The year 2012 began with a movement towards recovery for the south- east Queensland real estate markets but the Gold Coast remained one of the most subdued markets across Australia. By mid- March, analysts were definitely hopeful about the former and the CBRE first quarter report highlighted Brisbane as one of the more stable markets. The sub-$500,000 price range appeared to be the most preferred bracket here clearly showing that investors were still cautious about real estate and chose to keep big budget investments under wraps.

Gold Coast Markets Outlook Heartening

In spite of a decline in prices by more than 11% during this period, analysts continued to hold an optimistic outlook for Gold Coast property markets. Increase in buyer activity was the main reason behind this. The state sponsored $10,000 building boost helped encourage first time home buyer activity here leading to improving numbers in this category. High end luxury properties remained out of favor both in coastal locations as well as in Brisbane. In the State of States report in April Queensland was ranked third and the report also predicted an improvement in the economy over the coming year.

Signs of Upswing Clearer during 2012 Second Half

By August, the signs of an upswing in the Queensland property market were much more evident. Analysts were predicting that the second half of the year would spell a period of steady improvement in the market. The change of governance here also added impetus to the upswing. Interest rate reductions, affordable pricing and the fact that the market had already scraped bottom were all factors that were expected to contribute to an upward momentum in property prices here.

However, the rising cost of living and subdued investor confidence were still obstacles especially in areas like the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Sunshine coast, Atherton Tablelands and Wide Bay Burnett. Rental values remained strong in the Brisbane area and this supported the subsequent return of investor confidence in this market.

Clear Improvement by Year End

The end of the year presented a clear contrast to the subdued activity and low pricing that were witnessed at the beginning of 2012. While in the first half year sales remained confined to the below $350,000 properties, the second half of the year saw a shift from this norm. More importantly, the transaction levels witnessed a dramatic improvement during the last 6 months of 2012.

To summarize, through 2012, asking prices remained a bit higher than what buyers were happy to pay, especially during the first half. While pricing did not undergo substantial change/ improvement by end of the year, activity levels dramatically improved indicating that investors were clearly more confident about acquiring Queensland properties. With the heartening trends that are apparent over the first few months of 2013, there is more reason than ever before to invest in property in Australia right now.