Real estate market in the Wide Bay booming as buyers escape ‘hustle and bustle’ – ABC News
A third-generation Bundaberg real estate agent says he has never seen the market take off so quickly, while a North Burnett agent has sold 40 homes so far this year — well more than expected.
Demand is high but prices are yet to rise
Driving around the Bundaberg region you cannot miss the ‘sold’ signs outside homes, which were not such a common sight a few years ago with some houses sitting on the market for six to 12 months.
This has meant busy times for third-generation real estate agent Kurt Dempsey as he fields calls and arranges video viewings for property buyers around the country and sometimes even overseas.
Mr Dempsey said it was not just the pandemic creating the fastest moving market his family’s business has seen, but it was playing a major role as city dwellers looked to move away from inner-city dense living conditions for a more relaxed, open-air regional lifestyle.
“The real estate in Bundaberg is going off,” he said.
“I think Bundaberg has so much to offer, and with all the madness that’s going on in the [capital] cities people are making the change to move to regional areas.”
With its coastal location and around four hours’ drive from Brisbane, Mr Dempsey believed it was not not just rum and ginger beer Bundaberg had to offer.
The region produces 25 per cent of Australia’s small crops, has consistent and mild weather, easy access to natural wonders like Fraser Island (K’gari) and the Southern Great Barrier Reef, and a median house price of just $280,000.
‘Reason to move’
“Now we are selling properties sight unseen; we are doing Skype tours,” he said.
“The value is there, people are just prepared to pay the price, this is the best it’s ever been.
“I think they have needed a reason to move and they have literally bought a house in Bundaberg to get out of the situation they are in.”
It’s not just the Bundaberg region of the Wide Bay where houses are selling like they never have before.
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About 200 kilometres west of Bundaberg, past rolling plains filled with citrus groves, you arrive in the North Burnett town of Monto where you can still buy a home for less than $100,000.
Louisa Bambling is a real estate agent in the region and has sold 40 houses in 2020 so far — more than she ever expected at the beginning of the year.
Ms Bambling believed affordable prices as well as access to essential services had made the town an attractive option to retirees looking to establish a home base while traveling around Australia.
“Price point is defiantly a part of it,” she said.
“We’ve had a lot of sales under or around $100,000, but I think buyers have been looking to regional areas and the community feel of Monto really captures them.
“They don’t want to go to a small town where there is nothing, they want a hospital, doctor, chemist, supermarkets, they are all pretty important.”
A few hundred kilometres south of Monto is the South Burnett town of Kingaroy, well known for peanuts and its recently established bacon festival.
Builder Peter Davidson has been flat out with one of the busiest building periods he had experienced as tree changers were looking to get out of regions like Brisbane, Sydney, or the Sunshine Coast.
“We’ve probably got 20 houses ahead of us but we could have more,” he said.
“I think people are trying to get away from the hustle and bustle.
“They can sell their house in Brisbane or Sydney and buy a cheap block of land, build a nice house, and afford to retire.”
Prices not rising yet
Properties in parts of regional Queensland may be moving off the market like never before as interstate city dwellers look for a mortgage and stress-free life, but it has not pushed property prices up.
Antonia Mercorella CEO of the Real Estate Institute of Queensland believed as the border restrictions ease, demand could jump even higher and that could make prices also rise.
“We’ve seen modest house growth, we haven’t seen that frenzy that Sydney and Melbourne has experienced and that’s not a bad thing,” she said.
“It’s been steady and reliable.
“But I do think in a post-pandemic world our property market is set to do incredibly well.”
The higher demand for property was also because listings were currently down around Queensland, but Ms Mercorella said that meant it was a great time time sell.
“My advice to sellers is if you are waiting, pressing pause, don’t do so,” she said.
“If anything, that is our biggest challenge — we just don’t have enough stock.
“The data is telling us it is a very good time to sell.”
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