Australia has entered a new phase of the property cycle - the recovery phase, something that doesn’t happen very often.
Markets have begun to shift and prices adjust at a time when many property owners are battling steep interest rate rises, high inflation, and low consumer sentiment.
For example, the rising cost of living and tightened lending requirements have meant many suburbs have fallen out of the exclusive $1 million list.
And then there is the ultra-exclusive property club where suburbs are suffering the same fate - the $5 million club.
It's a property club most Australians can only ever dream of joining, and even if they do, clearly there is no guarantee they'll stay there.
For example, PropTrack data shows that Sydney's idyllic Palm Beach has slipped out of the $5 million club after its median property price fell to $4.8 million, from a peak of $5.98 million in early 2022.
Woollahra in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs also fell off the list after its median house price fell to $4.5 million, from $5.42 million in mid-2022.
But it’s not all bad news, there are also new entries on the list - suburbs where median prices have tipped over into the ultra-wealthy bracket.
|1||Bellevue Hill||NSW||Eastern Suburbs||$9,000,000|
|5||Dover Heights||NSW||Eastern Suburbs||$6,400,000|
|7||Longueville||NSW||North Sydney and Hornsby||$5,725,000|
|8||Double Bay||NSW||Eastern Suburbs||$5,500,000|
|9||Rose Bay||NSW||Eastern Suburbs||$5,350,000|
|12||Mosman||NSW||North Sydney and Hornsby||$5,031,500|
Source: PropTrack, for the 12 months to September 2023
The list, dominated by Sydney suburbs, has a popular theme of every suburb sitting next to or with views over water - whether that is the beach, harbour, or the ocean.
In order to qualify in PropTrack’s list, a suburb must have recorded at least 10 property sales over the past year, meaning some tightly held suburbs - such as Australia's most expensive suburb, Point Piper - aren't included.
Sydney’s eastern suburbs take up the majority of places on the list, with the remaining suburbs located on Sydney’s northern beaches upper north shore.
Melbourne’s most exclusive suburb, Toorak, is the only location on the list outside of Sydney to achieve median property prices in excess of $5 million for the year to September 2023.
In joint-first place, unsurprisingly, are Sydney’s Bellevue Hill and Vaucluce where properties have a whopping $9 million median.
Third is Woolwich on Sydney’s Lower North Shore ($7.5 million), and then beachside Tamarama ($7,425,000) and Dover Heights ($6.4 million) in the eastern suburbs rounded out the top five.
Toorak, the only suburb outside of Sydney, made the list in 6th place with a $5.81 million median.
The other common theme among these suburbs is scarcity.
PropTrack economist Anne Flaherty said the data shows opportunities to buy in these suburbs were quite scarce.
Greater Sydney is the most expensive capital city in the country by quite a wide margin.
It's expensive to buy anywhere in Greater Sydney, so what we find is in the most desirable parts of the city - particularly in the eastern suburbs close by the water - the competition is extremely high and properties here sell well above the levels that we see anywhere else in the country.
So when we do see opportunities, buyers will bid very competitively in order to be successful at getting a property in these suburbs.
- she said.
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With more suburbs joining the exclusive $5 million-plus median ranks, Flaherty said it was a reflection of buyers willing to pay significant amounts of money in order to own their very own piece of the most exclusive and desirable areas of Australia.
We're going to continue to see more people looking for opportunities to buy in these areas.
The fact that they're tightly held, I think is quite important and is a really important piece for why they sell for such high prices.
- she said.
While these top 12 most expensive suburbs in Australia make for interesting reading, they aren’t necessarily the suburbs I would recommend investing in.
Just because they fetch the highest prices, doesn’t mean they present the best investment opportunities.
At Metropole, we always advise on the importance of investment-grade properties and locations, rather than chasing a hotspot or growth area.
That’s areas and properties which hold their value over the long term, rather than benefit from an uptick in demand.
But even before looking for the right location, make sure you have a Strategic Property Plan to steer you through the upcoming challenging times our property markets will encounter.
Aside from remembering that you should focus your efforts on investment-grade properties and locations, you also need to remember that property investing is a process, not an event.
That means that things have to be done in the right order – and selecting the location and the right property in that location comes right at the end of the process.
And that’s because what makes a great investment property for me, is not likely to be the same as what would suit your investment needs.