Cyclone Yasi hits home prices in North Queensland

Cyclone Yasi has hit again but this time in the form of house prices in North Queensland with Townsville recording a drop of almost 3 per cent over the past quarter.

Real Estate Institute of Queensland released its March quarter median house price report over the weekend which showed the median house price in Townsville decreased 2.9 per cent to $369,000.

The decline concerned real estate agents, including REIQ Townsville zone chair Marion Grice who said the cyclone and the unprecedented length of the wet season contributed to the downturn.

But Ms Grice was hopeful numbers would bounce back.

“Everybody is feeling this but nobody really knows what will trigger confidence back into the market,” she said.

“The weather we had in the earlier part of the year has made people hesitate to look at properties and people putting properties on the market have also hesitated.”

Ms Grice said people were still suffering psychological affects following the cyclone.

“While we didn’t sustain any significant damage, psychologically it certainly made people much more cautious about spending,” Ms Grice said.

She said the market had improved since the end of March but confidence levels were still a concern.

People were spending the time cleaning their houses and yards following the cyclone rather than shopping for a new home, Ms Grice said.

“Australians are saving at an all-time record but people are not feeling confident enough to spend,” she said.

“People are saving for that rainy day and we hope in the second half of the year there will be pent up demand,” Ms Grice said.

She said if interest rates stayed at a reasonable rate it could indicate a more encouraging second half of the year for property sales.

Townsville’s median house price increased by 4.1 per cent to $380,000 in the December quarter.

Meanwhile, agents across the state were feeling the pinch with a weaker March quarter.

In Brisbane median house prices decreased 1.9 per cent to $515,000 over the quarter and preliminary sales numbers were down about 15 per cent on the previous quarter.

Bucking the trend across the state was Gladstone, which continued its strong run due to the development of liquefied natural gas in its region.

The news wasn’t all doom and gloom for North Queensland property buyers and sellers.

“All the information we have is Townsville should feel confident about its future,” Ms Grice said.

“We are well positioned regionally, we are not a tourist town and we are not overly reliant on mining or any other industry.


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