Queensland's Ipswich and Toowoomba fight global downturn

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Queensland's affordable property continued to attract homebuyers and investors during the first quarter of 2009, especially in the southeast corner.

According to the March quarter sales data from the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ), the south eastern region of the state posted the best results.

REIQ chairman Peter McGrath says the low prices in the Toowoomba LGA helped produce a 6.3% increase in median house prices over the March quarter, which pushed values up to $272,000.

"Toowoomba's affordability has been the catalyst for a surge in demand and price growth over the period, with the region benefiting from strong demand from first homebuyers," says McGrath.

Ipswich local government area (LGA), also situated in Queensland's south east, finished the period as the top performer of growth in median house prices, after a 4.35% rise to $318,000. This also makes it the best performing LGA in the south east region for the 12 months to March 2009, with a total of five percent growth in median house prices.

However, REIQ results from the March quarter 2009 have revealed that some areas have not been immune to the negative effects of the global financial crisis. Popular holiday locations such as the Gold Coast LGA experienced no growth during the quarter, while the Sunshine Coast LGA dropped 0.5%.

"These holiday centres haven't fared quite as well over the year due to the type of real estate there, some poor weather conditions affecting tourism, and investors who may have needed to sell to support margin calls or share market losses," says McGrath.

Major regional centre LGAs such as Fraser Coast, Bundaberg, Gladstone, Rockhampton and Mackay all experienced significant drops in median house prices during the three months to March this year. Median house prices on Fraser Coast took the biggest hit, with a fall of 7.4%. Rockhampton also felt the effects of the ongoing recession with a fall of 4.3%.

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