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The hard stats on southerners migrating north

There’s no denying it. Luxury properties in Brisbane are ticking all the boxes for interstate migrators. The data tells us that the sunshine state — particularly the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Brisbane — has become the destination of choice for many prestige home buyers Australia wide. In some ways it’s no surprise given New South Wales in its umpteenth week of lockdown and Victoria has set a new world record for lengthy lockdowns. Melbourne movers and Sydney-siders are flocking to the sunshine, to the relative freedom of Queensland, to improve their lifestyles. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be able to wear shorts three quarters of the year?

Northern sun exposure

Sea and city changers have migrated north in waves to escape the state lockdowns. Queensland, usually the domain of couples reaching retirement, is now seeing an increase in families and young people making the journey north to call Brisbane home. 

Queensland is topping the ABS list for population growth because an additional 43,900 people moved here in the 12 months to March 2021. In the March quarter alone we gained 7,000 people. Meanwhile Victoria lost the most at -4,900, followed by New South Wales -4,500.

And it’s not just interstates, it’s international returnees. Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 500,000 let’s call them boomeranging expats have returned back to home seeking solace from uncertainty with many landing in Brisbane. These surging numbers in our population are adding increasing pressure to property prices. Good news for homeowners who are aspiring sellers.

Prestige is in demand

In particular, the luxury market in Brisbane is reaching new heights. Why? Well, my sense is that COVID-19 forced us to spend more time at home, and in its wake we had time to dream about what actually constitutes the ideal home. As international travel came to a halt and working from home became a staple part of everyday lives, this real desire for large floor plans, sunshine and separate studies or office spaces has turned into a non-negotiable checklist for buyers. 

Newly renovated character homes, prime riverfront locations and panoramic views across Brisbane City are major drawing cards for interstate migrators looking for prestige properties. Interestingly, sales for Brisbane’s premium homes worth between $2million and $7 million rose by 42 per cent as established, leafy and family-friendly suburbs such as New Farm and Hamilton piqued the interest of luxury buyers. And they’re not what we call perusers; they’re ready-to-buy purchasers.

Characteristics like proximity to prestigious schools, which are modest in price compared to the likes of some in Sydney and Melbourne, coupled with exclusivity and good community culture make pockets of Brisbane, think Sutherland Avenue or Mayfield Street in Ascot, really appealing. 

But I’m preaching to the converted here, aren’t I? We all know how good our neck of the woods is. 

Buyers active; sellers stalling

It’s a seller’s paradise right now yet so many sellers are stalling. Fueled by ultra low interest rates, lifestyle, and the relative affordability of our market, the mix of interstate migrators, upsizers and returning expats has added pressure to an already competitive buyer pool. This has pushed prices up further, as demand is exponentially outweighing supply.

The capital growth attributed to premium houses rose by 3.8 per cent in Brisbane in the 12 months to March. Some pundits are expecting those numbers to rise by another 2 per cent or more by the end of 2021. Recently, New Farm hit an incredible $2 million median house price, followed closely by Stretton, Wishart, Morningside, Windsor, Woolloongabba reaching the $1 million club for the first time. 

For homeowners, if you are thinking about upgrading, relocating or downsizing to a luxury apartment, it is an incredibly appealing time to get on the market.

Streets of (Olympic) gold

The already buoyant property market got a pleasant boost following the announcement of Brisbane as host of the 2032 Olympic Games. For comparison, when Sydney was named as host for the 2000 Olympic Games in 1993, median dwelling prices in surrounding suburbs increased by 60 per cent over the seven year period. Yes, interest rates aided this but so you can’t deny the impact of the global exposure the Olympics brought to the Emerald city. In Brisbane, key spots will also benefit from major infrastructure spend including athlete villages.

Matt Lancashire