Surprising suburbs where you can still buy for less than $1 million

Across some of our most expensive capital cities, the list of suburbs belonging to the million-dollar club – or in some cases, the two, three and four million-dollar club – is very long, even during a property downturn.

But there are pockets of reprieve; suburbs that may have fallen in value and now offer an alternative simply by virtue of market timing, suburbs where you can buy and live for literally millions of dollars less by compromising on the type of property. Then there are suburbs that still haven’t hit that million-dollar threshold because they have somehow fallen under the radar, overshadowed by their flashier and more expensive neighbours.

SYDNEY

What’s not surprising about Sydney is the sheer number of suburbs that have a house price median exceeding $1 million. Finding a home under that threshold is more difficult in this capital city than anywhere else in the nation, and it’s been that way for a number of years.

But there are some areas where buyers can still find a house under the $1 million mark. While all of them are in Sydney’s west and south-west, data analysis by Domain has narrowed down which of those are closest to the CBD and, in what may come as a surprise to some buyers, there are a number of suburbs that are less than 25 kilometres from the city centre.

Auburn, Granville and Guildford are all within 20 kilometres of the CBD – distances that are comparable to suburbs on the northern beaches and upper north shore. Local agent Joseph Nasr says Guildford is one such suburb that sat unnoticed for a long time.

SYDNEY

StateSuburbRegionPropertyMedianDistance to CBD
NSWAlexandriaInner WestUnit$846,5004.8km
NSWMarrickvilleInner WestUnit$740,5006.8km
NSWGladesvilleLower NorthUnit$800,0008.8km
NSWDee WhyNorthern BeachesUnit$911,25015km
NSWSurry HillsCity and EastUnit$900,0001.9km
NSWChippendaleCity and EastUnit$742,5002.1km
NSWErskinevilleInner WestUnit$911,0004.3km
NSWLeichhardtInner WestUnit$844,0005.2km
NSWSummer HillInner WestUnit$765,0007km
NSWManly ValeNorthern BeachesUnit$900,00010.9km
NSWRedfernCity and EastUnit$948,0002.7km
NSWRushcutters BayCity and EastUnit$801,5001.8km
NSWSouth WentworthvilleWestHouse$875,00022.7km
NSWFairfieldSouth WestHouse$927,50023.7km
NSWVillawoodSouth WestHouse$881,50020.9km
NSWFairfield HeightsSouth WestHouse$955,00024.8km
NSWGuildfordWestHouse$930,00020.2km
NSWGranvilleWestHouse$905,88818.9km
NSWAuburnWestHouse$950,00017km

Source: Domain House Price Report, December 2022.

“Guildford sat there for years not moving and then all of a sudden people noticed it and it took off. It was slower to rise and fell under the radar for a while,” he says. “Not anymore. Buyers have got onto it and they’re driving up the price.”

But there’s still value in it, he says, and in its neighbouring suburb, Granville.

“When something comes on the market, there’s always buyers competing. It’s a beautiful spot, the main train line to the city helps too … we’re noticing now in this market, there are a lot of families and first-home buyers coming here. There’s always strong competition.”

If staying closer in is a main priority, switching the type of property – from a house to a unit – can nab buyers a home in some of the city’s most sought after suburbs.

Gladesville on the lower north shore has a median house price of $2.5 million. With its spectacular multimillion-dollar homes overlooking the bay, leafy parks and multitude of cafes, the fact this suburb has a median unit price of $800,000 represents “incredible value”, says Michael Gallina of Belle Property Hunters Hill.

“Gladesville is still that hidden suburb that’s got everything, from waterfront homes to classic cottages, but it’s so much more affordable than its neighbours like Hunters Hill. It’s still an undiscovered jewel,” he says.

“Units here represent amazing value because the prices are so reasonable. Under $1 million, less than 10 kilometres from the CBD and one kilometre from the river. It’s still undervalued, which means it’s a great buying opportunity.”

Gallina is selling what he describes as “a once in a lifetime opportunity” in Gladesville: a circa 1860s Victorian sandstone cottage, with a guide price of $800,000.

