Bundaberg housing market explodes as city dwellers escape lockdowns


City dwellers looking for their slice of bush heaven to escape pandemic lockdowns in major cities are creating a housing boom in the town of Bundaberg in south-eastern Queensland.

Buyers can still find a home on a large block for under $ 300,000 in the coastal town, which is only a short drive from Australia’s most expensive real estate hotspot, the Noosa Shire. .

There are a lot of jobs in health, hospitality and agriculture. The city also enjoys easy access to the Great Barrier Reef and pristine, uncrowded beaches.

Bundaberg is surrounded by pristine, uncrowded beaches like Coonarr Beach.(

ABC Wide Bay: Brad Marsellos


It is also one of the areas closest to Brisbane that has avoided COVID-19 lockdowns.

When it comes to third-generation real estate agent Kurt Dempsey, it’s obvious the area is experiencing a boom.

Sales in the city have doubled in the past 12 months and prices have increased by around 20%.

A blue wooden house with a fence covered with flowers.
Houses in the Bundaberg central business district can still be purchased for around $ 250,000.(

ABC Wide Bay: Brad Marsellos


“In [the suburb of] Avoca, the year ending May 2020, there were 66 homes sold. Now, with the year ending 2021, there have been 119 sales, ”he said.

“The year ending May 2020 in Walkervale, the average price was $ 204,601, then in May 2021, the average median home value is $ 249,000, which has increased by 21%.”

Looking for ads

Locals refer to those fleeing high density cities and trading balconies for backyards as “COVID refugees”. Their arrival in the region is starting to make itself felt with new cafes, alley markets, cultural events and boutiques.

Real estate agents say the only obstacle during this boom is finding enough properties for buyers.

Inside an arty cafe with a person buying coffee.
Information cafes are opening up as more and more young people settle in the Bundaberg region.(

ABC Wide Bay: Brad Marsellos


“The problem we have now as agents is that everyone is looking for ads because there are a lot of people who want to buy,” said Mr. Dempsey.

“Bundy was a real winner. There are more people coming to the area, more stores opening, more commercial businesses coming to the area.

“Everyone seems to have won.

According to Dempsey, the rise in the number of home hunters is not limited to those looking to escape locked cities, with investors and first-time homebuyers also looking to break into the housing market.

“Because the statistics are there now, you get a lot of outside investors who want to make their money.

A large river runs through a regional town.
The town of Bundaberg attracts city dwellers who cash in and seek a change in lifestyle.(

Provided: Rohan Gibbs


“People are staying here now, making their careers here. You also get a lot of first-time buyers and locals downsizing or upgrading their workforce.”

He said house prices were still relatively low compared to places like the Sunshine Coast.

“We are still very affordable.”

A family stands under a tree filled with red flowers.
Space, a relaxed lifestyle and an affordable price attract new people to Bundaberg.(

ABC Wide Bay: Brad Marsellos


Record banking profits

The boom doesn’t just stimulate the real estate market.

Bundaberg-based Auswide Bank posted record growth, with net income jumping 30.5% to $ 24.15 million.

About 70 percent of the bank’s shareholders and a majority of the customer base are in the region.

Auswide Bank Managing Director Martin Barrett believes these are exciting times for the region’s historically slow real estate market.

“It’s amazing,” Barrett said.

“We have experienced tremendous growth, it is the strongest growth we have ever seen.

“Home loans have exploded, confirming the fact that there is a lot more housing activity going on.”

A man smiles with a jacket over his shoulder.
Auswide Bank chief executive Martin Barrett believes the property boom is behind the bank’s record profits.(

Provided: Auswide Bank


With many new customers coming to the bank through brokers and using the government’s first mortgage loan deposit program, Barrett is confident the strong sales will continue.

“I think it’s likely that we’ll see continued growth in house prices over the next 12 months. Interest rates are very, very low, which has prompted a level of affordability.” , said Barrett.

“I think we’ll see a slowdown on the construction side as builders are under pressure right now and we’ll see a little less pace in terms of real estate price growth.

“But nonetheless, I think we have a bit of a way to go.”

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