house-prices Queensland real estate agents are struggling to make ends meet in the current property climate, slashing staff, costs and even closing their doors for good.

Figures released last week by RP Data showed Brisbane to be the worst performing capital city in Australia, dropping -2.5 per cent in the three months to July.

Brisbane’s median house price is now reportedly $440,000, making it the third-cheapest capital city behind Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Canberra and Darwin. Only Adelaide and Hobart are still cheaper than Brisbane.

Dan Molloy, managing director of the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ), said agents all across Queensland had been hit hard by the downturn.

“Anecdotally, I can tell you that there are agents laying off staff, merging their businesses and in some cases, having to liquidate,” he said.

“There is certainly a lot of pressure on agents at the moment because for the first time in a long time, we’re seeing more sellers than buyers.”

Mr Molloy said open houses that might have drawn up to 30 groups within a half hour three years ago now struggled to get a couple of viewings.

“I would expect the market to pick up again by 2011…regrettably; a return to normal market conditions will be too late for some.”

Mr Molloy said stability with interest rates was paramount.

“We’re still seeing the flow-on effect from those consecutive interest rate rises. We really only see the effects after six to 12 months,” he said.

“Consumer confidence is down and I think with some stability in the government and in interest rates, we will see an improvement there. In the meantime, the industry will be hurting.”

Story by Ellen Lutton