Buyers, investors and sellers are looking into their crystal balls, trying to establish if now is the time to buy before prices go higher, or if it would be better to sell before a possible downturn.
While interest rates remain comfortably low, the crackdown on bank lending has contributed to a settling of the market in most major metro areas of our cities.
But there has been significant growth in the past three months in particular pockets of Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.
Research by The New Daily based on statistical analysis by View.com.au has looked at 350 regions across the country and identified 13 that have bucked the recent flatlining trending by putting on growth.
The top of the list is the Ashgrove, Bardon and Paddington area in inner Brisbane, which is not all that surprising given that the Queensland capital offers home prices well below what similar properties would cost in Sydney and Melbourne.
Our research shows that while the median house price for Ashgrove was $891,000 in July, the area has put on an estimated 6 per cent growth in house value in the three months to August.
This Brisbane enclave is three to five kilometres from the CBD and is in the catchment for sought-after public schools and is close to private schools. There are few flats or apartments and many of its houses are old Queenslanders.
The lure of the character homes within easy reach of a bustling capital seems to be driving buyers.
Ashgrove agent Daniel Goodwin of LJ Hooker estimates that 10 per cent of his buyers are Chinese, 20 to 30 per cent are interstate investors or buyers relocating and the rest are from moving in from other parts of the city.
“They compare what they can get here which would cost a half to two-thirds of the price in Sydney or Melbourne,’’ Goodwin says of the out-of- towners.
He says a two-bedroom worker’s cottage in Paddington could sell for $650,000 while a two-bedroom, 1970s unit could be had for under $400,000.
“Which is unheard of in Sydney or Melbourne this close to the CBD,’’ he says.
“Three-bedroom properties can still be obtained in the $650,000 to $800,000 price range, being below the median house price.”
But our analysis shows that Ashgrove is unusual. The 12 growth regions in our two biggest cities can all be considered as middle to outer suburbs and anecdotal evidence suggests most of the growth appears to be driven by Chinese buyers or retirees.
Sydney’s Epping and Carlingford has seen a 4 per cent growth in the past three months according to our View.com.au analysis.
In Carlingford, the median house price is $1.4 million. This might buy you a three-bedroom, one-bathroom red brick house on 700 square metres while a five-bedroom house on 800 square metres might cost around $1.7 million.
Epping agent Jodie Wright from McGrath Real Estate says Chinese buyers have been a significant driver of prices in the area.
“About 80 per cent of our buyers are Chinese,’’ she says, adding that there is also increasing investor interest in the construction of duplexes.
Dapto is more affordable with a median house price of $538,000 but it has seen price growth of 3 per cent in the past three months as younger buyers priced out of the Sydney market and retirees and semi-retirees move into the picturesque locale.
These are also the buyers heading to Bowral, Mittagong and Moss Vale. The area has a median house price of $685,000 but has seen an estimated 4 per cent growth in house value over winter.
The table above details the 13 regions we have identified with Melbourne’s growth regions forming a broad arc in the outer west, north and south east of the metro area.
The exception is the adjoining, eastern suburbs of Bulleen, Doncaster and Templestowe.
These now-residential suburbs were established over the past 50 years from market gardens. The median house price in Doncaster is now $1.39 million.
Like the Epping area in Sydney, these sought-after suburbs are very popular with Chinese buyers.