Herron Todd White Valuers – Month In Review
As published by Herron Todd White Valuers
Market activity has slowed significantly over the past six to eight weeks as a result of COVID-19. Many vendors withdrew their properties from the market during the initial shut down period and many selling agents are now reporting having limited stock on the market. Selling agents are also reporting that genuine buyers are still active in the market (ie. those who had sold just prior to the COVID-19 shutdowns and need to buy elsewhere or government employees relocating) and cash buyers are beginning to emerge, seeking the opportunity for a good buy.
The restriction on open homes for several weeks resulted in selling agents receiving genuine buyer enquiry rather than sticky-beakers. Open homes have re-commenced in the past week and agents are reporting moderate attendance so far.
In the broader Darling Downs region, property managers are still reporting good demand for rental properties. There is limited short-term rental accommodation homes in this region and accordingly, it has been somewhat insulated from an influx of short-term letting properties such as those listed on Airbnb coming back on to the long-term rental market.
Commentary has been made by both CoreLogic and realestate.com.au representatives regarding the potential for increased demand for properties within a two hour radius of capital cities after COVID-19, due to buyers seeking a lifestyle change to less crowded regional areas and with new work from home routines having been established. This applies to many areas within the Darling Downs region and is cause for optimism in our area.
There has been a significant growth in property owners undertaking extensive renovation projects in recent years, possibly driven by television shows such as The Block. In the Darling Downs region, this is particularly evident in the city of Toowoomba. The well regarded and sought after suburb of East Toowoomba has seen a significant amount of home-owner renovations in recent times. A majority of properties in East Toowoomba are older, character timber dwellings and there has been a noticeable increase in the number of these properties being brought back to life. Some note-worthy renovations for this locality have maintained the original cottage style façade but have been extended to the rear with two level, contemporary style additions.
There have only been a few renovations carried out in this style so far in East Toowoomba and they have generally been completed by owners of local, custom building groups as their own personal residence and then on-sold. Therefore, it is difficult to comment on the profitability of carrying out such an extensive renovation. In many cases, this has created a great deal of interest in those particular builders and resulted in additional renovation projects for them to complete for paying customers.
Well-renovated character dwellings in East Toowoomba are generally in the $750,000 plus price bracket, depending on the size and features of the dwelling, ancillary improvements such as pools and particularly the land size. Renovation costs are currently quite high and in many cases, the cost of completing an extensive renovation is not reflected as added value on a dollar for dollar basis.
Nearby suburbs such as Mount Lofty and North Toowoomba are also seeing some renovation of older timber homes, but to a lesser extent than that of East Toowoomba. There is significantly less home renovation being carried out in the lower price brackets and in other suburbs across Toowoomba. We also note that there is limited renovation activity in our regional areas such as Warwick, Stanthorpe, Gatton, Kingaroy and Dalby.