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Sydney may not be the big bad wolf of property

By Orana Durney-Benson
27 November 2023 | 10 minute read
Sydney skyline aerial shot reb f32nwx

Expensive, crowded and brutally competitive, right? According to new research, Sydney’s housing market may not be as hostile as it’s painted to be.

A first home buyer walks into a bar, sees a pint going for $20, and quickly walks out again. Sydney is the punchline for many young first home buyers’ jokes, but according to new data, the harbour city’s bad rap may not be warranted.

PRD Real Estate recently revealed its Affordable and Liveable Property Guides for the second half of 2023, showing Sydney and Melbourne are the two friendliest housing markets for buyers looking to purchase their first property.

Sydney is home to the highest percentage of suburbs whose median property value declined in the last few months, even if its median house prices are still steep.

“So for those who are ready to purchase, now is the time to strike,” said Dr Diaswati “Asti Mardiasmo, chief economist at PRD.

In contrast, Brisbane and the Gold Coast record the lowest number of suburbs whose median price points have declined since 2022.

Detached houses that match all the liveability criteria while still remaining budget-friendly are particularly hard to come through in Brisbane and the Gold Coast, leading Dr Mardiasmo to advise Queensland metropolitan buyers to “go tall and not go sprawl”.

According to Dr Mardiasmo, the hardest markets to find a suburb that is both affordable and liveable are Perth and Hobart. Melbourne, Adelaide and Hobart are the easiest markets for that magic combination of affordability and liveability due to “built-in liveability factors”.

When it comes to units, the most affordable city for liveability is Sydney due to a greater pool of suburbs with negative price growth.

“We were able to find chosen affordable and liveable suburbs that are -42 per cent lower than the NSW state average home loan,” reported Dr Mardiasmo.

Suburbs like Villawood and Westmeadows offer detached homes in the $700,000800,000 region, while North Rocks and Croydon Park have units with median prices in the low $600,000s.

When it comes to assessing liveability, PRD takes the following factors into consideration: low crime rates, amenities like schools and green spaces within a five-kilometre radius, and an unemployment rate on par or lower than the state average.

The researchers also considered development potential and investment criteria for those looking to add value in the future.

“With our economy entering a new phase of higher interest rates and lower household savings, buyers will have to really determine what is important,” Dr Mardiasmo concluded.

Sydney may not be the big bad wolf of property
Sydney skyline aerial shot reb f32nwx
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