QLD lures buyers from across the country to buy big

By Andy Webb

It's been a huge year for real estate in Brisbane and regional Queensland, with both markets boasting double-digit growth within the last six months alone. 

As the pandemic stretches on and new outbreaks continue to occur, more and more people are looking to the Sunshine State as an opportunity for a lifestyle change, to find fairer weather, better value property and a bit more space. 

That's resulted in plenty of standout sales which have caught even the most seasoned real estate agents by surprise. 

We chatted to two of the state's top agents about memorable recent sales and where they see the market heading next. 

 
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43 registered bidders take Brisbane home to an 'unfathomable' result

Michael Nolan of Ray White West End, based just south of the Brisbane River, has seen huge growth in his city in recent times. 

"It's having the growth that Sydney and Melbourne have been having and Brisbane hasn't seen," he says. "And we're just noticing in some suburbs there's been over 30 per cent growth in the last 18 months."

The sale of 37 Woodlea St, Moorooka serves as a great example. The three-bedroom, one-bathroom, fully original 1952 house, which sits around 6km south of Brisbane's city centre, drew some quite incredible levels of interest. 

37 Woodlea St, Moorooka

37 Woodlea St ticked a lot of boxes for first home buyers. Source: Ray White West End

"It was 'grandma's house,' everyone said that," Mr Nolan explains. "It had floral carpet, it just hadn't been touched."

Despite the dated presentation of the deceased estate, the property had a good floorplan and a convenient location, and with reduced stock on the market for buyers to choose from it drew a huge 150 groups through at open homes. 

Many of the interested parties were first home buyers, young families who are increasingly viewing Moorooka as a desirable suburb where they can break into the market without sacrificing CBD proximity. 

Mr Nolan also notes that his office has been dealing with interstate buyers more and more, something they'd never had before. 

When auction day came around, there was an expectation that the sale would draw a similar price to a comparable home on the same street which sold two weeks prior for $705,000.

37 Woodlea St, Moorooka
Untouched in decades, 37 Woodlea St offered plenty of reinvention opportunities for the right buyer. Source: Ray White West End

"We looked at that and so did the owner, and thought that's reasonable," Mr Nolan says. 

The massive pool of potential buyers had other ideas, though, and while bidding opened at only $550,000, it came down to two buyers battling it out from the $850,000 mark. 

In the end, the house sold for $939,000, a figure Mr Nolan describes as "unfathomable."

"It obviously shows that we're having some significant growth locally and people want to buy in the area," he says.

On the other hand, he tries to keep a realistic picture of what's going on. 

"The way I look at it, that buyer is now out of the market, so they're not going to go pay that money anywhere else again. So things are always different."

 
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Pelican Waters waterfront house draws offers from interstate and international buyers

Further north on the Sunshine Coast, Linda Feltman of McGrath Caloundra has also seen an influx of buyers, from interstate especially. 

"Covid has changed the way people are thinking, and while they're stuck at home they're looking at their lifestyle and their life—where they live and how they live," she says.

"Out of the last 30 properties I've sold, 22 of them are to interstate buyers."

24 Westholme Circuit in Pelican Waters is one of those properties that represents the kind of lifestyle so many buyers from big cities are yearning for. 

24 Westholme Circuit, Pelican Waters
24 Westholme Circuit, Pelican Waters boasted full canal frontage and exceptional privacy. Source: McGrath Caloundra

The deluxe four-bed, three-bath, two-car, single-storey house sits on a waterfront corner block of nearly 1,000 square metres that offers unbroken views of the canal. 

The vendors were a couple looking to retire and travel around Australia in a couple of years, but Ms Feltman says "they brought their plans forward due to the market being so buoyant. And why wouldn't they?"

Such a standout property drew plenty of attention, not just from interstate but from overseas as well—buyers from the US, Hong Kong and Singapore were all getting in touch to express their interest. 

"There were families in the mix, there were investors in the mix, it was a really nice funnel of buyers," Ms Feltman explains. "It was a broad spectrum actually."

As the property was available for private inspections only, her strategy was to group buyers together in lots of four or five to generate a sense of competition. 

24 Westholme Circuit, Pelican Waters
The open-air layout of 24 Westholme Circuit appealed to many looking for that perfect Sunshine Coast lifestyle. Source: McGrath Caloundra

Anybody unable to attend in person was given a thorough FaceTime walkthrough, and in the end there were a total of four parties making offers—"very much like a mini-auction."

With that amplified competition, it pushed the final sale price up to $2.85 million, a figure Ms Feltman says is the third-highest for Pelican Waters, although she's cautious to note that, with the market as strong as it is, that's liable to change at any time. 

"The growth of waterfront homes in particular in Pelican Waters is second to none," she says. "We find that along the Sunshine Coast, if you go up to Noosa and you picked this property, it'd be a six to seven million dollar home.

"The feedback from all the buyers, interstate or international, is that the bang for buck that you get is phenomenal."

 
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What next for the Brisbane and QLD markets?

With Queensland's capital and regional markets both having a stellar first half of 2021, the question is can the momentum continue?

Mr Nolan sees activity picking up on all sides of the equation in Brisbane. 

Michael Nolan, Ray White West End
Michael Nolan, one of the top selling agents at Ray White West End.

"There are a lot more properties hitting the market at the moment than what there were a few months ago, and there are a lot of buyers that are purchasing," he says. 

"I think people have seen the money that's being achieved now with sale prices, and it's definitely made them jump."

He also mentions that "we've had a lot of investor stock all come on the market, which is a telltale sign to me that those people decided to cash out because they think it's a good time."

Up on the Sunshine Coast, Ms Feltman keeps seeing the sales figures surging. 

"The entry level into waterfront properties in Pelican Waters was 1.4 to 1.5 million," she explains.

"Now the entry level is probably 1.9 [million]. So the way the momentum is going, I believe that now we have this lovely calibre of home being built and the price points being where they are, I can only continue to see massive growth.

"So my advice to buyers is, I would be getting in now rather than later, because it is still growing at a rapid rate, and will continue to do so. There's no reason why it won't."

Linda Feltman, McGrath Caloundra
Linda Feltman, a specialist in Pelican Waters properties at McGrath Caloundra. 

With new infrastructure projects like Pelican Waters' town centre marina development only serving to make these areas more appealing to out-of-area buyers, Ms Feltman says the convenience and amenity is only getting better. 

"It's not a sleepy little hollow anymore. You've got all this infrastructure happening right in our backyard, but then you're only four or five minutes to Golden Beach, the beautiful cafe precincts there. Then if you want to go have a surf, you're 10 minutes to Kings Beach. 

"Then if you want to go to Brisbane, you're an hour from the international airport in Brisbane. You're 40 mins to the international airport at Maroochydore. You're not far from anywhere."

 
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