Homes under $750k within walking distance of the city: The cheapest suburbs within 2km of the CBD

Food is expensive. Petrol is expensive. Rent is expensive. Everything is expensive.

There is no getting around the current financial pressures facing Australians in 2023 but even amid a cost of living crisis, there are people still looking to buy homes.

If you’re one of those people, any location where you can get in cheaper than everywhere else, but which is also within walking distance of the city centre, is one worth checking out.

Not surprisingly, the bigger the city, the fewer the options when it comes to finding something within two kilometres of the CBD for $750,000 or less – but there are options, even in a city like Sydney, where the median house price recently rose (for the first time in 12 months) to $1,459,856.

Brisbane and Melbourne’s city-fringe unit markets are more affordable, with options starting as low as $405,000 just 1.7 kilometres from the city centre.

Everyone’s borrowing capacity has fallen over the past year, so finding a property on a budget is more important than ever. If you’re hoping to get on the property ladder for less than $750,000 – and in a location where you can walk to the CBD – here are some options worth looking at.



SuburbRegionPropertyMedianAnnual changeDistance to CBD
Rushcutters BayCity and EastUnit$681,500-29.2%1.8km
ChippendaleCity and EastUnit$712,500-14.4%2km

Source: <em>Domain House Price Report,</em> March 2023.

The unit market in Rushcutters Bay, a harbourside inner-east beauty, has had some significant price falls over the past year, with its median price now sitting at $681,500. The Chippendale apartment market has also dropped in value, by 14.4 per cent, and the median is now $712,500.

Both of these suburbs sit within a two-kilometre radius of the city, and both offer opportunities to young buyers who may not even be aware they can get in at these prices, says Andrew Gray at Traversgray Real Estate.

“Rushcutters Bay, even Rose Bay, Double Bay – young buyers can think they’re out of their price range,” he says. “They’d be surprised at some of the unit prices.”

Other options nearby, like Haymarket, Ultimo, Glebe and Paddington, all have median unit prices around the $800,000 mark.

Nick Gill of BresicWhitney Inner East says buyers looking to get their foot in the door of areas like Rushcutters Bay would need to look at one-bedroom options.

“For under $750,000, the one-bedder or studio apartments are really popular with investors or first-home buyers wanting to get on the ladder,” he says.

“You’re going to be compromised on size but there’s the convenience of living in a location like this. That appeal is always there, and Potts Point, Elizabeth Bay [and] Rushcutters Bay have always had a good supply of one-bed apartments.”

A beautiful one-bedroom unit in a character building a short stroll from the harbour and Rushcutters Bay Park recently sold at auction for $651,000, and Gill says these one-bedders are a great place to start.

“Those buying two and three-bed apartments … there’s a smaller supply of those and they are typically more expensive,” he says. “Often [sold] to people upgrading from the local one-bedder that they started with, they stay in the area and upgrade to get more space.”

He says open-home numbers are strong, adding: “There are still people wanting to buy. As long as a property for sale demonstrates value and is priced correctly, there are plenty of buyers every time.”



SuburbRegionPropertyMedianAnnual changeDistance to CBD
Melbourne CityInner UrbanUnit$475,0000.4%0
SouthbankInner UrbanUnit$579,
South MelbourneInner UrbanUnit$633,500-5.0%1.5km
South YarraInner UrbanUnit$575,000-7.3%2km

Source: <em>Domain House Price Report,</em> March 2023.

A clutch of city-fringe Melbourne suburbs come in well below the $750,000 mark, with South Melbourne’s unit median price of $633,500 being the highest.

Only 800 metres from the CBD, the relative affordability of South Melbourne’s unit market may come as surprising to some, especially given the median price for a house there is $1.792 million – that’s a $1,158,500 price gap.

Marcus Varrasso of Jellis Craig Port Phillip recently sold a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment with a courtyard to an “ecstatic” first-home buyer for $600,000.

Around 100 groups came through the unit during its four-week auction campaign, a figure Varrasso describes as “astronomical” for a unit listing.

“It’s unusual to take an apartment to auction in this area.” he says. “The vendor wanted $600,000 – which was a high price for the building – but the interest was there. We decided to maximise the numbers with a short campaign and the interest was huge, most of them either investors or first-home buyers.

“It would’ve rented out very well as the rental return on that was estimated [to be] anywhere from $600 to $700 a week, or $3000 a month. In the end, it sold to a first-home buyer who was beyond happy, and the owner was very happy too. A great result for everyone.”

Varrasso says the pool of buyers searching for a home has grown, reflecting the resilience of Melbourne’s inner-city market.

“For this buyer, they’re never going to lose on a property on that – who knows what it’s worth in 10 years? Buyers can see the value,” he says.

“That’s why these areas like South Melbourne, when the broader market does take a hit … are worth a look at.

“If it makes sense price-wise, regardless of the location or even whether it’s renovated or not, they will bid, they will buy.”



SuburbRegionPropertyMedianAnnual changeDistance to CBD
South BrisbaneBrisbane WestUnit$530,000-1.9%1km
Spring HillBrisbane NorthUnit$451,2508.5%1.1km
Spring HillBrisbane NorthHouse$624,500-34.1%1.1km
Kangaroo PointBrisbane EastUnit$575,000-3.5%1.2km
Fortitude ValleyBrisbane NorthUnit$405,000-10.0%1.7km
MiltonBrisbane WestUnit$595,00026.2%1.9km
New FarmBrisbane NorthUnit$750,0005.6%2km
Highgate HillBrisbane WestUnit$745,000-17.7%2km

Source: <em>Domain House Price Report,</em> March 2023.

The list of postcodes within walking distance of Brisbane’s CBD for $750,000 or less is longer, and it’s not without some surprises.

The median price for a house in Spring Hill has fallen to $624,500 this year, putting it well below Brisbane’s overall median house price of $805,818, and other vibrant city-fringe favourites like Fortitude Valley come in just above $400,000 for a median-priced unit.

26/92 Robertson Street, Fortitude Valley QLD 4006

In New Farm, one of Brisbane’s most sought-after – not to mention expensive – suburbs, the median price for a unit is $750,000. Compared to the median house price of $2.355 million, that’s a price gap of $1.605 million, which presents a massive opportunity for buyers, says Ray White New Farm agent Claudia Marchand.

“That is a huge price gap between houses and units in the one suburb. Phenomenal,” she says.

“People have to be open-minded; young people need to step onto the ladder. Yes, it might be small, or it might not have a car [space]. But if you understand location is 99 per cent of your future value, then you can buy, live in it for a year, then rent it out and move on.”

Marchand recently sold a one-bedroom unit in Moray Street, a highly revered location fronting the Brisbane River and overlooking the CBD and Story Bridge, for $475,000.

She says it ended up selling at auction to an investor from Sydney.

“At that price, as I say, it really is a no-brainer. You can’t go wrong with that,” she says.

“Rent is about $550 a week, the complex has an amazing pool and it’s walking distance to the city, Howard Smith Wharves – everything that New Farm offers. If it had a car space the buyer would have needed to spend $600,000 to $650,000.”

Other Brisbane inner-city favourites that are slightly more than two kilometres out but are still affordable, are East Brisbane, with a median unit price of $535,000, and Newstead, with a median unit price of $640,000.

Article source: Queensland Property Investor