Nila Sweeney

The Queensland property market has been hit harder than most in the downturn but there are signs a return to growth is imminent.

One of the key factors to the QLD property market has been population growth, although it is set to taper off over 2009 in light of the past nine month's economic turmoil according to PRDnationwide research analyst Aaron Maskrey.

"Brisbane's somewhat impervious perception finally succumbed to economic pressures, with activity decreasing below the ten year average and the median sale price to record its first decline over the past ten years. This has been a problem for Queensland's coastal cities as an abundance of product exists, both new and existing mature stock, which unfortunately is not being absorbed fast enough," he says.

This has caused coastal median prices to register a continued decline.  On the flip side, PRDnationwide Research believes the time to buy on the coast is now. "The long term outlook for the coast is positive and despite the current short term fluctuation both investors and owner occupiers should seek discounted opportunities," says Maskrey.

Looking ahead, PRDnationwide Research believes that Brisbane is close to the bottom of the market and will lead the way through to recovery for Queensland, with the coastal markets to follow behind. "Already, like NSW, activity in QLD has picked up in the property market during the March 2009 half year period.  Moving forward, Brisbane's real estate market is set to remain buoyant as rental yields are set to hold despite a large proportion of renters moving into ownership over the past six months. Brisbane's sound economic conditions, low vacancy rate and underlying demand for residential property should see the city through such volatile times," says Maskrey

BIS Shrapnel analyst Angie Zigomanis says that it is Brisbane's outer suburbs and more affordable properties that are showing resilience in the downturn and posting price growth as investors look to get exposure in Queensland. The state is a big draw for domestic and international tourists and Brisbane is starting to become a business hub.

"It's not Sydney or Melbourne but you're starting to find that companies are locating regional offices in Brisbane," he says. "Now that it's got a bigger population base in south east Queensland, companies are probably finding they've got to put more people up there to service that population. It's got a critical mass that it may not have had a few years back.

We then expect prices to pick up more strongly from 2010/11, as economic growth gathers momentum nationally," says Zigomanis. "Over the three-year period to 2012, the median house price is forecast to rise by a total of 16 %, or 6% in real terms," he says.

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