Line of 200 people for Gaythorne open house evidence of relative lack of suitable properties in Brisbane – partly due to restrictive zoning policies

Historic low interest rates and easy access to housing finance, combined with a relative lack of suitable properties in Brisbane’s middle-ring suburbs due to zoning policies, have combined to create an odd sight at suburban Gaythorne on Brisbane’s North-side today, as reported by the Courier-Mail:

Brisbane’s property boom is showing no signs of slowing with record turnouts across open homes and property experts declaring buyer interest at its highest in 20 years.

More than 200 hopeful buyers queued on Saturday for up to an hour in 30C heat to inspect just one three bedroom Brisbane home.

That was 200 people lining up to inspect an old Queenslander worker’s cottage at Gaythorne. As argued back in 2013 on QEW by my then colleague at Marsden Jacob Brad Rogers, zoning policies such as heritage protection are restricting housing supply in Brisbane suburbs, leading to a range of undesirable outcomes – i.e. relatively fewer suitable properties, higher property prices in Brisbane suburbs with restrictive zoning policies, and urban sprawl (check out Old Queenslanders in a New City). The adverse effects of Council zoning policies were also identified by two UQ geographers in recent work which I posted on last month (Bad planning policies leading to poor outcomes in Brisbane City according to UQ researchers).

Zoning policies mean that we tend to end up with plenty of development in either inner-city once commercial/industrial areas (e.g. apartment blocks in Milton, West End, Teneriffe) or in the outer suburbs (e.g. housing estates in Ripley, Springfield, etc.). This is evident, for example, in a thematic map of building approvals for the Brisbane metro region (see map below).

On where the property market may be heading after its somewhat surprisingly encouraging comeback after the pandemic-induced slump, check out Pete Wargent’s post Housing lending surges to record and the chart below showing the surge in the total value of loans for owner-occupied housing.

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2 Responses to Line of 200 people for Gaythorne open house evidence of relative lack of suitable properties in Brisbane – partly due to restrictive zoning policies

  1. Katrina Drake says:

    Interesting surge in the number of new first home loan commitments. I wonder if that is the result of the $20,000 withdrawal from superannuation during COVID being used as a deposit for a home loan? ($40,000 for a couple) . How else do you explain the rise during rising unemployment and uncertainty?

    • Gene Tunny says:

      Yes, partly it’s due to the super withdrawals. Also there was was the HomeBuilder package and JobKeeper has contributed to higher household incomes overall. Finally, job losses were concentrated in specific sectors, e.g. hospitality, particularly among young people. Other sectors e.g. professional services and public service obviously were far less affected.

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