First-home buyers tend to cast their net over the urban fringes to find an affordable home, while those who prefer walking distance to shops and the CBD stick to the inner suburbs.
But which areas strike the perfect balance between both?
According to a new report released by the research arm of PRD Real Estate, the answer lies somewhere in the middle.
In its latest analysis combining price and lifestyle concerns, the firm identified Brisbane as the most “bang for your buck” capital city on Australia’s east coast.
The percentage of Brisbane homes fitting under the $500,000 price bracket hovers at 44.3 per cent – up from 12.4 per cent one year ago – with low crime rates and easy access to schools, shopping centres, parks and public transport.
However, the best value-for-money suburbs are concentrated in the city’s north, compared to Melbourne and Hobart, whose highest-performing suburbs are scattered across the metro area.
That’s good news for buyers seeking variety in their choices.
One common trait across each city, though, was the concentration of bang for buck suburbs in the “middle ring”.
So, which suburbs topped the list, and why?
With Melbourne’s median home price sitting at an astronomical $1.03 million according to SQM Research, first-home buyers and downsizers can easily find themselves priced out of hip inner locales including Brunswick and South Yarra.
For those seeking affordable living with a bustling suburban vibe, Greensborough (median price of $803,000), Altona ($885,000) and Oakleigh South ($923,000) came out on top.
Director of Jellis Craig Greensborough Daniel O’Regan said although volume of sales and turnover has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, newer townhouses are still being sought after by young professionals.
Considering the proximity to major shopping centre Greensborough Plaza and a large pool of schools to choose from, Mr O’Regan said it’s ideal for couples looking to start a family.
“Greensborough has got most of the facilities people would have on their checklist when looking for a home, and you can get a four-bedroom home in the $900,000s,” he said.
“The normal first-home buyer around here would have previously rented in Northcote, through the inner north to Richmond or Hawthorn in the east, and want something a little more affordable.”
Unlike Melbourne, Sydney’s hotspots for liveability without the hefty price tag are concentrated in the south-west.
Because the NSW capital is Australia’s dearest city for property with a median value of $1.38 million, the best picks are comparatively cheaper, with median prices $200,000 to $300,000 below that eye-watering price.
Rockdale in particular (median house price of $1,100,000) stands out for easy accessibility to public transport, a number of top-class medical facilities and a popular cafe-driven lifestyle, according to Ray White Rockdale principal Con Economos.
“The city is within 15 minutes by train, the airport is a 10 minute drive away and there’s Botany Bay and its beaches, which is only a five minute drive away,” Mr Economos said.
“Generally, most of the housing stock is between 70 to 100 years of age, and generally you’re looking at an average block with 300 to 450 square metres of land.”
Brisbane’s property market has held up with relative strength compared to its larger counterparts, and the city’s northern suburbs are where buyers can expect to get the most favourable deals.
Griffin figured as the city’s most bang for buck suburb with a median house price of $465,000, coupled with dense green areas and a sense of coastal living nestled on the mouth of the North Pine River.
Closer to the city’s airport, inland suburbs Everton Park ($615,000) and Virginia ($625,000) rounded out the top three.
Everton Park has continued to become an emerging favourite for first-home buyers with its rapidly changing demographic, chic cafe culture and easy access to bus routes.
And Virginia has the best of both worlds as it’s a short drive to some of the city’s idyllic beaches and received top marks for having its own train station.
Mainlanders seeking affordability and a move away from major metropolises have propelled demand for Tasmanian property, spearheaded by the state’s capital, Harcourts Hobart real estate agent Ben Vance said.
Hobart’s top-ranking suburbs included Geilston Bay ($512,500), Kingston (527,000) and Lindisfarne ($575,000).
And Mr Vance said there are three uniting factors that make each of them enticing to savvy buyers: Convenience of local services, proximity to the city, and the fact they are already gentrified and well-established suburbs.
“They are all pretty self-contained so home owners would not have to venture far from their suburb for shopping, and there’s a good youthful dining culture available in those suburbs,” Mr Vance said.
“A lot of families buy in those areas, with good catchment areas for schools, but you also have older generations and retirees in those locations.”