Property Prices Plummet in Coveted Australian Regions

As the pandemic era comes to an end and interest rates start to rise, the once-booming regional real estate markets across Australia are losing their shine. City-dwellers who were once eager to escape to the countryside or the coast are now holding back, leading to a decline in property prices from Byron Bay to Geelong.

Feb 21 | 5 minutes read
Australia Real Estate

According to CoreLogic, a property data firm, only 13 of the 25 regional markets in the country saw an increase in house prices last month, a significant drop from 21 markets that experienced growth in the 12 months leading up to October.

The Richmond-Tweed region in New South Wales, which includes the popular beach town of Byron Bay, experienced the largest drop in house values, with a staggering 18.6% decline in the year leading up to January. The area also witnessed a decline of more than a third in property sales, with homes remaining on the market for an average of 71 days and vendors offering discounts of up to 8.3% over the past three months.


Regional Real Estate Markets Experience a Slowdown with Milder Price Declines Compared to Cities

The once-surging property markets in Australia's regional areas have started to experience a retreat. Illawarra, a region south of Sydney, saw a significant 12.6% decline in house prices over the year leading up to January. This follows a period of rapid growth, with a 44% increase in property values prior to the latest peak.


Although regional markets are slowing down, the pace of the decline is not as rapid as that seen in the capital cities. In fact, during the latest cycle, regional property prices increased by 41.6%, with a slow retreat of 0.8% per month. In contrast, capital cities saw a monthly drop of 1.1% from a peak of 25.5%.


Despite the decline in regional markets, recent peaks in property values were typically higher than those in capital cities. The slowdown is attributed to rising interest rates and the end of COVID restrictions, which have reduced the demand for property in the countryside and coastal areas.


Richmond-Tweed's Property Market Plunge: Understanding the Factors Behind It and the Future Outlook

The Richmond-Tweed region, which experienced a significant 18.6% drop in house prices over the past year, has become the poster child for Australia's declining regional real estate markets. According to CoreLogic's Head of Research, Eliza Owen, the region's astronomical growth during the Covid era was not sustainable, with house prices skyrocketing over 50% and the median value of houses exceeding $1.1 million.


However, since then, a lot has changed. The reopening of borders, return of outbound travel, and resurgence of in-office work, coupled with nine Reserve Bank rate hikes, have led to a swift and substantial shift in the regional property market. With the central bank indicating further interest rate increases in the future, Owen believes that the decline in housing values is likely to continue.


Owen recommends that sellers adjust their price expectations to align with the current market trends, as the decline in property values is expected to continue until interest rates reach their peak. As the regional real estate market landscape continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how sellers and buyers alike adapt to the changing environment.


Australian real estate market


Real Estate Market Divergence Across Australia: An In-Depth Look at Regional Trends and What They Mean for Buyers and Sellers

As Australia's real estate market experiences a period of declining prices, there are a few regions that are bucking the trend. One of the notable exceptions is South Australia's south-east, including Kangaroo Island, the Fleurieu Peninsula, and the Limestone Coast, which saw a significant increase of 15.7% in house prices in the year leading up to January. In New South Wales, the New England and north-west regions reported gains of 11.5% and 10.1%, respectively.


On the other hand, units in Richmond-Tweed recorded a 10% drop in prices, the largest covered by CoreLogic, while Victoria's Geelong saw a 9.4% slide in unit prices. Cairns and Toowoomba in Queensland, on the other hand, experienced the largest increases in unit prices, rising 17.3% and 14.1%, respectively.


When it comes to unit sales volume, only two regions, Mackay and Townsville, saw an increase of 19.2% and 10.6%, respectively, in the 12 months leading up to November. Unit sales in the southern highlands/Shoalhaven region of NSW slumped by almost half, while those in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie and the Illawarra decreased by more than one-third, according to CoreLogic.


These diverging trends in regional real estate markets have significant implications for buyers and sellers. Buyers may find opportunities in areas where prices are decreasing, while sellers may need to adjust their expectations and strategies to remain competitive in areas where prices are on the rise. As always, it's important to stay informed and work with a trusted real estate agent to make the best decisions for your unique situation.


In conclusion, the once-booming regional property market in Australia is showing signs of cooling down. With the end of COVID-19 lockdowns and rising interest rates, the urge for city dwellers to relocate to the beach or bush has been sapped, leading to dropping property prices in many sought-after areas. While some regional markets are still on the rise, the pace is slower than in capital cities, and the recent peaks are typically higher. It remains to be seen how long the decline in regional property prices will last, but experts expect it to continue until interest rates top out. Meanwhile, certain areas like South Australia's south-east, NSW's New England and north-west, and Queensland's Cairns and Toowoomba have bucked the trend with rising property prices. As always, the property market is subject to fluctuations and uncertainties, making it an ever-evolving landscape for buyers and sellers alike.

Add new comment