39 affordable locations – Simon Pressley

So many people believe it’s just unaffordable to buy property in Australia.   Well Simon Pressley from Propertyology has just released a report detailing 39 locations around Australia where the median house price is below $400,000. Surely, that is affordable.
Kevin:  So many people tell me that it’s just unaffordable to buy property in Australia. Well, I’m going to put something to you now that’s the result of some research that was done by Propertyology, and joining me to talk about it is Simon Pressley from Propertyology.
Simon, let’s talk about this, because we’re talking here about 39 locations from around Australia where the median house price is below $400,000. Surely, that is affordable.
Simon:  If you can’t afford that, I don’t think you’re in a position to be buying property; you just need to get back to saving. But that’s a lot of choices, isn’t it?
Kevin:  It certainly is. There’s a great report that I’ll tell you about that you can get access to on the Propertyology website, and we’re going to tell you about the areas and the states where you’ll find these. But just before we do, Simon, can I ask you, what was the criteria you used to identify these?
Simon:  What we did is, I guess, motivated by Sydney and Melbourne now having several consecutive months of price declines, and that’s being reported as if property markets are struggling nationally. They’re not. So, we came up with a list of 39 locations with a median house price of $400,000 or less, so it ticks the affordability box.
They all have diverse economies, so we’re not talking one industry, local beach chalets, or mining towns, or anything like that. They all have essential infrastructure. They all have good quality lifestyles, whether it’s sea change, tree change, all sorts of lifestyle features. They all have increasing demand for housing – this is the kicker, increasing demand – for housing because of very much improving economic conditions.
The time to buy, to invest in a market, is before the growth cycle starts.
Kevin:  Absolutely. One of the points you mentioned there, one of those criteria, lifestyle is something that I think we tend to overlook. With an aging population, the ability to go and live in a very affordable area with a great lifestyle is something that I think a lot of people who live in the city tend to overlook.
Simon:  Absolutely, they do. Perhaps a lot of the capital city folks have never lived anywhere other than the capital city. And this is Australia’s fault for not doing more to promote regional Australia.
The facts are that one in three Australians choose not to live in a capital city. Propertyology gets out to these regional markets every year all throughout the year, and it’s common that they say to us that the capital city folks are the ones who are the strange ones – living in expensive cities, long commutes to work, lots of stress. And when you go to these places, you understand what they’re saying; they do have a really good quality lifestyle.
Kevin:  Another point, too, is renovation. Some folks wouldn’t think twice about spending $400,000 on a renovation, and that can actually buy you a property in one of these locations.
Simon:  Yes, that’s right. Especially those in Sydney or Melbourne where trade labor is expensive and properties are expensive. They’ll build a new kitchen and add a bathroom or a bedroom for a growing family and before they know it, they’ve spent $400,000. In large parts of regional Australia, for that $400,000, you’ve got a quarter-acre block in a beautiful, quiet neighborhood and a really good quality three- or four-bedroom house.
Kevin:  Let’s have a look around the country. Was it in all states? Did you find them in every state of Australia?
Simon:  We did. 39 locations, at least one in every state. The Northern Territory only has the one but it’s still featured, that being Katherine. But it was quite widespread. Queensland and New South Wales both had nine locations, South Australia had five, Tasmania had four, Western Australia had three, and Victoria had eight. So, plenty of choices right throughout the country.
Kevin:  Can you name some of them for us?
Simon:  I’d love to. In no particular order, Western Australia has places like Albany, a strong port city with a great seaside location in the southern part of the state. Also Busselton, and in the Midwest, Geraldton.
In Victoria, places like Ararat that have already performed reasonably well. There are property markets like that. Ballarat is also a strong market, a real one to watch in the next few years, and Bendigo. Both Bendigo and Ballarat have populations of around 100,000, so they’re really strong regional cities.
Where else have we got? South Gippsland has a strong agriculture sector, and agriculture features a lot in our list of 39. It is officially Australia’s most improved industry over the last 12 or 18 months, and we expect that to stay strong for quite some time. Wodonga as well is in Victoria.
Queensland, in no particular order, we have places like Ipswich, Logan, and Moreton Bay on the outskirts of metropolitan Brisbane, but up and down the coast, we have places like Mackay, Rockhampton, Townsville. We’ve spoken a lot about Cairns in the show already; really exciting outlook for the Cairns’ economy. And let’s not forget Toowoomba as well in Queensland.
New South Wales is expensive. Regional cities like Newcastle and Wollongong are still among Australia’s top six most expensive cities, but you get further up and down the coast and then especially inland and you have lots of places, like Tamworth. Armidale, officially Australia’s highest regional city and a strong agriculture and university precinct. You also have Dubbo, which has had several years of really strong economic performance. Griffith, another really strong agricultural precinct.
South Australia: most of South Australia’s population lives in Adelaide, but we suspect that Port Augusta is going to perform quite strongly over the next few years. Port Lincoln has some potential as well.
Let’s not forget Tasmania and its strong economy. Burnie, Devonport, and Launceston all have a healthy outlook, and a typical property is between $250,000 and $350,000.
Kevin:  Just talking about Tasmania for a moment, too, I will mention again that you were the first person to identify Hobart and its potential, and that was quite some years ago.
I think there’s a lot of really good information behind this report, and you can see all of those areas and the evidence behind that in the report on the website at Propertyology.com.au.
I want to thank you very much for spending some time with us again and for letting us know about this report and these areas. Very interesting. Thanks for your time.
Simon:  Thanks, Kevin. We’ll be talking soon. I have some great jobs data to share with you next time we have a chat.
Kevin:  Okay. I look forward to that. Thank you. Simon Pressley from Propertyology. Thanks, mate.
Simon:  Talk then.

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