John McGrath - Suburbs Flying Under The Radar
While property values are going up at an extraordinary pace in many city and regional locations around the country, there are always suburbs flying under the radar for a variety of reasons.
This week, we look at some of these areas, as identified by the professional valuers at one of Australia’s largest independent valuation firms, Herron Todd White (HTW). We’ll also give you the latest price data from CoreLogic and explain why growth in these areas lag the broader market.
Often times, below radar suburbs are actually beautiful places to live, but you might have to get in the car to get to major shops and schools; or use multiple forms of public transport to get into the city.
Some are shrugging off old reputations or gentrifying from an industrial past. Others are just so tiny that they are overlooked. They’re the ‘surrounding suburbs’ that come up when you search online.
Let’s take a look.
In Sydney, HTW valuers identify Chippendale, Mortlake, Eastlakes, Sutherland, West Pymble, Elanora Heights and Menangle Park as flying under the radar. Regionally, they nominate Lawson in the Blue Mountains, Highfields in Newcastle, and Erowal Bay in the Shoalhaven.
Let’s zero in on West Pymble.
It’s a beautiful leafy area on Sydney’s Upper North Shore but isn’t on the train line and is a car ride from the region’s best schools (a key reason families move here) and the Pacific Highway’s shops, cafes and amenities. But there’s a trade-off for this inconvenience.
With a median house price of $1,886,500, you’ll pay about $750,000 less for a typical home in West Pymble compared to its better-positioned neighbour, Pymble, which does have a train station, sits on the highway and is also home to Pymble Ladies College.
In Melbourne, HTW valuers say Kensington, Brunswick West, Parkville, Abbotsford, Mickleham, Forest Hill, Pascoe Vale and Tootgarook on the Mornington Peninsula are flying under the radar. Regionally, they pick Elmore and Goornong in Bendigo, as well as the Macedon Ranges.
Let’s drill down on Pascoe Vale.
It’s five or 10 minutes north of Essendon and Strathmore but there’s a significant gap in their median house prices of $950,0000, $1,600,000 and $1,400,000 respectively.
There are a few reasons for this. It has a bridesmaid suburb reputation (for now) and also falls just short of the catchment areas for Essendon’s most popular schools. The housing stock is typically older and requires renovation. But for city workers, there’s not much difference as all three suburbs are 10-12km from the CBD.
In Brisbane, HTW valuers say there’s a dearth of hidden gems but definitely a few pockets of value, such as Taringa, Geebung and Shailer Park. Regionally, their below radar picks are the Gold Coast hinterland town of Murwillumbah and the northern corridor suburb, Coombabah. In the far north of the state, HTW valuers say there’s good buying in South Townsville and in Wandal in Rockhampton.
Let’s take a look at Taringa.
It’s about 8km west of Brisbane and sits between the higher profile areas of Toowong and Indooroopilly. It’s a quiet, leafy suburb and convenient to great schools, public transport, parks, Indooroopilly Shopping Centre, cafes and restaurants and the University of Queensland in St Lucia.
There’s a young neighbourhood vibe with 37% of residents either singles or couples under 35, according to realestate.com.au. This could be because of its relative affordability, with apartments costing a median $415,000 compared to $480,000 in Indooroopilly and $445,000 in Toowong.
In Canberra, HTW valuers describe Bruce, Page, Scullin, Latham and North Lyneham as hidden gems offering good value in a city where 12 new suburb records have been set in recent times.
Page is a 10-15 minute walk to Belconnen Westfield, commercial offices, restaurants and Lake Ginninderra.
With a median house price of $701,000, it offers better value than nearby Hawkner ($937,500) and Macquarie ($782,500) but is actually closer to Belconnen town centre. It has some large blocks suitable for redevelopment, too.
Buyers should always cast a wide net at the start of their search. Sure, you’ll have favourite suburbs in mind from the start but if your budget is tight, then look at surrounding suburbs and also consider other areas of your city that offer a similar lifestyle but better value for money.
The views expressed in this article are an opinion only and readers should rely on their independent advice in relation to such matters.
This article originally appeared in The Real Estate Conversation (July 5, 2021)
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