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Brisbane Housing Market Insights: January 2023

The Urban Developer’s latest Brisbane housing market insights reveal that the city’s property prices have continued to deflate, as the Reserve Bank’s persistant rate-rising campaign to fight inflation puts pressure on residential property values across the nation.

This resource, updated periodically, will collate and examine the economic levers pushing and pulling Brisbane’s housing market.

Combining market research, rolling indices and expert market opinion, this evolving hub will act as a pulse check for those wanting to take a closer look at the movements across the market.

Brisbane median property prices % change

The 1.4 per cent fall, however, was slightly better than December’s 1.5 per cent drop and an improvement on the 2 per cent decline in home prices recorded for November and October last year.

Home values have been shoved into reverse around the country as the Reserve Bank of Australia has increased its cash rate target to combat decades-high inflation, hitting home buyers’ borrowing capacity.

For the three months to January, national home values fell 3.2 per cent, which was a smaller decline than the three months to December. For capital cities only, the fall was slightly higher at 3.3 per cent for the rolling quarter.

Brisbane home values sank 4.8 per cent for the same period, bringing the loss from the record high in June 2022 to almost 11 per cent, CoreLogic data showed.

Home sales in Brisbane

Home sales in Brisbane were down 22.3 per cent per cent for the year to January, compared with 19.1 per cent nationally. Among the capitals, Sydney fared the worst, down 29.2 per cent. Only Darwin and Perth grew their sales, with the Northern Territory capital out in front at 13.7 per cent.

The quarterly sales drop in Brisbane was 36.5 per cent, compared with the previous corresponding period.

Interest rates climb

Meanwhile, Brisbane home owners are shelling out more in mortgage replayments after Australia’s central bank moved its cash rate target to 3.35 per cent in February, its ninth increase in a row since the cash rate sat at 0.10 per cent in early May 2022.

Interest rates have been climbing in an effort to tame inflation, which hit 7.8 per cent for the year to December, considerably above the central bank’s inflation target of 2-3 per cent.

ANZ bank has upgraded its forecast for the Reserve Bank cash rate to 4.1 per cent for May, from the previous peak of 3.85 per cent.

The bank said increasing inflation pressures meant the cash rate would remain in “restrictive territory” for some time and it did not expect the RBA to start easing until a 0.25 percentage point cut in November 2024.

Biggest price decline

CoreLogic head of residential research (Australia) Eliza Owen said Brisbane’s property market had recorded its largest and fastest decline on record, with home values tanking 10.9 per cent from the peak in June 2022 to January 28, 2023.

Owen also said:

Prior to the decline, Greater Brisbane home values hit a record high on June 19 2022, after a pandemic population surge and increase in values of more than 43 per cent.

Brisbane was one of two capital city markets with record declines, the other being Hobart.

Sydney has the largest peak-to-trough falls of the capital city markets at about 14 per cent, while peak-to-trough falls were mild in some cities, such as Perth.

Brisbane’s housing market: policy updates and trends

Olympic stadium redevelopment sparks housing gold rush

The Queensland and federal governments had reached a $7-billion-plus funding deal to supercharge preparations for the Brisbane 2032 Olympics is certainly not one of them.

Under the agreement, The Gabba will be replaced by a new 50,000-seat stadium, providing the anchor for a major urban renewal project delivering thousands of new homes, including social and affordable housing.

Government calls for ‘innovative’ social housing

The Queensland government is seeking proposals for affordable and social housing through its $2-billion Housing Investment Fund.

The funding will support developments on privately owned sites, including affordable-only proposals.

The government’s goal is to increase the number of social and affordable home starts in Queensland to 5600 by 2027.

Also, the government has partnered with Cedar Pacific to build a 470-home development on the site of the former Children’s Court, with 250 apartments available at a discounted rent subsidized by the government. Work on the site is expected to begin by the end of 2023, with residents moving in by 2027, under Queensland’s build-to-rent pilot project.

Brisbane unlocks 70ha of industrial land for homes

Brisbane City Council has unlocked more than 70ha of “tired old commercial sites”, fast-tracking rezoning to allow mixed-use development across the city. 

Former industrial sites across Brisbane will be available for “much-needed” residential and mixed-use development in what Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner suggested would be the first of a series of land releases. 

