Bundaberg housing market explodes as city dwellers escape lockdowns
City dwellers looking for their slice of bush heaven to escape pandemic lockdowns in major cities are creating a housing boom in the town of Bundaberg in south-eastern Queensland.
Buyers can still find a home on a large block for under $ 300,000 in the coastal town, which is only a short drive from Australia’s most expensive real estate hotspot, the Noosa Shire. .
There are a lot of jobs in health, hospitality and agriculture. The city also enjoys easy access to the Great Barrier Reef and pristine, uncrowded beaches.
It is also one of the areas closest to Brisbane that has avoided COVID-19 lockdowns.
When it comes to third-generation real estate agent Kurt Dempsey, it’s obvious the area is experiencing a boom.
Sales in the city have doubled in the past 12 months and prices have increased by around 20%.
“In [the suburb of] Avoca, the year ending May 2020, there were 66 homes sold. Now, with the year ending 2021, there have been 119 sales, âhe said.
âThe year ending May 2020 in Walkervale, the average price was $ 204,601, then in May 2021, the average median home value is $ 249,000, which has increased by 21%.â
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Locals refer to those fleeing high density cities and trading balconies for backyards as “COVID refugees”. Their arrival in the region is starting to make itself felt with new cafes, alley markets, cultural events and boutiques.
Real estate agents say the only obstacle during this boom is finding enough properties for buyers.
âThe problem we have now as agents is that everyone is looking for ads because there are a lot of people who want to buy,â said Mr. Dempsey.
âBundy was a real winner. There are more people coming to the area, more stores opening, more commercial businesses coming to the area.
âEveryone seems to have won.
According to Dempsey, the rise in the number of home hunters is not limited to those looking to escape locked cities, with investors and first-time homebuyers also looking to break into the housing market.
âBecause the statistics are there now, you get a lot of outside investors who want to make their money.
“People are staying here now, making their careers here. You also get a lot of first-time buyers and locals downsizing or upgrading their workforce.”
He said house prices were still relatively low compared to places like the Sunshine Coast.
“We are still very affordable.”
Record banking profits
The boom doesn’t just stimulate the real estate market.
Bundaberg-based Auswide Bank posted record growth, with net income jumping 30.5% to $ 24.15 million.
About 70 percent of the bank’s shareholders and a majority of the customer base are in the region.
Auswide Bank Managing Director Martin Barrett believes these are exciting times for the region’s historically slow real estate market.
âIt’s amazing,â Barrett said.
âWe have experienced tremendous growth, it is the strongest growth we have ever seen.
“Home loans have exploded, confirming the fact that there is a lot more housing activity going on.”
With many new customers coming to the bank through brokers and using the government’s first mortgage loan deposit program, Barrett is confident the strong sales will continue.
“I think it’s likely that we’ll see continued growth in house prices over the next 12 months. Interest rates are very, very low, which has prompted a level of affordability.” , said Barrett.
âI think we’ll see a slowdown on the construction side as builders are under pressure right now and we’ll see a little less pace in terms of real estate price growth.
“But nonetheless, I think we have a bit of a way to go.”