The heritage-listed property forms part of a strata-titled apartment complex but is free-standing.

“If this wasn’t part of a strata title, if this was your usual sandstone heritage cottage, you’d be talking $3 million to $4 million,” he says. “It’s an incredible opportunity for apartment buyers to get a free-standing house that’s part of history.”

Melbourne

Melbourne’s median house price fell by 5.6 per cent over 2022 and is now sitting at just over $1 million, so in theory, finding a house for less than $1 million should be possible.

Anthony Lapadula of Jellis Craig Reservoir says Melbourne still has plenty of options for buyers wanting to get in for under $1 million – some that may be cheaper than buyers expect – and his pick of the bunch is Reservoir, where the median house price is $825,000.

“Reservoir is about to go off like a rocket. The median price won’t be that cheap for long. Give it a year or two – everything will be over $1 million,” he says.

MELBOURNE

StateSuburbRegionPropertyMedianDistance To CBD
VICRingwoodOuter EastHouse$977,42523km
VICFootscrayWestHouse$946,0007.2km
VICChelseaSouth EastHouse$938,00028km
VICClaytonInner SouthHouse$933,10017km
VICCoburg NorthNorthHouse$930,00011km
VICMaribyrnongWestHouse$922,0009km
VICHeidelberg HeightsNorth EastHouse$920,75011.6km
VICWest FootscrayWestHouse$910,0009km
VICCarrumSouth EastHouse$905,00031km
VICWatsoniaNorth EastHouse$875,00016km
VICMaidstoneWestHouse$850,0009.8km
VICReservoirNorth EastHouse$825,00013km
VICHeidelberg WestNorth EastHouse$770,00011km

Source: Domain House Price Report, Dec 2022.

“It’s only 16 kilometres from the CBD. It’s got the most amazing and insane infrastructure. The government has spent so much on the Reservoir station; there’s schools, two tram lines, it’s got it all. This is the central hub of the outer north.”

Lapadula says Reservoir partly owes its popularity to its proliferation of period homes.

“This is where the period homes end for the north. After that you’ve Thomastown, Lalor … they’re more post-war brick. Reservoir has the California bungalows and the weatherboards.

“The past seven homes I’ve sold, the buyers have come from Collingwood, Fitzroy. They’ve come from real inner and they’re all young couples, no kids and they’re the ones driving up prices, even during the downturn.

“I’m seeing this happen in real time and in Reservoir, more than anywhere else. This is where it won’t stay under $1 million for much longer.”

Brisbane

Some of the suburbs on Brisbane’s sub-$1 million list are surprising not so much for their proximity to the CBD, but for their proximity to other far more expensive postcodes.

Bayside suburbs Wynnum and Lota sit on either side of Manly, which is well known and loved for its waterfront location, village atmosphere and popular dining spots. Manly also has a median house price of nearly $1.2 million, putting it more than $200,000 ahead of its neighbours Wynnum and Lota, despite the fact they share the same coastline.

BRISBANE

StateSuburbRegionPropertyMedianDistance to CBD (Meters)
QLDNundahBrisbane NorthHouse$992,5008.3km
QLDWynnumBayside SouthHouse$975,00014.6km
QLDLotaBayside SouthHouse$965,00016km
QLDUpper Mount GravattBrisbane WestHouse$950,00010km
QLDMoorookaBrisbane WestHouse$935,0007.1km
QLDCarina HeightsBrisbane EastHouse$930,0007.7km
QLDCarinaBrisbane EastHouse$922,5007.5km
QLDJindaleeBrisbane WestHouse$915,00011km
QLDSalisburyBrisbane WestHouse$909,7508.9km
QLDEverton ParkBrisbane NorthHouse$886,8658.5km
QLDChermsideBrisbane NorthHouse$875,0009km
QLDEverton HillsBrisbane NorthHouse$868,00010.4km
QLDSpring HillBrisbane NorthHouse$825,8001.1km

Source: Domain House Price Report, December 2022.

Suburbs like Carina and Carina Heights border Camp Hill, a neighbourhood popular with families that has been one of Brisbane strongest performing suburbs for the past few years. Its median house price is $1.425 million – half a million dollars more than a couple of minutes further along at Carina and Carina Heights.

