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By Brett Warren

Look at how Queensland has changed over the last 5 years

Queensland’s property market, particularly Brisbane and the Gold Coast, was among the strongest across the country in 2021 with prices growing in excess of 30% in many locations.

Even as growth slowed in other parts of Australia, many of Queensland's housing markets continued to perform strongly in the first half of 2022 buoyed by strong demand from interstate and overseas migration as homeowners flocked to the sunshine state in search of cheaper property and lifestyle suburbs.

And this was despite suffering from devastating floods early in the year - just another sign of the resilience of the Brisbane property market.

Now, the latest release of 2021 Census data reveals just how much Queensland has changed, with key data on everything from how many people now own their own homes to who they are living with.

Census Scaled

What the census tells us about Queensland’s home ownership

The 2021 Census data shows that while the total number of Queenslanders who own a home has increased, the overall percentage of homeowners has decreased.

In 2021, 543,000 Queensland homes were owned outright, up from 460,000 in 1996.

"The proportion of dwellings that are owned outright was 33.7 per cent only five years ago, and that's dropped down to 29.1 per cent in 2021," 2021 Census dissemination director Caroline Deans said.

"The really big growth has been in the number of dwellings that are owned with a mortgage — more than doubling."

Meanwhile, homes owned with a mortgage increased to 34.4% in 2021, up from 22.7% in 2016.

And according to Deans, this is because of an increase in the supply of dwellings over the past five years.


You see, the great Australian dream of homeownership is still alive and well, even among the emerging generations.

So why are numbers declining?

A mixture of reasons, but mostly it's down to declining affordability.

From 1981 to 2021, the average full-time total earnings for Australian adults increased 5.9 times, from $15,800 (1981) to $93,500 (November 2021).

Over the same period of time, the lowest property price increase was units in Brisbane, which increased in price by 9.0 times over this period (from just over $48,000 in 1981 to $437,000 by November 2021).

In other areas of the country, there was as much as a 22-fold increase.

House Building

What the census tells us about what type of homes Queenslanders own

Census data also shows us that there has been a rise in the number of Queensland residents living in semi-detached or townhouses with separate houses, the most popular option for both Brisbane residents and Queenslanders overall.

"We can see that there's been a big growth in the number of dwellings over the last 20 years that are in four-or-more-storey blocks," Deans said.

The 2021 Census was the first time data was collected on nine-or-more-storey blocks with around 6,500 flats and apartments in nine-and-a-half-storey buildings recorded on the Gold Coast.

And the growth of apartments outstripped the growth of houses in most city areas.


However, with rising building costs, new apartments are going to cost developers a lot more to get out of the ground and therefore eventually cost more in the marketplace which means over time the supply of units will narrow versus houses.

At the same time, affordability issues will push what would have been a buyer of a detached home back into the unit market.

Staying Home

What the census tells us about where Queenslanders are living

Queensland's population has declined by up to 10% in Far North Queensland Charters Towers and outback areas.

Whereas across the south and south-east of the state, the population has increased.

Some areas saw slow population growth, such as Centenary (1.5%), Sunnybank (0.8%), Springwood, and Kingston (2.3%).

Meanwhile, high-growth areas such as Brisbane experienced a 29% growth over the Census period.

During that time inner Brisbane also saw a 40% increase in dwellings.


Data leading up to the 2021 Census, showed areas in south-east Queensland had declined in population, she said.

Along the south-east, the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast maintained their growth but at a lesser rate during the pandemic.

What this means for property investors

There is a perfect storm of positive growth drivers that will see Brisbane’s house prices continue to perform strongly going forward and the recent announcement of Brisbane winning the 2032 Olympic games will underpin strong infrastructure growth, economic growth, and population growth over the next decade.

This suggests, and as the Census data has already begun to show, that South East Queensland will continue to be a preferred destination for many Aussies from interstate due to lifestyle, health, and affordability reasons.

But, we must remember that there are multiple housing markets within Brisbane, based on price point, geography, and type of property and as always, you can’t just buy any property and count on the general Brisbane property market to do the heavy lifting over the next few years, so careful property selection is critical.

About Brett Warren Brett Warren is National Director of Metropole Properties and uses his two decades of property investment experience to advise clients how to grow, protect and pass on their wealth through strategic property advice.

Multiple markets in Brisbane is surely the challenge for investment. Aside from the inner city suburbs which have a proximity attraction for some, I don’t understand how so many suburbs offer no differentiation from another. Yet prices can be signifi ...Read full version

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