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14 December, 2021

Homes selling like hotcakes

PROPERTIES on the Tablelands are being scooped up faster than ever and fetching higher prices for sellers as the real estate sector continues to experience a spike in sales.

By Robyn Holmes

Photo: Dreamstime

Properties in the Atherton district have certainly rose in price this year, with some being purchased sight unseen, says First National Real Estate’s Zach Reid. 

“The combination of today’s high price, low days on market and number of transactions has not been seen before,” he said.

“Sellers are getting more than they expected in most situations. At First National, we have seen a number of recent sales well over owner expectation netting the sellers in certain situations upwards of $50,000 more than they expected.” 

The median sale price for a property in Atherton had increased by $30,000 or 10 per cent in the past year, he said. 

“From 2015-2019, the median sale price in Atherton was $308,000 with an average number of sales or transactions of 119,” Mr Reid said. 

“In 2020, the average price and sales remained much the same, however, for 2021 to date the median sale price is now $335,000, with sales numbers year to date sitting at 197.” 

Predominantly, buyers are from the Far North region, but one in five are from interstate or from other parts of Queensland. 

“Quite a few families and retirees are buying up here and we have had less investors than usual,” Mr Reid said. 

“I believe the buyers are realising that lifestyle is important and living in a city may not be as glamourous. 

Many people moving here have visited and loved the area or are attracted by family. 

“We are continually hearing how beautiful the Atherton Tablelands is generally, and the lifestyle and weather is what is attracting out-of-towners.” 

This year, the office had sold properties to five buyers who bought them sight unseen. 

Mr Reid said properties were selling quickly and stock was at a premium. “It wasn’t uncommon for properties to take 3-6 months to sell prior to 2020 – the average days on market now are 42 with many properties selling faster than that,” he said.

“The prices began to increase primarily on acreage and homes in town were seeing less interest, but now the rest of the market, including homes in town, have caught up. They are now experiencing huge demand. At this point, buyers want everything – in town and acreage depending on their budget.” 

Central Realty Mareeba owner Remo Esposito has been experiencing similar trends, with buyers getting the price they are seeking and a limited number of properties to list. 

“We probably have a quarter of the properties we would normally have on our books and that has been more so in the past six months,” he said.

“Buyers are not mucking around because they know they have to move quickly – they are not trying to ‘strike a bargain’ as they might have done if there were plenty of properties on offer.” 

Mr Esposito said there had been an increase in the volume of interstate buyers and had sold some properties sight unseen.

“We have adapted to the situation as many others have using videos and auctions online,” he said. 

“For interstate buyers and those from cities, even Cairns, we offer more affordability and they can get better value for their money such as a pool or sheds.” 

He believed the market was not slowing down any time soon and urged sellers to move now if they wanted to take advantage of the peaked interest in local properties. 

Elders Real Estate Malanda’s Jeanette Suffield, who is also president of the town’s chamber of commerce, agrees new listings are hard to come by, particularly acreage properties around the Malanda district. 

“There are not so many new listings available at the moment as no one seems to be moving unless for a reason – what tends to always keep stock moving is the three Ds – death, divorce and downsizing,” she said. 

“The Cairns and Townsville buyers seem to be ones that have thought about moving in the past but have now decided to make the move to get away from the heat. 

“It seems to be friends and family members of existing Tablelanders that are buying and even some that are coming back to the region – It’s a mixture of buyers though. 

“Investors are also looking to put their cash to work rather than leaving it in the bank.”

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