Brisbane is Australia’s top hotspot for first home buyers, with almost half of all suburbs offering hopefuls a step up the ladder for under $500,000.
That is according to the latest Brisbane Affordable and Liveable Property Guide (1st Half 2019) by PRDnationwide Research, which found that 42.4 per cent of suburbs in the river city — a new record high — now offered first home buyers the chance to buy under the magic $500,000.
“The Brisbane property market is currently at its prime for first home buyers,” the report found.
“This is extremely encouraging news for Brisbane first home buyers, as it signals a flip in the market from being a $500,000 to $800,000 market to an under $500,000 market.”
Other capital cities failed to offer such good value for first home buyers keen to achieve the great Australian dream of home ownership, with all of the “affordable and liveable” suburbs in Sydney recording negative price growth, a sign of continued market cooling, and every Hobart suburb failing to satisfy the “liveability criteria”.
In order to qualify, the suburbs considered by PRD must be with 20km of the CBD (in Hobart, under 10km) and meet certain criteria surrounding property trends/price growth, investment, affordability, project development, liveability, with Brisbane coming out on top
A greater percentage of housing stock in Brisbane is now within reach of first home buyers, with the number of properties falling within the $0 to $500,000 bracket rising from 10.6 per cent in the first half of 2018 to 42.4 per cent in the same period for 2019.
The number of properties with that same price bracket also increased in Sydney and Melbourne, up to 0.5 per cent and 4 per cent respectively, but fell in Hobart, from 26.1 per cent to 10.2 per cent.
PRDnationwide national research manager Dr Asti Mardiasmo said that when it came to first home buyers, Brisbane was the prime spot in Australia.
“The number of suburbs under $500,000 has jumped to 42 per cent which is gold for first home buyers because it means they have more choice and can broaden their horizons,” she said.
“In our last report (PRDnationwide Affordable and Liveable Property Guides 2nd Half 2018) only 12.4 per cent of suburbs came in under $500,000 and were both affordable and liveable.”
Dr Mardiasmo said that while the increase in the number of affordable suburbs might cause concern for some owner occupiers and investors, it was good news for the city as a whole.
She said Brisbane had always been a more stable market than Sydney and Melbourne, and inner city suburbs were likely “safe” in terms of value.
“In the last report, all of the affordable and liveable suburbs were concentrated on the northside whereas this time we were able to find suburbs in all corners of the city,” she said.
“This is a good thing because you don’t want to see, say, first home buyers, young professionals and young families, all concentrated in one pocket.
“It is important for as many suburbs as possible to be accessible so that they are refreshed by the next generation … you want people to be able to, as much as possible, live, work and play within the same general area.”
So where should first home buyers be looking? According to the report, the Brisbane suburbs of Nudgee, Everton Park and Doolandella are among the most affordable and liveable for houses.
House prices in these suburbs range from $490,000 (Doolandella) to $627,000 (Nudgee), and have good rental yields and millions of dollars of projects in the pipeline.
For units, buyers should be looking at Parkinson, Herston and Wynnum West.
But it is a double edged sword, with home loan affordability continuing to decline in Brisbane, according to the report.
“The proportion of income to meet home loan repayments increased to 28.1 per cent over the past 12 months to December 2018 quarter, and first homebuyer loan activity decreased by 5.7 per cent,” the report said.
“These figures suggest that Queensland housing affordability has further declined, as over the past 12 months to December 2017 quarter the number of first home buyers increased by 13.4 per cent.”
Dr Mardiasmo said there were many affordable suburbs but not all of them met every element of their liveability criteria, so it was important for developers and planners to take a “whole of city” approach to infrastructure in order to address issues like transport, community amenities and so on.
“That could be as simple as planning and building a train line, putting in amenities to encourage community connectivity, improving roads,” Dr Mardiasmo said.