Real Estate

how melbourneaes property market has changed in 20 years

Written by The ReReport

It was much easier to enter the Melbourne property market 20 years ago. Picture: Eugene Hyland

MELBOURNE’s property market has seen growth beyond all expectations in the past 20 years.
And it’s left families forking out six times what they did in 1996 for a house and coping with mortgage payments $600 more expensive each month.
Prices in some suburbs have soared up to 11 times their original value — Ashburton topping the list with a median house price of $160,000 in 1996 up to $1.84 million today.
Even the affordable suburb of Braybrook has risen more than ten times its original value, from $70,500 to $751,000.

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West Footscray 20-year price boonPeter and Bernice Rodgerson have lived in Footscray for about 20 years and watched as the suburb has changed and improved around them. Picture: Tony Gough

West Footscray 20-year price boonThe price of their home will be the biggest shift, with the suburb among Melbourne’s top 10 biggest growth suburbs across the past 20 years. Picture: Tony Gough

CoreLogic Australian head of real estate Geoff White said it would have been impossible to predict the growth we have seen.
“Even if you’d taken a stab in the dark, you wouldn’t have said 900 or 1000 per cent,” Mr White said.
“All of the suburbs have seen growth, and most of them more than 500 per cent.”
Citywide Melbourne’s median house value has grown almost six times from $129,000 in 1996, to $742,000 in latest figures, according to CoreLogic.
Economist Saul Eslake said the past 20 years had gotten progressively tougher for homebuyers.
“The homeownership rate is lower than at any Census since 1947,” Mr Eslake said.
Social changes over the past two decades had potentially encouraged more people to consider smaller residences — townhouses or units — and more families to have two working parents, Mr Eslake said.

But rising prices had forced the issue in many instances.
“The impact of lower interest rates on people’s capacity to service a mortgage has been in most cases more than offset by slower growth in wages and the growth in property prices,” Mr Eslake said.
Homebuyers today, particularly younger ones, were probably worse off than those in 1996, Mr White said.
“If you looked at the incomes of people now they’d be quite a bit more, so you’d say people are better off,” he said.
“But buying into the market now, particularly if you are starting out, is incredibly hard.”

West Footscray 20-year price boonPeter and Bernice Rodgerson enjoy a laugh at home. Picture: Tony Gough

And despite expectations of fairly flat growth conditions for the next five years, a similar growth in the city’s property prices could be on the cards again in the next 20 years.
“In 20 years time we will probably say ‘a $1.8 million median? Wasn’t that cheap!’,” Mr White said.
“The great Australian dream has changed. It’s still buying real estate, it just isn’t the same real estate.”
Peter and Bernice Rodgerson had a different perspective with plans to sell their 16 Waratah St, West Footscray home set to brighten their retirement.
“It means we can sell that house and take a fair chunk of the funds to put into our super — so it’s secured our future,” Mr Rodgerson said.
“It’s the saving grace for our retirement.”
The home is for sale with Biggin & Scott Yarraville’s Tristan Tomasino.


Suburb — median price today — median price 1996 — % increase

Ashburton — $1,840,000 — $160,000 — 1050%
Braybrook — $751,000 — $70,500 — 965.2%
Box Hill — $1,650,250 — $157,000 — 951.1%
Highett — $1,331,000 — $129,000 — 931.8%
Clayton — $1,100,000 — 110,000 — 900%
Ashwood — $1,345,000 — $136,486 — 885.4%
Burwood — $1,370,667 — $140,000 — 879%
Heidelberg West — $730,000 — $75,000 — 873.3%
West Footscray — $897,500 — $92,500 — 870.3%
Box Hill South — $1,337,500 — $138,050 — 868.9%

*Source: CoreLogic


Housing type — 1996 — 2016

Houses — 914,953 — 1,067,637
Townhouses/Semi-detached — 97,988 — 264,409
Units/Apartments — 183,249 — 231,297

*Homes occupied on Census night

*Source: Census, Greater Melbourne


Average Victorian monthly mortgage payment 1996 — 2016

$1382* — $1902

*Figure corrected for inflation

*Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics

Standard Variable interest rate

1996 — 2016

9.25 per cent — 5.3 per cent

*Source: Reserve Bank of Australia


Population1996 — 2016

3,138,147 — 4,485,211
Demographic centre of Melbourne
33 Britten St, Glen Iris
1526 Malvern Rd, Glen Iris

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