June mixed for regional housing

THE regional housing market had mixed results in Queensland in the June quarter, with house prices remaining steady or falling in most areas, new data revealed on Sunday.

Across most regions, home buyers were retreating from the property in June, waiting for stamp duty concessions to return, while prices held fairly firm.

Sales in Toowoomba showed positive results, with the median house price rising 3.8% to $299,000, while Gladstone's held steady at a healthy $475,000 in the June quarter.

Real Estate Institute of Queensland chief executive Anton Kardash said there was a noticeable slow-down in activity from May to June.

"The state government introduced legislation into parliament in mid-May to reinstate the Principal Place of Residence concession on stamp duty from July 1 this year," he said.

"The return of the concession meant home buyers, who were not first-timers or investors, could save up to $7,000 from 1 July, so it is little wonder that many decided to delay their purchases until after that date."

Mr Kardash said despite falls in sales activity across the board, particularly in June, the overall median sales price data showed the market was "still holding up well".

"The four rate cuts since November are also starting to have a positive effect on the market," he said.

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed the number of homes financed to non-first home buyers around the state fell 12.8% between May and June this year.

Mr Kardash said the fundamentals of the Queensland property market remained positive however it was important to remember that real estate was predominantly a confidence industry.

"We had improving confidence levels at the start of the June quarter, but the continued economic uncertainty here and overseas has had an impact on confidence levels generally," he said.

"We believe the market will eventually start to hit its stride in a more vigorous manner due to pent-up demand, population growth and the ongoing mining boom putting pressure on the real estate market.

"But this may take longer than we originally believed because of the ongoing uncertainty about our State's finances. Once this has been addressed, we should see the gates of confidence open once more."

Median houses prices around Queensland in the June quarter:

Sunshine Coast: up 0.9% to $434,000

Rockhampton: down 1.6% to $315,000

Gladstone: steady at $475,000

Bundaberg: up 2.7% to $287,500

Fraser Coast: down 2.8% to $282,000

Mackay: steady at $425,000

Townsville: up 4.2% to $375,000

Brisbane: down 1% to $500,000

SOURCE: REIQ June Quarter 2012 data.

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