Does Toowoomba Have Enough Land?
Vacant land is an increasingly rare commodity in Toowoomba.
We take a look at the current debate over whether we have enough residential land in the pipeline.
A growing population
Toowoomba is expected to grow by around 1,650 people a year, according to the Toowoomba Housing Market report compiled by Matusik Market Analysis. This will create the need for around 600 additional new homes each year.
Much of this growth is expected to be driven by migration from our major cities. ABS data shows that over the December 2020 and March 2021 quarters, more than 56,000 people left both Sydney and Melbourne. While many of these people returned overseas, a lot also relocated interstate and to the regions. In fact, 16,000 moved through internal migration in the March 2021 quarter – the highest number since records began in 2001.
Queensland was the biggest beneficiary of this internal migration, gaining 7,000 new residents from interstate in the same March 2021 quarter.
While many are heading to the coast and Brisbane, Toowoomba is receiving its fair share of new arrivals too, many of whom were drawn to its growing infrastructure, lifestyle and job opportunities.
As Toowoomba’s popularity continues to grow, property prices will rise and, unfortunately for many people, housing affordability could also become a much bigger issue here, just as it is in Australia’s major cities.
Do we have enough land?
Recent news reports claimed that Toowoomba has a plentiful supply of residential land – enough to house 40,000 people over the next 27 years. The report noted that there were already 4,300 approved residential lots and 1,300 approved units, the equivalent of eight years’ supply. According to the report, this meant there was no immediate need to increase land supply.
However, some argue that while these numbers look good on paper, the reality is that much of the land being released to market isn’t in demand. Some estates have taken a long time to sell and buyers used to older, larger, flat and green Toowoomba blocks aren’t always keen on newer lots if they’re steep, awkwardly shaped or small.
When flat, quality land is released it’s in such high demand that owners and developers have to draw up waiting lists.
It also pays to remember that just because the council approves land for release or subdivision, that doesn’t mean the owner will develop it immediately. Often there’s a significant time gap between the land being approved for subdivision or residential housing and it being listed on the market. Some developers will sit on land for a long time, waiting for infrastructures such as sewerage, water and power to be connected before offering it to the market.
How much land do we really need?
The Toowoomba Housing Market Outlook report found that our local property market is in a recovery phase, with both sales volumes and prices rising – especially for vacant residential land.
To combat housing affordability and keep up with rising demand, the report recommends fast-tracking new subdivisions. This would also have the benefit of stimulating the construction industry, which accounts for 23% of Toowoomba’s economy, according to 2019 figures.
Vacant land currently for sale
Last year the HomeBuilder stimulus grant gave many buyers the impetus to consider buying vacant land, especially when it was combined with state and federal incentives for first home buyers. As a result, we saw land sales spike.
As we mentioned, desirable land is in high demand and tends to be snapped up very quickly, leading to scarcity in the market.
The good news is that there is prime residential land on the market right now but this may not be the case for long.
You can check out the land we currently have for sale here.
The time to buy in Toowoomba is right now
With the coming decade expected to see significant price growth in the Toowoomba market, there’s never been a better time to buy. Contact our experienced local team today to get started.