Property news bad. BUT here’s the BEST and CHEAPEST places to BUY in EVERY Aussie state. EVEN Tassie
All is not lost in the resurgent price rout that is Australian Real Estate.
Okay. Prices have indeed clocked great big fresh record highs…
Yes, CoreLogic’s latest capital city median house price is now at an uncool $923,641. The median unit price is $647,148.
Then there’s Sydney, where the median dwelling value of $1,121,000 soars like a great big harbour bridge above the national average of $747,400.
The property Pandemic Peak was struck in April 2022, then prices hit reverse, national home values fell -7.5% to the January 23 low.
And with that ugliness behind us – CoreLogic’s major measurement – the national Home Value Index – has blown past the previous peak and risen by 8.1% in just nine months.
According to CoreLogic’s executive research director, Tim Lawless, that’ll be the V-shaped recovery, right there. It happened this week, on Wednesday to be specific, November 22, 2023.
“The ‘V’ shaped recovery may seem counterintuitive, given high interest rates, deeply pessimistic levels of consumer sentiment and high cost of living pressures, however the recovery can be explained by an imbalance between supply and demand,” Lawless says.
“From a supply perspective, advertised stock levels have held remarkably low through 2023.
“Although inventory levels are now rebalancing as vendor activity picks up, listings remain 16.6 per cent below the previous five-year average nationally.
Yes, there’s a but, and it’s a good but.
There’s still all sorts of weird and wonderful towns and suburbs across this wide brown rip-off of a land where affordable home, bargain buys and decent employment prospects merge to make a sea change still very possible.
According to property data firm PropTrack a quick sift through the numbers, with a little cross-referencing the cheapest regional towns in each state, home buyers can purchase a property for a fraction of the cost of a home in a capital city, and still have good chances of finding a job.
While the absolute cheapest places to buy a property in Australia tend to be in smaller towns located further from major centres of employment, there are many suburbs dotted across the country with diverse local economies, sizeable populations, and affordable property prices too.
PropTrack’s senior economist Angus Moore says that across the country there’s all sorts of regional towns and undiscovered suburbs with thriving, independent local economies where jobs and lattes abound and which are also better placed to weather boom and bust cycles than towns dominated by a single industry such as mining.
“A more diverse economy means you’re more likely to match the skills you have with the jobs available,” Moore says. “One-industry towns can be very well remunerated, as parts of northern Western Australia have demonstrated. But the risk is that these industries can be very cyclical.”
“Mining and agriculture are both very driven by global market conditions, and in the case of agriculture, climate.
“Those things can impact those industries in ways that wouldn’t affect a diverse economy as much.”
Moore says go large, if you can.
“A 10,000-person town can support a number of different very niche restaurants in a way that a 100-person town isn’t able to.”
The broader array of job options can also create opportunities for anyone looking to live regionally but who can’t work remotely – such as teachers or nurses, doctors, landscape architects and/or parking ticket inspectors.
Then there’s the nearby big industries which in some cases can employ the majority of larger regional centres.
Thanks to PropTrack, here’s at least five of the most cracking, most affordable regional suburbs and/or towns in each state where home buyers can take advantage of a strong jobs market or access a diverse local economy.
To make the PropTrack list, ‘burbs had to meet four criteria: affordable property prices, a population of more than 5,000, a relatively low unemployment rate and a local economy not dominated by just one industry.
Most of the towns on the list have a median sale price of less than $400,000, and mortgage repayments of less than $500 per week, which is cheaper than the median capital city rent.
In fact, while we’re talking about the Aussie national rent trend – which you’ll remember is in total crisis (heaps strong demand and heaps little supply) – is largely being driven by the major capital cities. Conditions are easing in smaller capital cities and most regional areas, with reduced demand and an increase in stock available for rent.
For now Cameron Kusher, PropTrack’s director of Economic Research, says Aussie rental markets are going to stay tight and profoundly unfun.
“Extremely challenged” are Cameron’s exact words, with renters facing significant competition for the limited stock available.
“This has pushed the cost of renting much higher over the past year.”
At the end of the September 2023 quarter, the national median weekly advertised rent on realestate.com.au was recorded at $550 per week, an increase of 3.8% over the quarter and 14.6% over the year.
In most cases that budget affords a freestanding house, but in some towns, particularly in Victoria, buyers with a tight budget may need to restrict their search to units, which tend to be more affordable.
Here’s the full Tassie list:
No, it’s not the full Tassie list, but it is funny.
The median value of a home in regional NSW is $712,000 according to the latest PropTrack Home Price Index, but there are plenty of towns where buyers can snap up a property for less than half that figure, mostly in the state’s west and northwest.
Bewdiful Condobolin, in the Central West, has a median house price of $255,000, meaning repayments on a home loan would set buyers back a little over $300 per week.
The town and surrounds has a population of just over 6,000 according to the most recent census, and while agriculture is the main industry, healthcare, education, retail, manufacturing, as well as the Lachlan Shire council are all major employers.
