The latest CoreLogic Quarterly Regional Market Update (June 2019), which tracks sales volumes and dwelling values across 11 of Australia’s regional hubs, shows that sales activity has fallen across all regions over the last 12 months.

The Geelong and Latrobe-Gippsland regions in Victoria recorded the biggest decline in activity overall, with property sales falling by 23 per cent and 21 per cent respectively, year on year. The Illawarra region of NSW followed closely behind, recording a 20 per cent drop in sales volumes over the past 12 months.

In addition, dwelling values fell in 10 out of 11 regions over the last year. Wide Bay in Queensland bucked the trend, with house prices increasing by 2.0 per cent and unit prices by 4.9 per cent to achieve a median value of $290K and $244K respectively. CoreLogic research analyst Cameron Kusher said “Discounting is becoming more common in some areas as properties remain on the market for longer periods. Many sellers are realising they need to be flexible in order to achieve their sale.”

The Quarterly Regional Market Update, which also monitors trends in rental market activity, found that rental rates increased in nine regions. For houses, the greatest increase over 12 months was in Geelong (up 5.6 per cent). Latrobe-Gippsland recorded the highest increase for units, up 6.4 per cent.

The greatest rental yield for houses was to be found in Wide Bay, with landlords earning 5.9 per cent per annum. For apartments, Cairns landlords achieved an even higher 7.8 per cent per annum.

Key findings – National

  • Over the year, units in Lake Macquarie (-32 per cent) and Latrobe- Gippsland (-31 per cent) experienced the greatest declines in sales volumes.
  • Across the regions, houses remained on the market for between 56 days in Geelong to 109 days in Wide Bay. For units, this ranged from 61 days in Geelong to 136 days in Bunbury.
  • The highest number of sales took place in the Gold Coast, with 14,860 properties changing hands over the course of the year. Bunbury recorded the least number of sales, with 2,549 properties achieving settlement in the 12 months to June 2019.
  • Vendor discounting was greatest in Townsville, where houses received a typical discount of 9.9 per cent and units 9.9 per cent. The smallest vendor discounts were to be found in Latrobe-Gippsland, where houses were reduced by 5.5 per cent and units by 5.1 per cent. Richmond-Tweed also reported a 5.1 per cent discount for units.
  • Over a five-year period, Geelong experienced the highest growth in property values, with houses increasing by 34.6 per cent for houses and apartments rising by 26.3 per cent. Conversely, Bunbury house values fell the most, declining by -31.7 per cent over five years. Apartment values in Bunbury fell by -15 per cent.
  • The greatest proportion of house sales were in Bunbury (92 per cent), Latrobe-Gippsland (91 per cent) and Wide Bay (90 per cent). The Gold Coast had by far the greatest proportion of unit sales (56 per cent).

Key findings – NSW

  • In New South Wales, sales activity fell across all three regions, with the Illawarra region recording the largest drop in sales volumes (-20 per cent) year on year. Newcastle and Lake Macquarie were close behind with sales declining by -19 per cent since last May.
  • The Illawarra region also experienced the largest fall in house values (-11.9 per cent), while unit values declined the most in Newcastle & Lake Macquarie (-9.5 per cent).
  • In NSW, it has become more expensive to rent in the Richmond-Tweed region, with rental rates increasing by 4.0 per cent over the past year for houses and 2.4 per cent for units – the highest of the three NSW regions. In comparison, rental rates remained static In the Illawarra region where the average rental is $500 per week for houses and $420 per week for units.
  • It has become more expensive to rent a house in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie, with rents increasing by 2.3 per cent over the past 12 months to a median of $440 per week. Rental rates for units remained unchanged.

Key findings – QLD

  • Out of all five regions in Queensland, the highest falls in sales activity were in the Gold Coast (-18 per cent) and the Sunshine Coast (-17 per cent).
  • House and unit values declined in all regions except for Wide Bay, where prices increased by 2.0 per cent and 4.9 per cent respectively over the past 12 months.
  • The Sunshine Coast experienced the largest decline in house prices, where vales fell by -2.9 per cent. The greatest decline in unit values, compared to June last year, was in Townsville (-5.5 per cent).
  • It has become more expensive to rent a house in all five Queensland regions, with advertised rental rates on the increase. Weekly rents in Townsville increased the most, rising 4.8 per cent, followed by Cairns with a 3.8 per cent increase in weekly rents since June 2018.
  • Advertised rental rates for units increased in Cairns (+ 3.3 per cent) and the Gold Coast, (+ 1.2 per cent). Rents in the Sunshine Coast and Townsville remained the same, while Wide Bay was the only region to experience a downward trend in rental unit prices over the course of the year (-1.8 per cent).

Victoria

  • The greatest falls in sales activity were recorded in Geelong (-23 per cent) and Latrobe-Gippsland (-21 per cent) over the year to June 2019.
  • While house values in Geelong declined by -4.7 per cent, unit values increased by 2.1 per cent. Similarly, in Latrobe-Gippsland, unit values increased by 4.6 per cent while house values decreased slightly by 0.3 per cent.
  • Rental rates increased in Geelong by 5.6 per cent for houses ($20 per week) and 4.9 per cent for units ($15 per week). In Latrobe-Gippsland, rents increased by $15 per week for both houses (up 5.3 per cent) and units (up 6.4 per cent).

WA

  • In Western Australia, sales activity declined by -7 per cent over the 12 months to May 2019. Property values also fell, with house prices declining by -3.6 per cent and unit prices declining by -16.5 per cent over the year to June.
  • Advertised rental rates for both houses and units across the region saw no change when compared to June 2018.