The residential property market and local economy on the Gold Coast continue to record solid results with local agents saying the city is steadily improving with the tourism and construction industries rebounding strongly.
According to local agents, the house market results for the March quarter are typical of the time of year, with similar steadying sales activity recorded over the March quarter last year. They also pre-empt the June quarter will similarly follow the trend seen last year, with the cooler season seeing buyer demand drop off.
The construction industry is providing much needed jobs with both residential and infrastructure projects underway. The billion-dollar high rise development “Jewel” in Surfers Paradise is reportedly underway with excavation works underway. The sand dug up from the site, 113,000 cubic metres worth, is set to be donated to help with erosion on Surfers Paradise beach.
Tourism is also back on track providing further employment opportunities for local residents.
Despite the improving conditions, local agents say interstate investor activity hasn’t picked up as much as many had anticipated it would have by now.
Over the March quarter this year, preliminary house sales numbers were relatively unchanged compared to the December quarter, but annual sales numbers were up 9 per cent. While sales activity remained unchanged there was a shift in price point activity with a lift in sales in the $500,000 to one million price range.
As a result the Gold Coast median house price recorded a healthy 2.2 per cent increase over the quarter. Evidence that the region is well on its way to better times is an increase of 6.4 per cent in its annual median compared to a year ago.
Indicative of solid and steady results are stable average days on market which have improved by just 7 days over the year to February, while average vendor discounting now sits at 6 per cent, down from 6.3 per cent a year ago.
Unlike the house market, the Gold Coast’s unit and townhouse market saw a rise in preliminary sales numbers, up 24 per cent over the March quarter.
Local agents however say the unit market still remains a quieter than the house market, and the lift in sales activity is likely a few developments off-loading developer stock. Suburbs along the beach front saw the strongest sales activity with Surfers Paradise, Labrador and Palm Beach topping the list for the quarter.
Signs that the unit market is not too far behind the house market on the Gold Coast is the improvement in average days on market and average vendor discounting rates. Over the year to February 2015, unit listings took 10 days fewer to sell while vendors have saved a full 1 percentage point in their discounting rates compared to a year ago.
The Gold Coast however, buoyed by improving local employment conditions, saw its vacancy rate drop further, down 0.8 percentage points since December, making the region the tightest rental market of all major regions.
With a vacancy of just 1.3 per cent, this is the lowest the Gold Coast has recorded in seven years and is a strong indicator that the other sectors of the economy are strengthening.
According to local agents, mid-range properties typically targeted by families are moving faster than upper-end executive style properties.