Queensland's long-haul property rush

Annastacia Palaszczuk’s claim that Queensland is in danger of being ‘loved to death’ is no throw away line.

© Darren England/AAP PHOTOS Average Brisbane house prices are expected to top $1.5 million over the next decade.

More than 30,000 Australians relocated to the Sunshine State in 2020, a 15-year high. In the three months to last December, almost 5000 moved north just from Sydney and Melbourne.

With a population of roughly 3.7 million, Queensland’s southeast corner is already the nation’s fastest-growing zone. Forecasts suggest it will top five million by the middle of the next decade. 

While the premier cites the rush to escape lockdown as the immediate reason for the influx, real estate experts agree the trend is likely long-term.

Homebuyers have realised working remotely due to the pandemic is here to stay and entered a “race for space,” co-founder of national property network BuyersBuyers, Pete Wargent said.

“There has been a marked shift towards tree-change and especially coastal or sea-change markets, with a rush of city buyers moving outwards to compete for a limited supply on in-demand stock,” he said.

“Surveys conducted via the ABS indicate that while many Australians will ultimately return to the capital cities, the trend towards working remotely is expected to persist for many more businesses than in the pre-pandemic period.”

Mr Wargent said tech businesses currently have to offer flexible working arrangements as a matter of course due to border closures and skills shortages.

Yet “as buyers get a taste for living in lifestyle locations, many will doubtless choose to stay for the long term”.

While job opportunities have traditionally made Sydney and Melbourne Australia’s population growth centres, internal migration has sharply reversed during protracted lockdowns, with southeast Queensland the main beneficiary.

Mr Wargent said while strict rules around the inspection of properties for sale have impacted housing market turnover especially in Victoria, buyers continue to make relocation plans.

Brisbane’s median house price of $678,000 is less than half of Sydney’s and on par with that for Adelaide and Hobart. Yet by the time the 2032 Olympic Games come to town, the figure is likely to be $1.5 million.

CoreLogic data shows the city’s annual housing value growth at 18.4 per cent.

It ranked third-fastest city nationally for August (2 per cent) behind only much smaller markets in Canberra (2.2 per cent) and Hobart (2.3 per cent).

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