Property experts say the best places to invest in Australia are set to undergo a major shift in 2015, as the real estate markets of many major cities commence a slowdown following a protracted spate of gains.

Robert Mellor, managing director of research group BIS Shrapnel, expects the limelight for investment to shift northwards to Queensland, with Brisbane and other popular tourist destinations in the state expected to enjoy particularly strong growth.

Mellor expects Brisbane residential property to outperform Sydney over a five-year period, recommending older suburbs situated no more than 10 kilometres form the city centre.

He does warn, however, against high-rise apartment towers that are currently being built in the downtown part of Brisbane, as well as the city centres of Melbourne and Sydney, on the grounds of overcrowding in those markets.

Other areas seen enjoying strong gains are popular Queensland tourist destinations set to benefit from the looming growth in Chinese visitors seeking to enjoy the balmy weather of the sunshine state.

These include the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast close to Brisbane, as well as Cairns in the far north, which hosts one of the closest Australian airports to China.

Other real estate markets expected to prosper in 2015 are smaller regional centres situated not too far from the capital cities.

A major factor behind anticipated gains in these regional markets is the wave of retiring baby boomers, many of whom will withdraw from the hurly burly of the big cities at the end of their careers in order to pursue a quieter life.

Sedate, less costly areas situated several hours from major cities are likely to be a popular option for recent retirees, as will picturesque areas such as the NSW south coast, or the Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Ranges in Victoria.

Regional towns with promising growth prospects could also become appealing destinations for property investment.

According to Mark Kelman, author of Become a Property Millionaire in Your Spare Time, 2015 could be a big year for those regional towns with robust economies.

He favours towns with population in excess of 10,000 people that are still on an upward growth trajectory, as well as those possessing diversified economies that can provide multiple sources of employment.

The relocation of companies and major infrastructure developments could also boost real estate prices in regional centres, with the property markets of Bendigo and Ballarat expected to benefit in particular from upgrades to Victoria’s regional rail network.