Slim pickings for buyers with less than $750,000


The constant surge in house prices across the country is making life difficult for buyers, according to the latest Herron Todd White (HTW) Month in Review.

In the May report, HTW Director, Rachel Anderson, said the ability to buy property under the national median varies significantly between the states – with limited options in Sydney and Melbourne.

However, the smaller capital city markets still have plenty of options to get onto the property ladder.

She said prices have continued to rise in most capital cities with the median price hitting $784,000 up 6.68 per cent annually.

“The above represents the 17th consecutive month of national home price increases, however, regional median values across the country offer the highest probability of your $750,000 budget being sufficient to enter all markets, ranging from the lowest median of $409,000 in the Northern Territory and the highest at $672,000 in Queensland,” Ms Anderson said.

“Perth remains the strongest performing capital city, with an astonishing 22nd consecutive month of growth and an annual rate of 20.68 per cent with low stock levels and still the most affordable state. 

“Adelaide and Brisbane follow, tag teaming 14.49 per cent and 13.69 per cent, with Brisbane prices now well above their low in December 2022.” 

She said all three cities showed the most significant decline in total listings over the past year, and the most relative affordability. 

“Sydney and Melbourne may both be able to boast an ability to absorb the higher listing activity, however Sydney prices were seven per cent above May 2023 levels whereas Melbourne’s annual growth at 0.87 per cent is static and home prices remain 3.08 per cent below their March 2022 peak,” Ms Anderson said.

“This presents more choice for home buyers with 21.4 per cent more listings in April 2024 than the same time last year. 

“Hobart remains the poorest performer thus far in 2024 although prices are still up 34.9 per cent since March 2020, highlighting that every property market differs and behaviours across the country vary depending on the drivers.”

Source: HTW

Sydney

HTW Director, Shaun Thomas, said buyers needed to ‘think outside the box’, to find a property in Sydney under $750,000.

“The unit sector of the Sydney market presents far more opportunity, although still requires some research, with the current median unit price listed at $844,659 as per (CoreLogic) RP Data,” Mr Thomas said.

“Although not increasing quite as quickly as the housing sector, the median unit price has risen by 6.2 per cent over the past 12 months as per RP Data. 

“The most likely buyers active at the $750,000 price point include first time homebuyers trying to stay below the current thresholds in New South Wales and also investors looking to capitalise on the historically strong rental market in Sydney.”

Melbourne

HTW Director, Perron King, said a budget of $750,000 might still fall short of securing a family home in many suburbs, there are other opportunities. 

“Buyers within this price range have increasingly turned to units as an alternative means of entering their desired location, however the median unit price in Melbourne has risen by 3.8 per cent to $635,000,” Mr King said.

“Regional Victoria has emerged as a popular and more affordable alternative in recent years for those in search of a spacious lifestyle without the hefty city price tag. 

“Despite this appeal, the median price has remained relatively stable over the past year, hovering around $605,000.”

Brisbane

HTW Director, David Notley, said a budget of $750,000 will go a long way but it still comes with limitations.

“Within Brisbane, you will find plenty of options around that $750,000 price point – but not all will be investment worthy regardless of whether you’re a homeowner or landlord,” Mr Notley said.

“Yes, you can buy close to the city centre – or even within the CBD itself – at this figure but expect to be acquiring a small apartment or bedsit. 

“A house is also within your budget in some city-accessible suburbs, but it will probably be further afield and/or be small and/or not have much land area and/or need repair.”

Adelaide

HTW Valuer, Nick Smerdon, said depending on buyer motivation, a lazy $750,000 could buy the astute purchaser the perfect owner-occupier abode or investment property. 

“Value for money at this price point has tightened over the past 12 months as the median metropolitan house price has grown to $760,000,” Mr Smerdon said.

“Price pressure at $750,000 is at its highest in the inner ring with many suburbs having median dwelling values in excess of $1.25 million.” 

He said higher density stock, such as strata units, row cottages and more recent infill developments, were most prevalent at this price point, given they generally reflect the lower end of the market in the inner ring. 

“At this price level purchasers can expect smaller than average living spaces, courtyard style allotments, two to three bedrooms and varying quality of improvements depending on location,” he said.

“The inner northern and western suburbs provide the greatest bang for buck at this price level.”

Perth

HTW Director, Chris Hinchliffe, said what $750,000 could have secured you 12 months prior probably looks quite different today.

“Our lazy $750,000 offers a myriad of options around Western Australia,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

“The relative affordability of our market is on display, as $750,000 can buy you a very nice family home or even a couple of neat rental properties!”

Darwin

HTW Valuer, Anthony Kennedy, said Darwin remained a relatively cheap capital city compared to the rest of the country, with the median sale price for houses across Greater Darwin sitting at $561,500. 

“A budget of $750,000 will therefore provide a number of options from beachside apartments with views over the harbour to large family homes in sought-after inner city suburbs,” Mr Kennedy said.

ACT

HTW Assistant Valuer, Thomas Atlee, said the market for houses in Canberra was ruled out for those looking within that $750,000 budget. 

“However, if buyers can stretch that budget to between $800,000 and $900,000, houses can often be found on the market in the Belconnen and Tuggeranong regions,” Mr Atlee said.

“Units are widely available across Canberra which can fit within our $750,000 price range.”

Hobart

HTW Valuer, Mark Davies, said $750,000 still offered pretty good bang for buck in Hobart and surrounding suburbs. 

“This price point in the post code of 7000 (Hobart, North and West Hobart, Glebe and Mount Stuart) generally gets you a relatively dated (smallish) three-bedroom, one-bathroom freestanding dwelling within close proximity of the Hobart CBD,” Mr Davies said.

“If you are prepared to downsize a tad, you will find yourself in a more modern attached unit with two bedrooms and perhaps two bathrooms.”



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