The regional towns where house prices are going up
QUEENSLAND'S southeast housing market might be booming, but the state's regions are still suffering from the mining boom hangover - battling low unemployment and falling home demand.
REIQ chief executive Antonia Mercorella said there was a significant divide between the southeast corner and the rest of the state, but green shoots of recovery were starting to sprout in some areas.
"I feel like most of regional Queensland has reached its bottom," she said.
"Some are bouncing back faster than others, particularly those that haven't been exclusively reliant on the mining sector."
Gladstone and Mackay were the only regions to report a quarterly median house price increase in June, according to the REIQ Queensland Market Monitor, but Mackay was a standout with price growth of 7.4 per cent.
"This market is finally showing the positive impact that we have been seeing in other parts of the local economy," Ms Mercorella said.
"Mackay is a really positive town, with the housing market finally reaping some small uplift of what has been promising economic activity earlier this year.
"To be clear, however, the annual median house price eased by 5.6 per cent compared with this
time last year, so we don't want to overstate this result. There is still some way to go before this
challenged market recovers its position."
Rockhampton is Queensland's most affordable house market with a median house price of $270,500, while Gladstone has the most affordable apartments in the state, with a median unit price of $218,750.
The annual median house price in Fraser Coast, Bundaberg, Cairns and Toowoomba increased moderately or held steady over the past year.
Over the medium term, these markets also performed positively, which Ms Mercorella said was remarkable considering the challenges faced by their regional economies.
Regional housing markets hit heavily by the mining downturn, including Rockhampton, Townsville, Mackay and Gladstone, have performed poorly over the past year and five years.
Gladstone's median house price fell 15 per cent in the 12 months to June and 37 per cent over the past five years.
Its median price has fallen to $295,000 compared with $468,000 in June 2012.
But things might be looking up in Townsville.
REA Group chief economist Nerida Conisbee said the most searched house in Queensland last week on realestate.com.au was in Townsville.
"I've got a feeling some of the premium housing suburbs are starting to take off," she said.
"There are a few pockets there that are starting to show signs of recovery."
Ms Mercorella urged the state government to reinstate the first home buyers grant for established housing in regional Queensland.
"We know there's a lot of great stock available but you've got first home buyers who are being locked out and driven to build new housing, and that's the last thing regional markets need," she said.