It’s one of the biggest questions asked by property buyers: where should we call home?
Like so many of life’s major decisions, it’s not an easy one to get right. There’s the price part of the equation, which will rule out certain postcodes. There’s the location piece of the puzzle: is it close to the things which are important, like family, schools and work? And there’s the amenity question: is it a suburb you will happily call home?
Balancing these factors is not easy for the non-expert buyer, which is why we asked the professionals to identify the best value suburbs in Australia’s largest cities.
These locations may not all be ‘cheap’, but they offer strong growth prospects, good value on current prices for the right house, and proximity to the things which make you feel good about coming home each day.
Most importantly, they give you a shopping list compiled by those in the know.
Simon Cohen, managing director of buyers’ agency Cohen Handler, says he would be focussing on areas like King Cross, Surry Hills and Potts Point.
“There are huge changes in Kings Cross. The nightclubs have closed – Hugo’s is just one that has gone – and those buildings are becoming luxury apartments selling for huge prices.
“If you can buy an established apartment (i.e. not off-the plan) for anything from $1 million to $2 million you will do incredibly well.”
Mr Cohen says the changing demographic means these suburbs are now popular with younger professionals as well as downsizers. Potts Point is walking distance to the city, with a cosmopolitan atmosphere. Surry Hills is also walking distance to the city, has great cafes and a village atmosphere. Redfern is another suburb that is becoming more up-market.
“None of these suburbs have the development size of Zetland and that’s part of their appeal,” he says. “Alexandria, only four kilometres from the CBD, is also becoming very good.”
Further out, prices in Lane Cove have sky-rocketed but it is still great buying only a 10-minute drive from the city. Expect to pay $1.8 million for a three-bedroom house in Lane Cove.
In Melbourne, the inner-north continues to be a growth area, says Scott Hall, who works in Cohen Handler’s Melbourne office.
“It’s the epicentre of urban hip in Melbourne and well serviced by public transport, parks, gardens, cafes, bars and restaurants. The ripple effect that has occurred from Carlton and Fitzroy to Brunswick, Northcote and Thornbury. It will continue further north to Coburg, Preston and Reservoir and we think it will continue.”
Looking west, Mr Hall says Footscray deserves consideration but warns that getting it right requires getting down not just to specific streets, but specific sections of streets.
“It’s great having a property 5 kilometres from the CBD, but not if you haven’t done the necessary due diligence and you are about to have a new 108-unit development next door or close by.”
He says Ascot Vale looks undervalued but is also subject to getting the right property in the right locality.
“The inner south-east is attractive to inner bayside buyers who would prefer to be between Port Melbourne and St Kilda West, but can still be credible if they say they own in East St Kilda and surrounds. We see Ripponlea, for example, as particularly good value at this point.”
In Brisbane, areas like Grange, Wooloowin, Ascot and Clayfield represent good buying because they have low development risk, meaning that it is very difficult to secure high-rise unit development in these suburbs.
Expect to pay around $620,000 plus for a three-bedroom house in Grange and $750,000 plus for a renovated three bedder in Wooloowin.
They are also sought after given their location on the northern train line to the city and have the highly desirable village lifestyle.
Matthew Singleton, Head of Residential at JLL, a professional services firm that specialises in real estate, nominates Plympton Park, Bowden and Westbourne Park as standouts in the South Australian capital.
“Plympton Park is 6km between the CBD and Glenelg Beach with good access to all desirable urban facilities such as City to Bay tram, Morphettville Racecourse, Plympton Sports Club and shops and cafes,” says Mr Singleton.
The location is undergoing urban regeneration, with the demolition of many obsolete South Australian Housing Trust dwellings making way for new developments. Many older homes are also being upgraded and the area is attracting a new profile of occupants.
“There are good buying opportunities for older dwellings on 700sqm plus sites for around $500k which provides great entry level value for a suburb with so much to offer,” says Mr Singleton.
Bowden is within 4kms of the Adelaide CBD with good road and rail access. It is also close to great facilities such as the Entertainment Centre, North Adelaide Golf Course, Adelaide Oval and Adelaide Aquatic Centre.
“The area is considered to be affordable with the median price $425,000 being under the Adelaide metropolitan median,” he says, adding it is rare to find a locality 4km from the CBD with a median price under the Adelaide median as whole.
Another one to watch is Westbourne Park, just 5kms from the CBD, which offers “great value buying under $1million”.
In Perth, Mr Singleton says canny buyers are looking at suburbs like Ashfield and Warwick.
“Ashfield, less than 10kms from the Perth CBD on the Swan River, has large blocks with re-zoning potential in the near future,” says Mr Singleton.
Solid older homes are currently being renovated and either occupied by families or rented to young professionals due to proximity to CBD, but with lower rents than neighbouring suburbs.
“They are close to the train, within 5kms of the airport with good availability to both public and private schools. The recently upgraded Bassendean Square Shopping complex is in the neighbouring suburb with the rejuvenated café strip of ‘Old Perth Road’ within walking distance,” he says.
Surrounded by suburbs within higher medians such as Bassendean, Bayswater and Ascot, which represents a fantastic buying opportunity to purchase a 600sqm block for mid $450k on the river within 10kms of the city.
Warwick is 16km north of Perth CBD and close to major transport corridors. The original housing stock is coming to the end of its life but plenty are being upgraded or have potential for rejuvenation.
Simon Pressley of Propertyology says Hobart offers plenty of opportunities for good buying.
He told The New Daily the local market has evolved to be hotter than Sydney since late last year and is currently “the most improved in Australia.” Further, the entry price for property investors is extremely affordable.
“The suburb of Moonah is extremely central, has gentrification underway, and lots of upside. We’re still buying solid houses in the popular eastern suburbs of Howrah, Bellerive and Lindisfarne for around $430,000,” he says.
“Some of the properties in Blackmans Bay and Kingston have amazing water views for under $400,000.”
* House prices percentages via Corelogic