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The Top Performing Australian Suburbs Right Now

The Top Performing Australian Suburbs Right Now

By News Corp for LJ Hooker on Feb 25 2021

Mirroring the seismic changes to every aspect of Australian life, the number of properties sold in the country last year increased by approximately 8 per cent compared to 2019, and experts are predicting the upswing in sales will continue well into 2021.

New figures from leading property data company, CoreLogic, shows that average house prices in the final three months of the year rose by 2.3 per cent around the country, with increases to every single capital city and many regional areas.

Darwin was a standout, with prices rising 5.5 per cent, while Adelaide saw an increase of 3.6 per cent and Canberra and Hobart both saw growth of 3.2 per cent.

Mathew Tiller, Head of Research at LJ Hooker, says many regional areas have become especially popular as people look to escape the cities. “Regional markets have outperformed capital city markets,” he says.

“Affordability and lifestyle are the two main drivers, but that’s also been ramped up with the number of people that have wanted to make a change due to the restrictions that came with COVID. It hasn’t been out of the blue, but it’s sped up the decision-making process for those who’ve always wanted a sea-change or a tree-change.”

Areas with the most sales

Tiller says the price trends that have emerged in real estate data can be easily explained.

First, low interest rates have been a major driver for increased real estate transaction volumes after the Reserve Bank cut the official cash rate to an historic low of 0.10 per cent.

Second, the number of new listings last year was down almost 20 per cent, increasing competition between buyers and driving prices higher.

Third, first-time buyers have been making use of government stimulus measures to buy newly built homes, primarily, in metropolitan greenbelts.

The most impressive results over the last 12 months have been seen along the east coast, which has undoubtedly been significantly affected by repeated border closures, lockdowns, and the re-emergence of hotspots. This has meant emerging regional markets have become even more popular.

In NSW, the Central Coast and major regional towns like Newcastle and Bathurst have seen a huge rise. Wyong made the top 20 best performing house markets in the country with a massive 81 houses sold in 12 months, the median sale price rising 28.8 per cent to sit now at $670,000.

For Queensland, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast have been big real estate markets for a long time, but they’ve become increasingly popular with people moving north from interstate. Sunshine Beach was a top performer with median house prices up 47.1 per cent to $2,000,000.

Anywhere along the Surf Coast from Geelong to Lorne have been the big winners in Victoria, while Ballarat and Bendigo are also growing steadily - though the top performer remained within the city lights. St Kilda took this honour, with a median sale value of $1,660,000 for houses, up 43.7 per cent and units in St Kilda West up 35.4 per cent to a tidy $660,000.

“There’s a big difference between the capital city markets and what you can get in a regional market,” Tiller explains. “Sydney and Melbourne have a median house price of more than one million dollars, and the difference to a regional market with prices of $300,000 to $700,000 is quite significant.”

Capitalising on market conditions

Kin Sawhney, Director at LJ Hooker Geelong, is seeing the effects of pent-up demand from the cities first-hand. His team recently sold a house that had 32 inspections booked within three days of being listed and was sold for above expectations.

“That’s the level of interest in regional houses at the moment, especially in Geelong,” he says. “If you’re putting your house on the market right now, you could possibly get more than you expected because of the demand for property in the area.”

It’s important for sellers to be aware of the different priorities of owner-occupiers buyers and investors in order to maximise their sale price. Sawhney says presentation is definitely the key to getting “the extra cherry on top” when it comes to price. He says buyers like to see how people are living in the space – where the bed is, where the couch is, where the TV is – and imagine themselves living in the space.

Investors will tend to make a decision more quickly.

“I sold two properties last week, both bought by investors. They looked at the properties for five minutes and offered more than we were asking for. The way the market has shifted, no matter where you are, there’s a lot of competition, which makes it a really good time to list your property for sale.”

Locations to watch in 2021

CoreLogic also confirms that regional returns are in a league of their own. This presents exciting opportunities for upgraders and investors heading into the new year. Its data agreed that Newcastle, the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, and Geelong are all places to watch.

However, it also pointed out further opportunities in the Illawarra, Southern Highlands and Shoalhaven regions of New South wales, which have all been forecast to have 10-year annual growth rates up to 5 per cent.

There are many factors that should be included in a decision to relocate to a regional area. However, the experts agree that prospective upgraders should start with one simple question: why are you moving?

That naturally encourages a conversation about what you are planning to do for work, what you enjoy, what are the opportunities you want to have, what are the services and amenities you’ll need. From there, you can start to think about which location will offer the best combination. That way, you’ll have a clear direction in mind when you speak to a real estate agent and begin your search for a new home in earnest.

DISCLAIMER - The information provided is for guidance and informational purposes only and does not replace independent business, legal and financial advice which we strongly recommend. Whilst the information is considered true and correct at the date of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact the accuracy of the information provided. LJ Hooker will not accept responsibility or liability for any reliance on the blog information, including but not limited to, the accuracy, currency or completeness of any information or links.

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