Queensland’s Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast dominate realestate.com.au’s list of the most in-demand suburbs outside of Australia’s capital cities, as spiking metropolitan housing prices and new working habits continue to push buyers further afield.
In its mammoth new PropTrack Regional Australia Report, released Thursday, the real estate portal states Buderim, just inland of the Sunshine Coast, faced higher buyer demand than any other suburb in the year to September.
The Gold Coast postcodes of Helensvale, Coomera, Hope Island, Upper Coomera, Southport, and Robina followed in succession.
That Gold Coast domination was only interrupted by Highton, in Geelong, Victoria, which RealEstate.com.au ranked eighth in terms of overall demand.
However, the Gold Coast suburbs of Mudgeeraba and Broadbeach Waters ranked ninth and tenth, respectively.
The massive interest in Queensland property was driven by the tidal wave of interstate migrants who adopted the Sunshine State through the harsh lockdowns of late 2020 and 2021.
Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows net migration into Queensland topped 30,000 in 2020-21, more than double the average rate of the past ten years.
Over the same period, Sydney and Melbourne lost 31,000 and 32,000 people to internal migration, respectively, reflecting a flow of buyers looking further afield.
The state “benefitted from the trend toward commutable in amenity rich regions, as well as the COVID induced hot market for holiday homes and coastal areas whilst borders have remained locked down,” RealEstate.com.au senior economist Eleanor Creagh said.
But Queensland shared the spoils when it came to growth in ‘high-intent’ buyer demand, which RealEstate.com.au categorises as users genuinely likely to pull the trigger on a new home.
Interest in the NSW Mid North Coast spiked nearly 146% over the year, followed by the Southern Highlands and Shoalhaven, New England the the North West, Coffs Harbour-Grafton, and the Riverina, all of which saw interest more than double.
Queensland’s Darling Downs-Maranoa region, in sixth place, reported a growth in demand of nearly 114%. It was followed by NSW’s Central West, the Hunter Valley (excluding Newcastle), and Far West-Orana, with South Australia’s South East rounding out the top ten.
Interest in those areas has not been driven solely by a desire for more space among prospective buyers, but the increasing unaffordability of houses in Australia’s capital cities and larger metropolitan areas.
A combination of capital city house price growth, low interest rates, and desire for lifestyle changes has pumped up the value of property in regional locales, challenging local buyers and renters pushed to the margins.
However, capital city price growth has been so extreme that regional NSW homes are, overall, still “more affordable on a relative basis” than their Greater Sydney counterparts.
“Even after recent price growth the relative affordability advantage has increased,” Creagh said.
“The same is true in South Australia, Tasmania, Queensland, and the Northern Territory.”
While house prices in regional Australia are still beyond the reach of many young buyers, regional migration is becoming a “self-reinforcing feedback loop fuelling local economies, innovation and incentivising investment and infrastructure upgrades,” Creagh said.
Those findings are in keeping with a September Productivity Commission report, which argued that recent population growth outside of the city “presents an opportunity to lock in accelerating regionalisation” for the longterm.
In its new ‘Big Issues of 2022’ report, released Thursday, CommSec lists this “regional renaissance” as a trend likely to continue well into the new year.
Beyond the “sea and tree” changes sought by many cityslickers, CommSec noted “economic conditions in regional Australia have improved following devastating droughts and bushfires, encouraging a ‘stayer effect’,” suggesting a long-term shift to the regions is well underway.