Looking for the cheapest suburb to buy a house in a capital city?
If you must have a house then be prepared to pay for it, with the recent housing boom having widened the gap between houses and apartments to record levels. According to Corelogic, Australian houses are now nearly 40 per cent more expensive than units, with the difference in Sydney as much as $500,000.
We must also bear in mind that ‘cheap’ is relative, and differs widely amongst the capitals. Sydney’s current median house price is around $1.4 million, while Perth’s is nearly a third of that at $521,000.
Read on to discover which suburbs to shortlist in your search for the most affordable suburbs to buy a house in every capital, with sections covering locations within a 15km radius of the city centre and further afield.
Using the word ‘cheap’ in the context of Sydney’s housing market is something of a misnomer, given that the current median house price is in excess of $1.4 million (CoreLogic, April 2022). With this in mind, we are looking at suburbs within a 15km radius of the CBD, followed by locations anywhere in the Sydney metro area. As one would expect, suburbs close to the city have relatively higher median property values.
Our top pick: Lidcombe, 2141
Multicultural Lidcombe, with a median house price very close to the city median, is our top pick for one of the cheapest suburbs to buy a house within 15km of Sydney’s CBD. Located between Sydney and Parramatta, the suburb has a lot going for it - not least that it's 14km from the city centre. It also has all the amenities you would need including a Costco, a range of shopping centres, schools and a well-connected public transport network.
You're also close to everything Sydney Olympic Park has to offer, including green space - as well as the Parramatta River. In terms of houses, there is a decent selection of older freestanding properties, some of which are ripe for a makeover. House prices in Lidcombe have recorded a compound growth rate of +8.0 per cent over the last five years.
Our top pick: Glenmore Park, 2745
According to realestate.com.au, less than 1 per cent of all dwellings in Glenmore Park are apartments, which means plenty of freestanding houses to choose from. And while the median house price here is more than the other picks on our list, it is still under the magic $1 million mark.
You've also got great lifestyle options in Glenmore Park, with the Blue Mountains on your doorstep, as well as a range of public schools, recreational facilities and shopping centres. The undoubted highlight is the large houses on generous blocks, which together with the family-friendly atmosphere and laid-back lifestyle tick a lot of boxes!
Though Melbourne property values are slightly lower than Sydney’s, they are far from ‘cheap’, with the median house price currently at $999,037. Like the NSW capital you need to move beyond the core inner-city suburbs of Melbourne, or anywhere near the water to get real value for money.
Our top pick: Chadstone, 3148
With a median price of $1,280,000, Chadstone is nearly $300k over the median city house price - but it has a lot going for it, and is cheaper than other suburbs closer to the city. At 14km from the CBD, the suburb just sneaks into our 15km radius, and being just off the M1 it is a short journey by car or tram.
With the Chadstone Shopping Centre on your doorstep, you have all you need at the largest retail complex of its kind in the country. There is also a good selection of public schools in the area, and access to parks if you need to stretch your legs. House prices in Chadstone have recorded a compound growth rate of +5.0 per cent over the last five years.
Our top pick: Lilydale, 3140
At around an hour from the city Lilydale is not an ideal location to commute from, but rather to enjoy the local lifestyle. There is plenty of green space on your doorstep, and if you do want to head to the big smoke, the Lilydale train line is super convenient. This makes the outer eastern suburbs an ideal lifestyle location for retirees as well as young families who want to raise children somewhere quieter and greener.
In terms of housing, expect a combination of historic freestanding houses, as well as spacious new estates. House prices here have recorded a compound growth rate of +6.0 per cent over the past five years, and are currently at $837,000.
With Brisbane house prices up +32 per cent over the past year, the strongest house price growth across all capital cities, the Sunshine state’s capital is definitely on a roll. With a median house value of $828,175, Brissie is closing in on Melbourne property values and making it harder to find ‘cheap’ houses.
Our top pick: Rocklea, 4106
With a median house price of $527,500, Rocklea is well under the city median, making it a comparatively affordable place to buy a house in Brisbane. At some 9 kilometres south of the city, it is also well placed for public transport (rail, bus) as well as easy access to the M7/Ipswich Motorway. It is known for being friendly, neighbourly and quiet, with good access to green space, parks and recreation facilities. This makes the suburb popular with families, as well as young professionals.
Our top pick: Acacia Ridge, 4010
Acacia Ridge is just 16 kilometres from the CBD, with easy access to a number of bus routes and two train stations. With a median house value of $570,000, this is at the high end of our other picks, but we think the area's proximity to shops, schools and childcare services make it a winner for young families or first home buyers with plans to have children.
Adelaide is one of the most affordable capital cities and cheapest cities to buy a house, with a median house price of $648,000. Property values have advanced 26.3 per cent over the past year - and continue to do so, but if you are a first home buyer your money goes much further here.
Our top pick: Marleston, 5033
Marleston, just west of Adelaide’s CBD has a median house price of $612,500, meaning it is below the citywide median. It's also within striking distance of the beach at Glenelg and is known to be peaceful and quiet - making it popular with professionals and families alike.
Our top pick: Hackham West, 5163
Hackham West is around 30km from Adelaide CBD in the southern suburbs, and has a median house price of $383,750 - well under the city median. In terms of access, you can get to the city in under 45 minutes and the McLaren Vale wine region or the beach are around 15 minutes away. Houses are on big blocks here, and the suburb also has parks as well as a decent range of local eateries, pubs and cafes.
With a median house price of $521,000, Perth is one of the cheapest cities to buy a house, with the most affordable median house prices of any major capital city. This is one factor behind the surge in internal migrants moving to WA from relatively expensive east coast locations.
Our top pick: Kewdale, 6105
Kewdale is 9km from Perth’s CBD and is known for having quiet, safe streets. With a median house price under $500,000, you get a lot for your money here, with houses set on large blocks. There is also a selection of green space close by, a large shopping centre at the Belmont Forum and the Swan River is also not too far. All this makes the suburb popular with a wide demographic, including professionals and families with children.
Our top pick: Kelmscott, 6111
Kelmscott is a suburb 25km south-east of Perth’s CBD, with lots of space on generous blocks which make it a perfect location for people with pets and kids. With a median house price of $362,500, you get a lot for your money - with 2 bedroom house prices as low as $302,000. The suburb also has good access to shops and reliable public transport.
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