House hunters across Australia’s capital cities should have middle-ring suburbs on their radar, according to a new report identifying the best affordable and liveable suburbs.
While buying into a top suburb does not come cheap, liveable suburbs are not completely out of reach for investors and owner-occupiers on a budget, says Diaswati Mardiasmo, chief economist at PRD Real Estate.
Middle-ring areas made up the bulk of suburbs to watch in the latest PRD Affordable and Liveable Property Guide, which was released on Thursday.
“We’re not just nominating cheap suburbs or bargain suburbs,” said Dr Mardiasmo. “But these are the most affordable suburbs [that meet the criteria for] investment, future projects and liveability.”
The report identified suburbs to watch within 20 kilometres of the Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Hobart central business districts.
Suburbs had to have reasonably affordable median prices, decent rental yields, a high level of project development – to indicate future growth potential – and score well for liveability, meaning they had low crime and unemployment rates, and proximity to amenities like schools, public transport, shopping centres, green spaces and health services.
“These are suburbs to watch out for,” said Dr Mardiasmo, noting that top picks from the report had previously been excluded in subsequent years because price growth pushed them over the affordability threshold.
“A key common thing, if you look at them, is that they’re all in same radial range,” she said. “Most are middle-ring suburbs … in Brisbane they’re to the north, in Melbourne they’re a little more spread out, in Sydney they’re to the south-west of the CBD and in Hobart they’re to the east, and a little more spread out.”
Here’s where house hunters should cast their gaze in each of the included cities.
Whether you’re looking for an apartment or a house, it’s Sydney’s south-west that offers the best chance to break into a liveable suburb for a relatively affordable price.
Rockdale is among the PRD’s picks for both property types – one of just two suburbs nationally to do so – with a $1.1 million median house price and $610,500 median unit price recorded over 2019 and the first quarter of 2020.
Other top suburbs for houses included Miranda and Tempe, with medians of $1.16 million and $1.093 million. Meanwhile, Bexley and Peakhurst, with medians of $610,000 and $695,000, rounded out the top three suburb picks for units.
Mark Somboli of Belle Property St George said suburbs such as Rockdale, Bexley and Peakhurst were becoming increasingly popular with out-of-area buyers, particularly first-home buyers and young families upsizing from the inner west who were looking to get more bang for their buck.
He added the areas had continued to hold their own throughout the coronavirus pandemic, saying he had sold properties in both Peakhurst and Rockdale in recent months to buyers who had never set foot inside their new homes – relying on solely on online inspections.
Melburnians looking for an apartment can look closer to the city than their Sydney counterparts, but to buy a house in a liveable suburb priced below the city’s median they’ll need to look to the edge of the 20-kilometre radius.
Greensborough was the most affordable suburb to meet all the criteria, with a median house price of $803,000. It was followed by Altona and Oakleigh South with medians of $885,000 and $923,000.
Michael Johnston of Darren Jones Real Estate said Greensborough drew a mix of first-home buyers, upsizers and investors, and was popular for its amenities such as parks and Greensborough Plaza, and its relatively affordable given its proximity to the CBD.
Those in the market for an apartment should cast their gaze to Kingsville, Moonee Ponds and Brunswick East, all within 10 kilometres of the CBD.
While more than 45 per cent of Brisbane suburbs have medians priced below $500,000, it’s the city’s north that offers the best balance.
Griffin is the most affordable for houses, with a median of $465,000, with prices climbing to $615,000 and $624,000 in the other top picks of Everton Park and Virginia.
“You’ve got private and public schools quite close [by], and it’s a very family-friendly area with good parks,” said Erica Swannell, of Calibre Real Estate, of Griffin.
With modern and low-maintenance homes, the area was popular with both first-home buyers and downsizers, she said. Its proximity to the airport also meant it was popular with airport staff, with many renting and then buying in the area.
Geeburg and Arana Hills, as well as nearby Daisy Hill, which all offered strong rental yields, were the top picks for apartments.
In Hobart, where suburbs had to be within 10 kilometres of the CBD, Kingston – less than 6km from the city centre – was a top pick for both units and houses.
‘Set to benefit from $4.7 million in project development in the first half of 2020, and with low unemployment of 4.9 per cent, Kingston has a stable economic platform,’ the report states.
‘Kingston also offers locals easy access to shops, schools, parks, and more …. Further, Kingston’s investors have benefited from an average unit rental yield of 5.5 per cent and a very low vacancy rate of 0.8 per cent.’
Geilston Bay and Lindisfarne were the other top picks for houses, while unit buyers should look to Bellerive and New Town.