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Housing hope for WA, Qld mining towns

House prices that collapsed after the mining boom ended in Western Australian and Queensland are starting to recover in some towns, a new report suggests.

Median house prices in major regional centres in NSW and Victoria are also tipped to grow modestly over the next three years, while the Gold Coast will enjoy a boost from infrastructure spending and an increase in residential building before the Commonwealth Games in April.

Mining towns in WA and Queensland experienced soaring values during the boom that began in the mid-2000s before a recent steep downturn.

But the QBE Housing Outlook 2017-2020 report indicates prices in some of those towns have slowly begun to bounce back.

QBE Lenders' Mortgage Insurance chief executive Phil White said prices have begun recovering in Karratha in the WA's Pilbara region and in Queensland's Mackay and Isaac regions.

"In most of those mining towns we believe that we have seen the bottom of the housing market in terms of price reductions," he said.

The median house price in Karratha almost tripled to $873,000 in the five years to September 2010, only to drop as low as $270,000 by September 2016.

Karratha's median house price has since improved, increasing by 11 per cent to $303,000 in the June quarter this year.

In Queensland's Isaac region, the median house price peaked at $660,00 in March 2012, before bottoming out at $124,000 in March 2016.

The region's median house price grew by almost one fifth from that point to $153,000 in June this year.

Mackay also looks to be slowly recovering, with the median house price there climbing four per cent to $337,000 in June this year, from a low of $325,000 in December 2016.

House prices in major regional NSW centres are expected to grow modestly over the next three years, including in Wollongong, where around one fifth of the working population commute to Sydney.

The Wollongong median house price relative to Sydney is almost back to 2013 levels, and is projected to hit $770,000 in 2020.

"This would indicate less scope for the median house price in Wollongong to significantly outperform the Sydney market going forward, despite lower house prices," the report said.

The Newcastle and Hunter region is also expected to grow 12 per cent to $635,000 over the same period.

In Victoria, prices in the regional centres of Geelong, Bendigo and Ballarat are tipped to lift by between four and six per cent over the next three years, while in Queensland, big infrastructure spending in Toowoomba is tipped to help boost the median house price to $416,000 by 2020.

Investment in the Gold Coast for the Games is forecast to push the median house price higher during 2017/18, before slowing in the following two financial years.

By 2020, the median Gold Coast house price is predicted to be up six per cent to $665,000.

REGIONAL MEDIAN HOUSE PRICE PREDICTIONS FOR 2020

NSW

Newcastle/Hunter - up 12 pct to $635,000

Wollongong - up 5 pct to $770,000

VIC

Ballarat - up 6 pct to $360,000

Bendigo - up 5 pct to $350,000

Geelong - up 4 pct to $495,000

QLD

Toowoomba - up 8 pct to $416,000

Gold Coast - up 6 pct to $665,000

Sunshine Coast - up 4 pct to $595,000

Cairns - up 4 pct to $430,000

Townsville - up 2 pct to $330,000

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