The 14 Suburban Renewal Precincts vary in size from less than 1ha to 16 hectares. Some are unused while others are already in the early stages of redevelopment.

State sites unlocked in bid to solve qld housing crisis

Seven government building sites have been identified by the Queensland government as part of its solutions to the state’s housing crisis.

The measure is included in the Housing Summit Outcomes Report, which followed the“historic” Queensland Housing Summit. 

A $56-million cash injection is also among the measures outlined in the report.

Logan planning changes pave way for development

The City of Logan Planning Scheme has been updated to attract higher quality developments and “close loopholes”.

The latest changes provide further guidance to developers and cover housing lot specifications, location guidance for healthcare developments, and clarifications for mixed-use developments.

What the experts are saying about Brisbane’s housing market


Tim Lawless
Head of Research 
Corelogic

“Typically, most homeowners would have at least a 10 per cent deposit if not a 20 per cent deposit, which means there is some insulation in this downturn.

“The thing to keep in mind is most homeowners in Brisbane are still sitting on a substantial amount of equity.

“We’re still seeing Brisbane housing prices about 28 per cent above what they were before the pandemic.” 


Shane Oliver
Chief Economist
AMP Capital

“There’s still a flow-through of the previous rate hikes, so my base case is for prices to continue falling by around 1 per cent nationwide each month through the second half of the year before slowing down further.

“History tells us in the last few cycles that we didn’t actually start seeing house price rises until interest rates were cut, so a pause in interest rate rises won’t be enough to spur price recovery.

“There is still a risk that the pace of decline could really accelerate again, if the RBA keeps raising interest rates that will risk a recession, and if there’s a pick-up in distressed sales once the majority of fixed term mortgages expire later this year.”


Nicola Powell
Chief of Economics and Research
Domain

“It’s a landlord’s market across all of our capital cities and into regional Australia. Choice is limited for tenants.

“It means that asking rents are going to rise because when you’ve got those low vacancy rates, you tend to find that rents do rise.

“What we’re going through at the moment is a busy changeover period, more properties become vacant and empty. So there’s a bit more choice and easing of the pace of rental price growth. Our budget can only stretch so far.”


Louis Christopher

Managing director
SQM Research

“The January holiday period is traditionally a quiet time for listings, so it is no surprise we recorded a fall in activity over this month.

“However, there’s also a steep drop of 13.8 per cent in new listings nationwide compared to a year ago.

“Property owners by and large think it is a bad time to sell and so are holding back, waiting for a housing market recovery.”

 

Inner-southern suburb Tarragindi recorded Brisbane’s highest auction success for the December quarter, with 16 of 24 properties sold for a 66.7 per cent clearance rate, according to CoreLogic.

West End, however, had the highest number of auctions for the period, at 40.

Calamvale had the lowest clearance rate—just 25 per cent of the 32 auctioned properties sold under the hammer.

The clearance rate of 41.7 per cent was also down from 43.9 per cent in the September quarter.

It was Brisbane’s lowest quarterly auction clearance rate since June 2020 (34.2 per cent), CoreLogic reported.

Brisbane was also the busiest capital city, excluding Sydney and Melbourne, with 1955 auctions, down from 1970 in the previous quarter.

The clearance rate of 41.7 per cent was also a decline from 43.9 per cent in the September quarter.

Nationally, the final quarter of 2022 improved in clearance rates and auction volumes across the combined capital cities.

In total, 25,637 capital city homes were taken to auction, up 11 per cent on the September quarter.

The combined capital city clearance rate also showed some improvement, with 57.8 per cent of reported auctions ending in success.

Since peaking in March 2021, quarterly clearance rates have been trending lower with the December 2022 quarter the first to show some improvement.

Adelaide recorded the highest clearance rate across the capital cities for the fourth consecutive quarter.

Melbourne was the busiest auction market, with 11214 homes taken to auction, followed by Sydney with 9041 auctions.

Tasmania recorded its lowest quarterly clearance rate since June 2020.

Rental vacancy rates plumbed lows at 0.8 per cent in January, compared with 1.1 per cent in December, SQM Research calculated.

The Brisbane vacancy rate was even tighter than the national rate, which dipped in January back to 1 per cent after the seasonal rise for December.

