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Property Market Stabilises

By Dan Sowden

Queensland residential property market has returned to a more usual pattern of sales following a year of increased first home buyer activity, according to the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ).

The REIQ’s March quarter 2010 report found preliminary sales number to second and third home buyers increased as demand for affordable stock by first home buyers decreased.

Historically low interest rates and first home buyers incentives underpinned this fluctuation in buyers demand during 2009.

“This is the second consecutive quarter where the return to this more common type of buyer demand has been recorded and helps to explain the fluctuation in median house prices we have experienced over recent times,” REIQ managing director Dan Molley said.

Brisbane’s median price remained flat at $535,000 during the March quarter, as did the Gold Coast on $510,000. The sunshine Coast posted a small 1.1 per cent rise to $480,000.

The modest results also show that – unlike some other parts of the country – Queensland’s property market did not get ahead of itself earlier this year.

While preliminary sales activity increased slightly over the March quarter, agents across the State are now reporting less demand from buyers.

“The series of six interest rate increases in seven months has really put the brakes on the market with agents reporting significantly less activity since Easter,” Mr Molley said.

“Indeed, the May interest rate hike may well be the one that broke the camel’s back as the market had already slowed substantially by that point in time.”

Over the March quarter, the Gladstone region posted the strongest result with a median house price increase of 7.9 per cent to $383,000.

The median house price on the Sunshine Coast increased by 1.1 per cent to $480,000 over the March quarter.

REIQ Sunshine Coast zone chair Brett Graham said the figures reflect exactly how the market was throughout the period.

“The talk on the ground is that everyone is a bit disappointed with the recent interest rate hikes which seem to be driven by the capital cities,” Mr Graham said.

“The last interest rate rise was the one that slowed the Sunshine Coast market right down.”

The early-year upswing in property prices, prevalent across the State, seemed to have bypassed the Sunshine Coast.

“It’s just a normal real estate market for us. The next 3 months will be the tell-tale quarter of the year – it will determine the rest of 2010,”he said.

“Investors seem to be replacing first-time buyers which are balancing the market out.”

Steady performers over the March quarter included Noosa Heads with a median house price increase of 9.8 per cent to $670,000, and Tewantin, up 6.9 per cent to $459,000.

Source: REIQ Media Release

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