John McGrath: The market will reward the ‘brave’ who buy now

The network CEO has aired some lessons he learned out of the global financial crisis (GFC), not only advising buyers to act but pinpointing some markets that might reward investments.

Introducing the brand’s 2024 property report, dubbed Prepare for Take-off, Mr McGrath spoke in terms that framed the Australian property market as both volatile and yet filled with potential.

He acknowledged the challenges facing buyers, noting: “The recent rate hiking cycle was the fastest on record, so adjusting to this new reality of 5 per cent or 6 per cent home loans is tough.”

But he opined that those who are able to navigate this volatile economic period would see their home’s value start to rise, “probably sooner than you think”.

The exec looked to the market conditions that framed 2008’s GFC to provide insight into why he’s recommending buyers bite the bullet and invest now.

“All of this global uncertainty reminds me a lot of the immediate period after the GFC. Most people had a very dark outlook on the world economy back then. But I was advising clients to buy property as soon as they could, and those who did were rewarded in less than 12 months,” Mr McGrath said.

“It’s time to be that brave again, in preparation for the next major market upswing. You probably don’t see it coming now, but I know after 40 years in this business that it’s just over the horizon.”

Commenting that some fence-sitting investors might be tempted by the no-risk return of 4 per cent to 5 per cent interest-earning savings accounts, which are higher than many rental yields at this point in time, McGrath urged possible buyers to play the long game.

“This is a short-sighted approach to long-term wealth accumulation. Capital growth is the superior consideration for investors wanting a financially secure retirement in 10, 20 or 30 years’ time,” he said.

“In my view, property investment remains the most reliable path to wealth creation and a comfortable retirement in Australia today,” Mr McGrath affirmed.

Not only recommending that those who can buy, do, Mr McGrath shared 20 suburbs that he believes will provide great value for those who get in on the market.



Gordon: “Buyers will find better value in Gordon than Killara, whilst still in the school catchment. Gordon has a large professional community and its own shopping village and train station, enabling an easy 30-minute commute to the CBD.”

Glenorie: “A family-dominated suburb with virtually no apartments, the median house price has almost doubled since 2020.”

Curl Curl: “Houses here command a premium, with the median price now on par with Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach today.”

Fairfield: “A major transport hub for the region, it connects to several motorways and has a large train station serviced by two railway lines with a direct commute to Parramatta and the far west, and the CBD.”

Chifley: “An ideal area for people who love the great outdoors without the premium price tag.”


Flemington: “With gentrified North Melbourne and Kensington on its doorstep, Flemington offers a similar level of inner-city convenience at a much more attractive price point.”

Point Cook: “With a median house price of $760,000, it remains below Melbourne’s median and below that of neighbouring Werribee South.”

Spotswood: “Whilst inner west hotspots like Seddon and Yarraville get all the headlines, Spotswood has often flown under the radar, despite a solid track record of price growth.”

Elsternwick: Just 9 kilometres south-east of Melbourne’s CBD, Elsternwick boasts excellent proximity to the city as well as nearby beaches.”


Hamilton: “The upmarket suburb, on the north side of the Brisbane River, is already an appealing place to live, with Queenslander-style homes, waterfront parks and buzzing Eat Street Northshore markets.”

Albion: “Just 5 kilometres north of the CBD, it’s an easy 15-minute bus ride to the office.”

Clontarf: “With sprawling beaches, waterfront parks and plenty of playgrounds, families love this suburb on the southern end of the Redcliffe Peninsula.”


Acton Park: “Offering a semi-rural mix of tranquillity and urban convenience, just 15 minutes from Hobart and barely five minutes from the airport, Acton Park is ideal for families and those who seek plenty of space and a connection to nature on picturesque acreages.”

Moonah: “An up-and-coming suburb where you can still find houses for less than $650,000, Moonah is just 5 kilometres north of Hobart’s city centre.”


Mansfield, Regional Victoria: “Price growth has not yet reached the heights of high country lifestyle locations like Bright, while its proximity to Mt Buller ski resort means it’s the ideal launching point for winter sports fans.”

Southport, Gold Coast, Queensland: “Offering a similar lifestyle to places such as Broadbeach, Burleigh Heads and Palm Beach at a more affordable price point, the plethora of high rises here makes it an attractive option for those who like to live close to the action.”

Coolum Beach, Sunshine Coast, Queensland: “Exciting developments like the Kelly Slater-backed Surf Ranch are putting this relaxed beachside suburb firmly on the radar.”

Riverside, Launceston, Tasmania: “On the banks of the Tamar River about 4 kilometres from the CBD, Riverside residents can be in town in minutes, or off tasting some of the best wines in the country in less than an hour.”

East Launceston, Launceston, Tasmania: “As the city’s most prestigious suburb, its median house price of $915,000 is affordable compared with equivalent suburbs in Hobart or on the mainland.”

East Devonport, Regional Tasmania: “It’s still possible to buy a house here for less than $400,000, and the prices of homes with views of the river and beach are a drop in the ocean compared to waterside suburbs in mainland cities.”

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