The shrinking in Brisbane—and Sydney and Melbourne—was “most likely reflecting the increase in demand from international students”, SQM Research said.

“Seasonal factors led to a brief rise in rental vacancies over December.

However, the national rental market has returned quickly back to its extremely tight conditions and is likely to continue to record ongoing tight conditions, or worse over February and March.

“The surge in net overseas longer term and permanent arrivals relative to new residential property supply is ensuring extremely tight rental conditions will continue for the immediate future,” SQM said in a report.

The number of rental vacancies in Brisbane fell to 2845 in January from 3603 in December and 3878 in January 2022.

Domain said that demand pressures had been fuelled by the return of international and domestic travel, overseas migration and foreign students, and the recovery of temporary visa holder numbers.

“Recent changes by China’s Ministry of Education to stop acknowledging degrees gained online will also see a surge in demand for rentals as students return for in-person classes.“

Weekly asking rent jumped 2.5 per cent in Brisbane in January, SQM Research found.

Asking rents for houses in Brisbane came in at $651 for January, up from $642 in December, and units were asking $493 a week, up from $492 in December.

According to CoreLogic, nationally, the monthly pace of rental growth picked up in January, with national rents up 0.7 per cent compared with a 0.6 per cent rise in December, but still well below the peak monthly rental growth rate from May 2022 (1 per cent).

Total dwelling approvals rose 8.3 per cent in Queensland in December, the latest figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed.

Approvals for private sector houses ticked up 0.2 per cent.

Total dwelling approvals rose in NSW (48.4 per cent), Victoria (20.7 per cent) and Western Australia (6.4 per cent), while Tasmania (-49.7 per cent), and South Australia (-24.6 per cent), chalked up decreases, the bureau reported.

For private sector houses outside Queensland, increases were recorded in Western Australia (8.2 per cent) and Victoria (0.3 per cent), while South Australia (-7.4 per cent) and New South Wales (-4.2 per cent) fell.

The value of total residential building approvals rose 6.6 per cent, comprised of a 7.2 per cent increase in new residential building and a 2.7 per cent increase in alterations and additions.

Australia-wide, the total number of dwellings approved rose 18.5 per cent in December, in seasonally adjusted terms.

The bureau’s head of construction statistics Daniel Rossi said this rise followed a 8.8 per cent slump in November 2022.

“The increase in the total number of dwellings approved in December was led by a sharp rise in approvals for private sector dwellings excluding houses (56.6 per cent). The result was driven by a number of large apartment developments approved in NSW and Victoria,” Rossi said.

“Approvals for private sector houses continued to track downwards, falling by 2.3 per cent.”

Queensland home loan lending indicators

In Queensland, the value of new loan commitments for owner-occupier housing fell 4.8 per cent (seasonally adjusted) in December, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics release.

For investor housing, it declined 5.1 per cent.

The number of new loan commitments for owner-occupier first home buyers rose 0.2 per cent in Queensland.

Looking nationally, the value of total new housing loan commitments continued to decline in December (4.3 per cent to $23.4 billion), from record high levels in 2022. New owner-occupier loan commitments fell 4.2 per cent to $15.6 billion, while new investor loan commitments fell 4.4 per cent to $7.9 billion.

ABS head of Finance and Wealth Sean Crick said, “In December 2022, the value of total new housing loan commitments was 23 per cent higher than the level seen in February 2020, prior to the Covid 19 pandemic. In December 2021, the value of these commitments was 74 per cent higher than the pre-pandemic level.”

The number of new loan commitments to owner-occupier first home buyers fell 4.2 per cent to 7,646 in December 2022.

First home buyer loans in December were 53 per cent below their January 2021 peak and 20 per cent below the February 2020 pre-pandemic level.

And refinancing was high in December, the bureau reported.

The value of total housing loan refinancing between lenders fell 1.5 per cent but remained high at $19.1 billion in December 2022, according to data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Crick said, “Recent months saw record high refinancing activity for both owner-occupiers and investors. Borrowers continued to switch lenders for lower interest rates as the RBA’s cash rate target rose.”

AUTHOR

Editorial Desk

Originally Published by The Urban Developer 28th February 2023

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