Keep Brisbane market sustainable says REIQ

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The Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) has called for government to take a proactive approach to keeping the state’s largest property market sustainable.

Concerned that prices in Brisbane could rise to Sydney and Melbourne levels, the REIQ has called for measures including the abolition of stamp duty, the release of more land for housing and allowing first home buyers to use their superannuation for house deposits.

REIQ chief executive officer Antonia Mercorella said figures show affordability in Brisbane is currently much better than Sydney and Melbourne, with median house prices in Brisbane sitting at $475,000 while Sydney and Melbourne sit at $785,000 and $527,000.

“However, this will not continue to be the case for much longer unless these issues are addressed at a federal, state and local level,” Ms Mercorella said.

“The time for action is now, not in a year or two when prices begin escalating faster than wages, as we’re seeing in Sydney and Melbourne,” she said.

Zoran Solano, a buyers’ agent with Queensland based Hot Property Specialists Buyers Agency, can see merit in some of the ideas put forward by the REIQ.

“We deal with a lot of property located in close proximity to the Brisbane CBD, there isn’t a lot of land there available to release, but over the last few years the government has been releasing and selling ex-public housing stock which has been great and I think there’s scope to increase that,” Solano said.

“Stamp duty needs to be re-evaluated as well, at the very least the government needs to reduce the gap between what owner-occupiers and investors are paying.

“Investors seem to be treated unfairly at every step, they even have to pay a premium on their rates in Brisbane compared to what owner-occupiers pay.”

Solano isn’t quite as enamoured with the REIQ’s plans to allow first home buyers to use their superannuation as a house deposit, believing banks are still offering acceptable loan to value ratios for first home buyers and buyers who can show to have independently saved for their deposit will be more attractive clients to lenders.

While the REIQ might not want Brisbane prices to follow Sydney and Melbourne’s path, Solano said those two cities have in the past acted as indicators for the Brisbane market.

“Melbourne and Sydney have always been lead indicators for what’s going to happen in Brisbane, and while we’ve seen some good growth in Brisbane over the last four or five years I think we’re going to kick into a growth cycle over the next two or three years."

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