Perhaps the most surprising for Brisbane’s suburbs under $1 million is Spring Hill, where the median for a house is a (relatively) affordable $825,800, despite the fact it sits on the fringe of the city centre.

This price is influenced by Spring Hill’s smaller block sizes – historic homes on plots of less than 300 square metres are not uncommon. Larger, sprawling homes on big blocks of land are few and far between.

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27 Sheriff Street Petrie Terrace QLD 4000

Adelaide

Finding property for less than $1 million is not necessarily hard in Adelaide. The median house price of$783,705 is more affordable than the medians in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane, but there are suburbs that still carry surprising price tags, usually for their proximity to Adelaide’s priciest postcodes.

Some of Adelaide’s most expensive suburbs include Unley Park and Medindie, both of which have median house prices in excess of $2 million, but others like Henley Beach ($1.285 million), Henley Beach South ($1.325 million), Fullarton ($1.232 million) and Somerton Park ($1.2 million) have all moved well past $1 million.

Prospect sits just north of Medindie but its median house price is $900,000 – well below that of its neighbouring blue-chip suburb – while Glenelg North and Glenelg East, both seaside suburbs just south of Henley Beach South, are considerably more affordable.

ADELAIDE

StateSuburbRegionPropertyMedianDistance To CBD
SANorth AdelaideAdelaide Metro EastHouse$973,5002km
SAWest LakesAdelaide Metro WestHouse$957,50011.5km
SAGlenelg EastAdelaide Metro SouthHouse$950,0009km
SAGlenelg NorthAdelaide Metro SouthHouse$925,0008.8km
SATorrensvilleAdelaide Metro WestHouse$900,0003.9km
SAProspectAdelaide Metro WestHouse$900,0005.1km
SAMile EndAdelaide Metro WestHouse$862,5002.7km
SASeacliff ParkAdelaide Metro SouthHouse$795,00014.2km
SAFlinders ParkAdelaide Metro WestHouse$785,0005.6km
SASemaphore ParkAdelaide Metro WestHouse$727,50013.3km
SABowdenAdelaide Metro WestHouse$685,2003.4km

Source: Domain House Price Report, Dec 2022.

Rhys Digance of Belle Property Glenelg says the mix of property types in Glenelg North and East is what’s keeping prices down for the moment.

“You can buy a property on the esplanade for $4.5 million to $5 million, or you can go into the back streets and still pick up a reasonable courtyard home for high $600,000s and $700,000s,” he says. “You can still buy a one-bed unit west side for $280,000.

“Both Glenelg North and East still have post-war service homes that have older residents and we’re already seeing that demographic shift, where people are knocking over post-war homes and putting up $1 million new builds, When they sell you’ll see the sale prices jump. We’re in the middle of that change right now.”

“If you’re a family and want a family home on a full-sized block of 650 square metres-plus, with a couple of living areas,  you’re not going to get in for under $1 million. If you’re a younger couple happy to take on a renovation project or smaller land, then those opportunities are there.”

Canberra

House prices in Canberra soared to record heights during the recent property boom, and although prices have fallen by 6.7 per cent since their peak, the national capital’s median is still nearly $1.1 million.

The suburb of Coombs, located in the million-dollar Molonglo region, is popular with families for its new housing, cute cafes and and the nearby Molonglo River Reserve, yet it’s median house price still sits well below $1 million, at $860,500.

CANBERRA

StateSuburbRegionPropertyMedianDistance to CBD
ACTCoombsWeston CreekHouse$860,5008.8km
ACTO’ConnorCanberra CentralUnit$612,5003km
ACTNarrabundahCanberra CentralUnit$587,0006.3km
ACTWatsonCanberra CentralUnit$550,0005.8km

Source: Domain House Price Report, Dec 2022.

Units in suburbs such as O’Connor, Narrabundah and Watson are all good options for buyers wanting to stay well below the $1 million threshold but still get a foothold in popular, well-located postcodes. Unit prices in all of these suburbs are at least half what it costs to buy a house there.

Article source: Queensland Property Investor