Table of contents
Guess what the median Australian house price was in 1976? - featured image

Guess what the median Australian house price was in 1976?

We all have one of these stories.

I’m referring, of course, to the ‘one that got away' in the property market.

If we haven’t personally looked back on a property that, in retrospect, we could have bought for next to nix, then we know someone who does.

This was the case with a Sydney investor I met recently, who lamented the fact that his grandma sold her prime piece of real estate for a song in 1985.

The family was given the opportunity to buy the apartment, perched on Sydney’s harbour – quite literally on the waterfront, overlooking the Harbour Bridge and Opera House – for around $180,000, but no one was interested.

So some lucky buyer picked up the two-bedroom apartment, which would currently be worth well over $2.5 million.

In these situations, investors can often become annoyed or frustrated over their ‘lost opportunities’, but not much can be gained from that mindset.

After all, it’s not exactly news that property prices increase significantly over time.

Most people are fairly clued up to the fact that the price and value of real estate generally grow as each decade ticks over.

pencil icon

Note: That’s why it’s often said that time in the market, rather than timing the market, is the safest way to invest in property.

That’s one of the reasons I’ve always encouraged young home buyers and investors to get into the property market because I believe that the earlier you start, the better off you’ll be in the long run as compounding (of property price growth) and time work their magic.

The proof of this philosophy is pretty much in the pudding, as property values have grown exponentially over the years.

Let’s assume that you bought your first home or investment property just over 40 years ago, in 1976.

Median house prices in Australia 1976

Across Australia’s capital cities in 1976, median house prices looked like this:

  • Sydney – $36,800
  • Canberra – $35,100
  • Melbourne – $32,900
  • Adelaide – $29,800
  • Hobart – $31,575
  • Perth – $33,000
  • Brisbane – $26,275

There are a few interesting things that come out of these figures:

  • How cheap property prices seem when you look back today (not that they seemed inexpensive at the time)
  • Brisbane was the cheapest capital city then, well behind Hobart and Adelaide.
bulb icon

Tips: It’s important to keep things in perspective, though.

The average wage in the mid-1970s was around $6,000, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, so the median Sydney house price was almost six times the value of the average annual income.

Forty years on, both wages and house prices are considered higher, although they haven’t grown at a consistent pace.

Sydney’s median is now 27 times higher than it was in 1975; if wages had matched that pace, the average wage would now be $162,000.

Of course two of the big reasons behind this are:

  1. There are more 2 income families (both partners working) today than there were 40 years ago increasing disposable household income.
  2. Interest rates are at historic lows substantially increasing affordability. The standard variable interest rate in 1976 was 9.88%, meaning you needed to pay up to three times as much interest to service the same dollar value of the loan.

Median house prices today

According to CoreLogic, median capital city property values in October 2023 were as follows:

  • Sydney - $1,110,660
  • Melbourne - $766,716
  • Brisbane - $761,739
  • Adelaide - $691,591
  • Perth - $618,363
  • Hobart - $658,994
  • Darwin - $493,362
  • Canberra - $836,327

And this is a great time to enter the property market.

Sure our property markets have been strong despite all the challenges thrown at them.

And yes, property prices seem expensive in some locations. But knowing what you know now, who wouldn’t have liked to buy their parent’s house for what your parents paid years ago?

Wouldn’t it be great to have a crystal ball and take a peek into property markets of the future and see where real estate prices will be in another 40 years?

In its absence, I think it’s a pretty safe bet to assume that in the long term, property values will continue to grow, underpinned by our growing population and the general wealth of our nation.

bulb icon

Tips: It’s important to keep this in mind when you’re negotiating your next property deal, as squabbling over $5,000, $10,000 or even $20,000 in today’s dollars is unlikely to have a huge impact on your eventual wealth.

An opportunity like the present - a once-in-a-generation property boom - doesn't come around too often in your life.

So should you buy a property?

That doesn't mean you should buy any old property.

Just like over the last 40 years, in the next 40 years, some properties are going to outperform others - that is why you need to buy "investment grade properties."

And remember the location of your property is going to do around 80% of the heavy lifting with regards to its capital growth - so choose your location wisely.

When you invest there are 3 main variables:

  1. Your budget - and that's generally determined by the banks
  2. Location - as I said, don't compromise on this
  3. The property you purchase in that location - as I said, is an investment-grade property.

But to ensure you buy the right property let's look at property market trends I see moving forward...

READ MORE: Property trends we can expect in the nearest future

About Michael is a director of Metropole Property Strategists who help their clients grow, protect and pass on their wealth through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. He's once again been voted Australia's leading property investment adviser and one of Australia's 50 most influential Thought Leaders. His opinions are regularly featured in the media.
1 comment

I purchased a home in Lismore N.S.W. in the mid 70's for $ 7,500 kept it 3 years and sold it for $ 14,500. The buyer kept the home for 2 years and sold it for $ 28,000. That is a doubling of price twice in 5 years. The home would be worth $ 250,0 ...Read full version

0 replies


Copyright © 2023 Michael Yardney’s Property Investment Update Important Information
Content Marketing by GridConcepts