A new report has highlighted the enduring resilience of real estate assets, even in the backdrop of economic uncertainty and global challenges.
In Herron Todd White’s Month in Review in June, national director for group risk and compliance Kevin Brogan posed a question to the firm’s valuers across the country: “What should I buy with $750,000?”
The results not only yielded intriguing insights but also revealed interesting comparisons across diverse locations.
“The results of spending $750,000 in markets as disparate as Sydney versus Warrnambool are interesting but also obvious.
“While buyers can secure a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home in one of those locations, the other will barely deliver a bedsit on a busy road (no prizes for guessing which is which),” Mr Brogan said.
Comparing the current results with that of its July 2020 survey also allowed HTW to see just how the market has changed over time and showcased the security delivered by a real estate investment to investors.
“In 2020, $700,000 in Western Sydney would secure a one-year-old, two-bedroom unit in Parramatta, or even a house and granny flat in St Marys, while a two-bed unit in Marrickville went for $655,000,” Mr Brogan stated.
Fast forward to 2023, and Mr Brogan noted that while a unit in Parramatta could still be purchased for $750,000, it would likely be a few years older than the 2020 purchase.
“In Marrickville, that same two-bed unit described above would be closer to $750,000, and the home in St Marys would be a small two-bed cottage in need of an upgrade,” he said.
Mr Brogan said it was a similar story that unfolded across the country.
“In Melbourne, a new house-and-land package in 2020 would have cost between $500,000 and $650,000 in Glenroy, Fawkner and Reservoir, but in 2023, you’ll be paying above $750,000 for most detached homes and even some townhouses,” he said.
During that time, having a $700,00 budget would have scored a buyer a detached two- or three-bedroom housing in Ringwood, Warrandyte, Mitcham and Doncaster.
“A look at today’s sales suggests buying in those same suburbs with a $750,000 budget will get you a new two-bed unit in an older duplex unit. A standalone house will be outside your budget,” he explained.
He said that in Brisbane, buyers would have gotten more bang for their buck in 2020.
“Very desirable suburbs such as Hendra, Wooloowin and Clayfield all had entry-level, pre- and post-war dwellings on 405 square metres in secondary positions for $700,000 back in 2020,” he said.
Fast forward to 2023, Mr Brogan said a detached home for that price is “pretty much unimaginable” in these suburbs.
“An older townhouse or unit will be your options,” he added.
In 2020, Mr Brogan explained buyers looking beyond the Brisbane central business district had the opportunity to acquire well-maintained second-hand detached homes or modern townhouses in sought-after areas such as Stafford, Gordon Park, and Kedron.
“In today’s market, your chance of getting a detached home that isn’t small, in poor condition and/or on a main road is slim for $750,000,” he stated.
Mr Brogan said despite the economic uncertainty over the past few years, residential property had proved to be a “solid asset” — whether as a home or investment.
“History shows that those who invest $750,000 today will look back in 2026 pleased with their decision,” he stated.
So what type of property will three-quarters of a million dollars buy in today’s market? Here is a closer look at each city.
In Sydney, buying options under $750,000 continue to be “incredibly limited”, according to HTW director Shaun Thomas.
“With many of the country’s most sought-after suburbs, Sydney’s inner city is not known for its affordable properties; however, some properties at $750,000 or under do exist,” Mr Thomas said.
In inner Sydney, the local valuer observed these are commonly studio or one-bedroom apartments within the CBD or city fringe locations and make popular investment choices for individuals looking to reap strong rental returns.
But Mr Thomas highlighted South-West Sydney as one of the limited regions within the Sydney basin where the Australian dream of owning a family home remains attainable.
“Traditionally thought of as secondary locations, there are still plenty of opportunities available within the Campbelltown LGA in Airds, Eagle Vale, Claymore, Kearns, Blairmount, Ambarvale, Campbelltown and Bradbury; however, bracket creep means these opportunities are becoming much rarer,” he stated.
With metropolitan Melbourne’s average house price reaching $956,000 in the March quarter, a budget of $750,000 is now inadequate to obtain a family home, even in the once-affordable outer suburbs, according to HTW director Perron King.
“Many buyers are seeking units and apartments, which currently have a median of $611,000, as an alternative way to buy in their desired location without the premium price tag,” Mr King said.
But it’s not a completely dead-end search, with the local valuer noting in areas like the south-east and Peninsula regions, buyers have several options to purchase properties within the $750,000 price range.
He explained that as buyers venture further towards the outer south-east, in suburbs such as Cranbourne, Berwick and Clyde, there is a bigger opportunity to acquire a family home within the set budget.
He said in the western suburbs, buyers can still purchase a four-bedroom home in a location like Werribee for under $750,000.
“Werribee is a perfect example of a small city in the outer suburbs. In 2022, Werribee recorded a population of just over 53,000, an increase of more than 3,000 people from 2021,” he stated.
According to HTW director David Notley, having a budget of $750,000 in Brisbane presents a favourable price point, considering the median house price slightly exceeds $700,000.
“The Brisbane market rode the highs of 2021 and the lows of 2022 … and remains the most attractive of the three east-coast capitals when it comes to price.
He noted relative affordability is a primary driver for attracting interstate migrants to the “little piece of Aussie paradise”.
In the inner city, Mr Notely said the land component on most blocks would be around $700,000. However, there are still opportunities to buy in New Farm, Teneriffe or Newstead.
In the middle ring, buyers are advised to scout properties in Rocklea, Bridgeman Downs, McDowall or Albany Creek.
Having a $750,000 budget could buy the astute purchaser the perfect owner-occupier abode or investment property in Adelaide, according to HTW property valuer Nick Smerdon.
He noted higher density stock such as strata units, mid-to-late-century townhouses, and infill development were most prevalent at this price point in the inner ring.
“In the middle ring, traditional detached dwellings and modern infill development become available at the $750,000 price point,” Mr Smerdon said.
However, he noted strong price growth in the city continues to put a squeeze on the $750,000 price point.
“Purchasers should remain confident entering the market at this level as the median house price nears parity,” he advised.
HTW director Chris Hinchliffe said the median house price in most areas of Western Australia is well below $750,000, and it gives the purchaser a range of options on how to outlay their hard-earned money.
He said it’s still possible to find a property under that price in places like North Perth, Como, East Perth or even Kalamunda.
HTW valuer Peter Nichols said Darwin remains one of the most affordable capital city markets to enter.
“Parap is a highly sought-after location with schools, boutique shopping and its close proximity to the beach and the city attracting young and old professionals,” Mr Nichols said.
“If you’re looking for a residential unit or townhouse, the suburb of Rapid Creek, with its picturesque surroundings and vibrant community, will provide several excellent options and a great product with a budget of $750,000 or even well under.
“Investors are particularly drawn to the Rapid Creek area due to its high rental demand and potential for capital growth.”
In the nation’s capital, HTW said prospective buyers with a budget of $750,000 have seen their range of options dwindle in recent years.
However, with softening market conditions being felt across the ACT and the country, several options have become available to first home buyers and entry-level investors.
The report noted the best suburbs in Canberra might not be the most affordable suburbs, naming Charnwood, Macgregor, Ngunnawal and Richardson as some options to consider.
HTW valuer Stephen Liu said $750,000 this time in 2022 would not have given buyers much choice and would have needed to have all their ducks lined up before putting an offer forward to the real estate agent.
“Fast forward 12 months, and we are now in a buyer’s market where properties are sitting on the market for twice as long as last year, and vendors now have to meet the demands of purchasers,” Mr Liu said.
He said viable options for buyers include properties in Claremont, Berridale, Bridgewater, Glenorchy and Brighton.