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Best regions in Queensland for property investment in 2024

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OpenAgent articles are reviewed by real estate experts and professionals. Our reviewers confirm the content is thorough, accurate and reflective of current trends and best practice. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more about our editorial policy and review board here.

Johanna is one of the co-CEOs of OpenAgent. She has over 8 years of experience in the real estate industry through her work at OpenAgent and holds a class 2 real estate license in NSW. Previously, Johanna worked at hipages.com.au, Australia's largest trade marketplace, where she built her experience understanding renovations and home improvements for 7+ years.

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If you are looking to invest in regional Queensland property, or thinking of selling your property there - you need to know where the market is at, and where it could be heading in the year ahead. 

Read this article for a thorough but easy-to-understand summary of how regional markets in the Sunshine State performed in 2023, and what analysts predict for 2024. 

Let’s start with ‘23 numbers.

How did regional Queensland perform in ‘23?

Overall regional markets nationwide had a more subdued year, especially off the back of the COVID era - when they went gangbusters. 

This is reflected in CoreLogic data which recorded a more modest +4.4 per cent lift nationally for combined regional areas vs +9.3 per cent for combined capitals. And while the gap between median property values in regional areas ($605,780) vs capital cities has narrowed ($832,193) - you still get more for your money in country towns and rural locations. The state capital, Brisbane, also had a stellar year, up +13.1 per cent - and only eclipsed by Perth (+15.2 per cent).

Over the medium term regional markets in Queensland have outperformed massively, rising +51.9 per cent from the onset of COVID to Dec 2023 - so property values are at record highs. The median value is currently $611,797. 

Over 2023, regional markets in Queensland rose a respectable +8.7 per cent - a figure only beaten by regional SA (+9.4 per cent). House prices rose +8.6 per cent for a median of $615,169, while units were up +9.1 per cent for a median of $604,469. If you had an investment property rented out, you would have realised a rental yield of +4.6 per cent over the year. 

Let’s now look at some of the fastest-growing regional suburbs in Queensland.

Fastest growing regional areas: Queensland

CoreLogic data indicates the following regional areas had the highest 12-month value growth in the Sunshine State:

  • North Gold Coast values rose +14.4 per cent for a median dwelling value of $842,298
  • Nerang, on the Gold Coast, rose +13.2 per cent for a median dwelling value of  $902,721
  • Southport, on the Gold Coast, rose +13.2 per cent for a median value of $813,966
  • Innisfail, on the Cassowary Coast near Cairns, rose +12.1 per cent for a median dwelling value of $353,389
  • Wide Bay, in Bundaberg, rose +11.9 per cent for a dwelling value of $500,588

According to the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) regional demand over the final quarter of ‘23 was dominated by house sales in the Gold Coast (1,822), Moreton Bay (1,596), Logan (1,156), Sunshine Coast (1,120) and Townsville (1,060).

Its data indicated the following regional locations posted double-digit growth over ‘23:

  • Rockhampton, which grew +11.7 for a median house price of $232,500.
  • Bundaberg, which grew +10.7 per cent for a median house price of $435,000.
  • Toowoomba, which grew +10 per cent for a median house price of $550,000.

If you are looking for rental income, mining centres in regional Queensland continue to deliver strong rental yields, which could produce a healthy long-term return. Standouts include Mackay (6.6 per cent), and Gladstone (6.4 per cent). 

Let’s now look at what analysts are projecting for this market over the next year or more.

How can we expect the Queensland regional property market to change in 2024?

CoreLogic’s Regional Market Update recorded dwelling values in regional Australia up +1.2 per cent in the three months to January 2024, vs a capital city increase of +1.0 per cent increase over the same timeframe. Bundaberg (+12.0 per cent) and Rockhampton (+12.0 per cent were the standout performers in the quarter to January ‘24.

These are positive signals, though one must bear in mind that performance is as diverse as the number of postcodes. The impact of affordability and interest rate movements will also play a part in market performance over the year ahead. 

CoreLogic’s Tim Lawless believes regional centres with, “...commuting options to a capital city, a lifestyle dividend, and affordable housing — will likely experience stronger demand than they did pre-COVID.” 

His colleague Eliza Owen believes overall that markets will, “...still grow but at a slower rate than the 8.1 percent observed in CoreLogic's Home Value Index in 2023.”

You may also want to know what risk factors there are for this market. 

What should buyers and investors be wary of in Queensland?

While most analysts project growth for the Queensland real estate market over 2024, there are some potential headwinds to be aware of. 

If house price growth continues at the current pace, affordability could become an issue - especially if interest rates remain at current levels or rise. You should also be cautious about investing in overheated markets, particularly large apartment developments - though this is only generally a factor in Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Rental vacancy rates are a good metric to track in this regard, where high rates could indicate an oversupply. 

Curious about what signals to look out for to identify a high-growth hotspot?

How to identify an area with high growth potential

Shortlist your search by identifying suburbs where many of the following factors are present, specifically:

  • Rising property values, preferably stable growth in house prices over a relatively short time frame - typically a few years, though it will depend on how long you intend to invest.
  • A declining days on market (DOM) metric, is a good sign that there is strong demand in a suburb - as properties don’t list for too long. You do need to know your local market, as DOM varies widely by market and location. 
  • Rising rental yields, which details how much income/rent a property could fetch over a timeframe, as a proportion of its value. Rising rental yields are a good sign that there is strong demand for rental accommodation. 
  • High clearance rates at auctions, which are detailed as a percentage of the number of properties sold over a week/month. 
  • Low vacancy rates indicate there is strong demand for rental property in an area. 

You can also track other economic indicators, like government investment in infrastructure or other job creation initiatives that will boost the local economy.