Just picture it. Condobolin sits amid the Newell Highway links Melbourne to Queensland through the central west. And the Kidman Way, which links the southern states to Queensland and the Northern Territory.
The Mitchell Highway sits to the north and the Lachlan Valley Way connects Condobolin and Lake Cargelligo with Forbes to the east and Hillston to the west.
Thus, we have approximate travel distances of:
Sydney: 458km – 6 hours
Melbourne: 680km – 8 hours
Wagga Wagga: 252km – 3 hours
Dubbo: 216km – 2.5 hours
Griffith: 225km – 2.5 hours
Brisbane: 1043km – 13 hours
Homes are just slightly more expensive in Coonabarabran ($257,000), which is home to about 8k of Aussies and has a similar jobs profile and long c-name as Condobolin.
Rural jobs, heaps of healthcare, some retail and always education are major employers in Wentworth ($300,000) and Glen Innes ($335,000), while Moree ($290,000) has less of an agriculture focus and a larger construction industry.
While there are plenty of towns in Victoria where properties are affordable, buyers may need to focus on units to find the cheapest homes with the lowest mortgage repayments.
Lovely Mildura, home of much juice, has a median unit price of $301,250, and being a large regional town home to about 35,000 people, the biggest employers are healthcare, retail, education, construction and accommodation and food services.
Swan Hill, further up the Murray River, is smaller than Mildura but has a larger manufacturing industry, and a median unit price of $320,000.
Healthcare and retail are major employers in Sale ($315,000) and Traralgon ($327,500) in the Gippsland region, about two hours east of Melbourne, while Benalla ($323,500) has plenty of jobs in manufacturing and construction.
Queensland, rich with Queenslanders, has a thriving regional property market, and it’s gone gangbusters these last years. But it’s a big place, full of big Queenslanders and there’s still many a forgotten tropicalish town with funky, affordable property (they call their houses ‘Queenslanders!’) and the jobs markets are actually pretty diverse and the prospects grow quickly.
Emerald, about three hours west of Rockhampton, has a median unit price of just $192,500, making it the second cheapest town on the list. It has a population of about 14,000 and is in the seat of the Central Highlands Region council, which is also a big employer.
While coal mining and agriculture are major local industries, most jobs are in retail, healthcare and accommodation and food services.
Three suburbs in the Townsville region — Charters Towers, Ayr and Hermit Park, which is part of Townsville itself — have affordable homes for sale, with median prices under $225,000.
Charters Towers boomed in the 1800s after gold was discovered, and while gold mining is still undertaken directly beneath the town, education is now the major employer, and the town is known for several boarding schools that take in students from across the country.
And how about Hermit Park – just 2km southwest of central Townsville and positioned between the Charters Towers Road and Ross Creek? Heaps of history – when the area was subdivided in the 1880s it was considered to be remote from the main areas of activity, central Townsville and Ross Island (now South Townsville).
Its remoteness led to it being dubbed Hermit Park. That, and possibly the crocodiles…
By 1886 the Hermit Park and Causeway Hotels were opened.
In 1902, according to a history/tourism book in front of me, St Matthew’s Anglican church in Queens Road was built, and the gradual urban growth amounted to 432 houses when Hermit Park was transferred from Thuringowa Shire to Townsville City in 1918.
In Hermit Park, buyers can purchase a unit for about $200,000 and gain access to Townsville’s diverse employment options.
Ayr, about an hour south of Townsville, is the centre of the Burdekin region which is known for its sugarcane production that attracts working backpackers, but healthcare, retail and education are the largest industries by employment.
The dice-rolling property punters not afraid of the Desperate Isolation that is Western Australia, with some $350k in the back pocket, have an embarressment of riches to choose from out west.
Regional Western Australia has choice.
PropTrack says there’s particular manna in some of the suburbs of majorish regional cities of Geraldton, Bunbury and Albury.
Geraldton has a population of almost 40,000 and is home to a major seaport that handles mineral and grain exports, with plenty of jobs in transport and logistics, as well as in healthcare, retail and education.
But back to Albany, how’s this:
Seriously, Albany looks to me a lot like what the kids are calling ‘the absolute balls’ these days.
If you’re wanting a peiece of this, home buyers can do a hell of a lot worse than checking out the Albany suburb of Lockyer, where the strong local economy has a stack of gigs for the interpid.
According to Realestate.com.au, the very cheapest houses out that way are in a place called Rangeway, where the median house price is $190,000, but buyers who want to be closer to the ocean can look in Mount Tarcoola ($395,500) or Tarcoola Beach ($425,000).
Not bad for way under $400k…
The timber industry is a big local employer in Manjimup, where a median-priced house costs $300,000.
Mount Gambier near the Victorian border is South Australia’s second largest city after Adelaide, and also one of the cheapest places to buy a property in the state with a median unit price of $280,000 and a median house price of $395,500.
It’s a major regional centre with jobs in healthcare, retail, education and manufacturing.
Here’s SA’s best, according to PropTrack: