Sunshine Coast's hot housing market comes to 'abrupt halt' as prices fall

Sunshine Coast's hot housing market comes to 'abrupt halt' as prices fall

Roger Pettingell Sarasota Real Estate

The Sunshine Coast’s hot property market is showing signs of cooling, with house prices declining for the first time in just over three years, a new report shows.

Unit prices have also had their biggest fall, according to quarterly June data released today by real estate company Domain. 

Domain’s chief of research and economics Nicola Powell said house prices recorded a 2.4 per cent decline over the past quarter.

“It has been such a long period of rising prices,” Dr Powell said.

“[While] 2.4 per cent in three months does sound quite a drop, when you look at prices over the past year, they’re almost 21 per cent higher over the past 12 months.

“What it shows is the peak rate of growth has now passed and the pace of growth is slowing down.” 

A blonde woman smiles at the camera
Nicola Powell says house prices had been rising steadily.(Supplied: Linkedin)

Dr Powell said the figures showed the region’s steepest upswing in house prices since 2003 was coming to an abrupt halt.

But despite the dip, median house prices on the Sunshine Coast were still at the $1 million mark.

“The median house prices is still very high, but it’s pulled back from last quarter’s record high of $1.025 million,” Dr Powell said.

“It’s the same for unit prices. They declined 1.8 per cent over the June quarter and are at $655,000.”

Affordability crisis leaves 14,000 homeless

The price drop will be cold comfort for those displaced by the region’s accommodation crisis.

A property research analyst says 14,000 people are now homeless on the Sunshine Coast due to a combination of the area’s high rent and undersupply of rental housing stock.

Real estate photo showing the surrounding large homes in the Nambour Heights suburb
The median house price is on the $1 million mark.(Supplied: RE/MAX Property Nambour)

The Direct Collective, a property research and development company, has been studying Census data to get a better idea of how bad the region’s homeless crisis is. 

Research director Mal Cayley said it showed more than 3,500 rental properties have returned to the market as owner-occupied homes. 

“So if you take that Census data into account, as well as the last year, we have an undersupply of rental properties between 5,500 to 7,500 on the Sunshine Coast,” he said.

“That means 14,000 people have been displaced in our community, because we don’t have enough supply.”

A man in a black polo shirt smiling for the camera
Mal Cayley says there are solutions.(Supplied: The Direct Collective)

Mr Cayley said he has heard heartbreaking stories of those who suddenly found themselves homeless for the first time.

“Because we’re out there talking about this issue, we are being bombarded,” he said. 

“It’s really hard to handle the number of stories of people couch surfing, of families sleeping in cars, of the rising first-time homelessness. The absolute desperate nature of how bad this crisis really is.”

Coast needs 4,000 dwellings built per year 

Mr Cayley said the region needed to build the equivalent of a new suburb each year for the next 20 years to keep up with population growth.

“I believe that the forecasts are underestimating the number of people,” he said.

“We need more than a suburb a year, every year, delivered to meet the quantum of people who are turning up on the Sunshine Coast. 

Development is needed to keep up with population growth. (Supplied: Peter Wise)

“It’s probably more about 4,200 a year of new dwellings that we need.”

The company said it was preparing to launch a community housing strategy in the next fortnight, in a bid to end homelessness in the region over the next decade.

The HEUS initiative, a House for Everyone Under the Sun, will collaborate with community groups to lobby all three levels of government. 

“What we need is a whole-of-government and a whole-of-community approach and there are ways and means to change the issue,” Mr Cayley said.

“So we need to look at everything from government policies to land tax, stamp duty rates, complex planning rules and how they impair investors from adding to supply.”

Mr Cayley said the council needed to develop an emergency action plan to address housing undersupply issues, similar to the strategy launched recently by Noosa Council.

A homeless person lies on a seat.
The council is addressing homelessness.(ABC News: Giulio Saggin)

A Sunshine Coast Council spokesperson said it remained committed to working collaboratively with all levels of government to improve access to services for people experiencing homelessness and to address housing affordability issues. 

“Council is liaising with stakeholders to commence the development of a housing and homelessness action plan,” the spokesperson said.

They said the preparation of the new planning scheme would also consider future housing needs for the region, but would not be fast tracked.


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