Gladstone house prices up as normality returns to market

THE Gladstone median house price has increased five per cent to $420,000 in the December quarter, with preliminary sales numbers increasing by 17 per cent over the same period.

While property prices are holding relatively steady in central Queensland, the volume of sales in some mining areas continues to trend down.

The REIQ December quarter median house price report, released on Friday, shows in Gladstone, the preliminary number of house sales reduced about 30 per cent over the year, and in Mackay it fell by more than 30 per cent.

REIQ Gladstone zone chair Mark Spearing said normality was returning to the market.

He said while volumes were well below what they were a year ago, the market was beginning to improve.

"We are once again experiencing higher house sales volumes with the median house price creeping up," he said.

"First home buyers are becoming more active, as are other home buyers.

"Given the significant changes in the Gladstone market, many buyers are seeing this as a great opportunity to enter the market or upgrade their existing home."

Mr Spearing said the longer days on market compared to 12 months ago were a reflection of the certainty around the mining industry over the past year.

"Stock levels are reducing and the number of properties under construction has fallen, and this will steady the market over the next quarter," he said.

Across the state, the number of house sales peaked at the end of last year and recorded healthy price growth.

REIQ CEO Anton Kardash said not only could the December quarter claim to be the third strongest in as many years, it was also firming without the aid of stimulus measures.

"Our most recent peak was in September 2012 when the return of stamp duty concessions underpinned the increased sales activity," he said.

"However, the strength of this latest quarter was a direct reflection of our improving market and growing confidence levels."

Over the December quarter, the Brisbane median house price increased six per cent to $562,000 - the third best performer over the quarter.

The top major region over the period was Moreton Bay, which posted median house price growth of 7.7 per cent to $387,750.

The next best performer was Toowoomba, which again posted median price growth over the quarter. Its median house price increased 6.5 per cent to $329,000.