According to the latest figures from the RTA, median weekly rents over the March quarter remained steady for house rentals, however three-bedroom townhouses recorded an increase of $20 to $330 per week compared to the March quarter last year.