Regional property hotspots: can they rival the Sydney city market?

Sydney has long been the top property market in Australia, with booming house prices and demand far outstripping supply. But the housing market is showing significant growth outside our capital cities as well, revealed a new report from the Housing Industry Association.

Clearance rates in Sydney have cooled off during May, recording an average of 76.4%, with not one weekend reaching 80% in the month. put the weaker clearance rates down to a flood of properties being put up for sale, which saw 836 homes listed for auction this Saturday, up from just 573 on the same weekend last year. May was a record month in terms of auction listings, averaging 735 each weekend, up from the previous record high of 702 in May 2015.

Despite Sydney’s clearance rate dropping to 75.9% on the weekend, down from 76.9% the weekend before, it was much higher than the 72.8% recorded at the same time last year and the market is expected to remain strong. Population growth, an ongoing shortage of homes and a recent drop in unemployment down to 4.4%, underpin continuing demand and high prices in the city.

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But the Sydney market, while strong, may not be in for the biggest growth spurt in the Australian property market in the coming year.

The HIA’s recent Population & Residential Building Hotspots 2017 report identified 20 of the fastest growing markets in the country. To qualify as a hotspot, an area needed population growth above the 1.4% national average, and at least $150 million worth of residential building work approved in the last year.

The results included a number of areas in the Great Sydney region, such as Cobbitty-Leppington, Homebush Bay and Riverstone. Melbourne also made it onto the list at number 19.

But despite capital cities’ continuing popularity, competitive markets are also emerging for property buyers shopping outside the big smoke. Pimpama in Queensland, with an annual population growth of 35.1% and over $340 million in residential building work approved in 2015/16, was named the number one hotspot for growth in the Australian housing market.

“The good news on housing is not confined to the major capital cities – today’s report shows that regional Australia is also peppered with housing Hotspots,” said HIA Senior Economist Shane Garrett.

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