Buying Research

Why can’t investors keep their eye off Qld’s Harristown?

For Australian property investors, Toowoomba has grown into one of the most attractive markets to enter due to heavy infrastructure projects and strong recent capital gains, and suburbs such as Harristown are reaping the rewards.

The Queensland suburb of Harristown, located on Toowoomba’s south-western fringe, was recently named in the highly coveted Smart Property Investment Fast 50 ranking for 2024, which launched last week.

The report and ranking combined the insights of a 14-strong investment expert panel with recent housing performance drawn from open source data and aim to give unparalleled insight into the Australian suburbs that are set for future growth.

Despite interest rates sending the national housing market into a downturn, which was at one stage compared with the Global Financial Crisis, data from CoreLogic found Harristown to have performed well over the last 12 months, with prices growing 21.5 per cent in that time.

Alongside this increased value uptick, investors have enjoyed gross rental yields of approximately 4.9 per cent, while median rents in the region sit at around $420.

Even with prices soaring for much of 2021 and 2022, the region remains affordable, with a median house price of approximately $450,000, marking Harristown as a relatively attainable market to enter, even for the more cash-strapped investors.

Casting a wider net to Toowoomba as a whole, the region is expected to house some 230,000 residents by 2050, with a number of provisions in place to ensure one of Queensland’s largest cities continues growing to match rising population.

However, according to Toby Sandell, property partner at The Agency Toowoomba, who spoke exclusively to SPI earlier this year, the region’s present market is far from balanced, with supply massively outstripping demand following a major influx of new residents flocking to the city from NSW and Victoria, where he explained they’re “priced out of the market”.

He shared that the Toowoomba market is “acutely understocked with a disproportionate amount of buyers to sellers, driven by a lower price point and a tight rental market”.

According to SQM Research, the city’s residential vacancy rate for April 2023 was exactly 1 per cent, almost half of what it was during the same month of 2020.

Not only are new arrivals flooding Toowoomba from interstate locations. Mr Sandell explained they are coming in droves from other areas of South-East Queensland, including those making the two-hour drive from the state capital, Brisbane, or other hotspots like the Gold Coast, while “country buyers from western Queensland [are] selling their farms and retiring or moving professionally to Toowoomba”.

His message is clear: “Ssupply is not keeping up to demand”.

Not only is Toowoomba a “quality town to live in and a cheaper alternative to the likes of Brisbane,” as Mr Sandell put it, but it also boasts a number of key commercial infrastructure projects that increase its appeal to investors and prospective residents.

According to HotSpotting, Queensland’s second-largest regional economy will be strengthened in the coming years due to an influx of major projects that will further cement Toowoomba’s position on the national radar.

The region’s inclusion in Queensland’s successful bid to host the 2032 Olympics and the presence of Wellcamp airport already make it an attractive proposition; however, Hotspotting’s director, Terry Ryder, noted the $1.6 billion Toowoomba Second Range Crossing and $15 billion Inland Rail Link are “helping to cement the city as a [nationally] recognised intermodal transport hub”.

For these reasons, as well as the sturdy, lengthy performance of the region’s property market, Harristown was included in the prestigious Smart Property Investment Fast 50 ranking for 2024, making it one suburb on every investor’s watch list.

To see which others made the Smart Property Investment Fast 50 2024 report, click here.

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