Research shows just how rapidly the wants and needs of hopeful homebuyers and investors in Queensland have changed since the pandemic property boom, when cheap credit and lifestyle properties reigned supreme.
PropTrack researchers compared the most popular search terms on realestate.com.au in the first six months of 2021 and compared those to the first six months of this year, and it would appear that cost of living pressures and rising interest rates have turned wishlists on their heads.
Pool, garage and air conditioning remained the top search terms across both years, but the biggest changes in buyers’ priorities could be found when comparing the search terms with the largest percentage swings.
‘Top floor’ saw the biggest year-on-year growth, up 127 per cent on 2021, and that was followed by ‘no body corporate’, ‘development’ and ‘dual income’, with those search terms increasing by between 53 per cent and 69 per cent.
Nationally, search terms related to dual key/living also ranked highly, perhaps suggesting that buyers were looking to cushion rising rates by renting out a section of their home.
Granny flats and duplexes were also sought-after in most states.
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Among the search terms that have nosedived since last year were freehold (-63%), stables (-56%), tennis (-54%) and Hamptons (-50%).
A decade ago, the Nguyen family of Gordon Park extended their home and included a “granny flat” to help supplement their mortgage repayments and the cost of an extension.
Fast forward to 2022 and that decision looks set to pay off.
“The granny flat is fully functional: it even has its own entrance, clothesline, washing machine and courtyard,” Nhan Nguyen said.
“We built it underneath our two-storey extension, and it can even be deadlocked separately from the house.
“We rented it out for $315 a week a few years ago, but now it would probably get around $400 a week.”
In more recent times, the granny flat has been used as a home office by wife Olivia Belfiore, and was a base for the couples businesses during the Covid-19 lockdowns.
Olivia said they had been lucky to have a great tenant, a man in his 70s, as the extra income soon after the GFC had been most welcome.
But she said that with their daughters, Mia, 14, and Ava, 10, now older, and no longer making much use of the backyard, it was time to move, with the family having purchased another home with a pool nearby.
“When we bought this place 16 years ago, it was a three-bedroom cottage so we have done a lot to it over time,” she said.
Their property at 16 Jack St, Gordon Park, has just hit the market with Ray White Wilston agent Holly Bowden.
Ms Bowden said dual living properties that could accommodate extended families or be rented out were proving increasingly popular with buyers and investors.
“I recently sold one that had a lot of inquiries and probably about 70 groups through over three weeks,” she said.
“It is becoming increasingly evident that buyers are focusing more on the fundamentals of a property, rather than just the aesthetics, with a greater focus on finding income opportunities.
“And this one (Gordon Park) is going to be popular as it is so well put together.”
Ms Bowden said buyers were increasingly looking for “smart ways to park their money and
cushion any rate rises”.
This included, she said, existing homes with the potential to create a rental stream or home office.
“We are starting to see a focus on cost saving measures, and I think that will only increase as the everyday costs really start to hit home,” she said.
“They are turning their focus more to the nuts and bolts of the property.”