With the price of a residential unit in Brisbane currently at a very affordable $400,000 and the average house price in South East Queensland expected to hit $1 million by 2018, there is no doubt that the Brisbane property market is well positioned for a new cycle of growth.
You’ve heard from me before how critical population growth is to property prices in a country as undersupplied as Australia. Well digest this stat. More than a quarter of Australia’s population growth over the next 25 years is expected to be in the region from Noosa to Coolangatta and this growth will push Brisbane ahead of Melbourne as the country’s second biggest city. What do you think that will do to property prices?

In short, there’s exciting times ahead in the Sunshine State and my company is thrilled to be in the thick of it, with our first Brisbane office recently opening in inner city Paddington. 

I can’t help but smile at the coincidence. I first opened McGrath in Paddington, Sydney about 25 years ago and now our first move into Brisbane also begins in Paddington. The irony is that Paddington, Brisbane reminds me a lot of Paddington, Sydney 20 years ago – it’s not yet fully developed and is definitely on the fast track to becoming one of the city’s highest valued suburbs.

It’s fair to say the Brisbane property market has been knocked around a bit in recent times. Scratch that, it’s been knocked around a lot. Not only has it had to deal with all the issues every other market has had – international economic instability, rising cost of living and so on, Brisbane has also had to deal with devastating floods and Government instability.

But we’re of the view that the worst is behind us and the recovery is underway. The first sign was seeing Queensland property prices improve for the first time in 18 months in the March quarter. We’ve also seen an increase in homeowners’ equity, with the average home loan in Queensland at $346,883 in May, representing 66 per cent of property values compared to 87 per cent in the final quarter of 2011. 

Now that McGrath is “on the ground” and operational in Brisbane, we’re seeing first-hand the key market trends. These include:

Rising desire for inner city living. This is a new mentality among Brisbane locals. As the population grows and more professionals use public transport to get to work, more people are wanting to live in that inner ring for convenience and lifestyle

Shift to apartment living – Brisbane is scheduled to have 7,600 new apartments by the end of the year

Boomers move to town – Part of the shift to apartment living, many Brisbane baby boomers are moving from family home suburbia to low maintenance inner city apartments and townhouses within walking distance of the local café village

Buyers are looking for renovation opportunities, with the two most common reno jobs in the inner city being restorations of Queenslanders and sprucing up 1970s apartments. Ashgrove is a particular hotspot with more reno work occurring there than anywhere else over the past two years

Brisbane comprises a collection of growing urban villages and each one has their own unique identity. For example, trendy New Farm is popular with couples in their late 30s. Bulimba and Bayside are family-friendly quarters. West End offers a bohemian, artsy feel while The Valley is home to hip, young singles on high incomes. Some villages are still in the making, like the $1B village planned for Cannon Hill and the $330 million village for Albion.

Next week, I’ll give you a rundown of my favourite suburbs and why they’re primed for growth. Stay tuned…