Buyers flock to regional Queensland

*Article sourced from ABC Wide Bay 7th April 2024


  • House prices have risen more than 80 per cent across the Wide Bay region since 2020, but experts say they’re still comparatively cheap.
  • Migration is putting pressure on regional house prices and rental markets.
  • A real estate agent says people are looking for “the next Sunshine Coast” and are starting to discover “hidden gems” like Bargara, Moore Park Beach and Burnett Heads.

Kirsti King and her husband moved to a sleepy beachside town where property prices have soared by more than 80 per cent in four years, but an analyst says it’s still “extraordinarily cheap” compared to capital city property prices. Five hours north of Brisbane, nestled between cane fields and the ocean, is Moore Park Beach in the Bundaberg region.

Comparing Prices

Regional Queensland is the strongest market in the country since the pandemic onset, experiencing a 66.5 per cent surge in home prices since 2020, according to the latest PropTrack data. The Wide Bay region between Gympie and Bundaberg has topped the list with values soaring by 80.5 per cent in the same period. Ipswich, Logan-Beaudesert and the Gold Coast also saw house values rise by more than 70 per cent. According to Corelogic, the median price for a house in Bundaberg is $522,607, Gympie is $629,775 and Maryborough is $484,153. Meanwhile, Noosa’s median price is $1,461,581, and Greater Brisbane’s is $817,564.

Despite the increase, Mr Lawless said coastal homes in the region were still affordable when compared to south-east Queensland. “At Moore Park Beach or Bargara or Innes Park, we’re still looking at house values or median house values that are well below $750,000,” he said. “Compare that to a coastal market around south-east Queensland and it’s extraordinarily cheap.”

Pushing Prices Up 

He said migration was a major factor putting pressure on the regional property market, and the rental market, although it had slowed since the end of the pandemic. “We’re seeing very strong migration coming into Queensland both from interstate as well as from overseas,” Mr Lawless said. “Regional Queensland is mostly an interstate trend rather than being driven by overseas migrants, but overall population growth is still very strong.”

He said the supply of housing was not meeting demand. “The number of new homes that are being built is insufficient to the amount of people coming into the state,” Mr Lawless said. “So with that in mind, we’re seeing constraints across both homes to purchase, but also homes to rent, because rental rates are also rising consistently and quite rapidly.” Bundaberg real estate agent Kurt Dempsey said the local market was attracting buyers who had sold and made profits elsewhere, and were chasing a beachside lifestyle at a cheaper price.

“They’re searching for the next Sunshine Coast,” he said. “Bargara, Moore Park Beach and Burnett Heads have been these little hidden gems and they’re starting to be discovered.” Mr Dempsey said traditionally the region was known for its “slow and steady” market pace, which appeared to be returning after the boom of the pandemic.

Next Coastal Hotspot

Sunshine Coast resident James Jenkinson has bought a block of land at Innes Park, on the coast of Bundaberg, and is planning to build a house and relocate with his family. The pipeline plumbing construction company owner said planned infrastructure projects, including a new $1.2 billion Bundaberg Hospital development, and the coastal lifestyle attracted him to the region. “The Bundaberg region reminds me of pockets of the Sunshine Coast from the early 1990s,” he said. “We are looking at moving this year to rent and then start the building process.

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So what does this mean for Coral Cove Ocean Estate? 

Coral Cove sits within this prime growth corridor referenced in this article. As a master planned community Coral Cove Ocean Estate will comprise of a boutique retail village centre, landscaped parks and open space for residents to enjoy. Right on the coast, an architect-designed clubhouse is being proposed, incorporating tavern and expansive garden entertainment space where residents can make the most of the climate and ocean views. With a mix of residential land lots planned to suit first home buyers, families, downsizers and investors there will be something for everyone at Coral Cove Ocean Estate.