A million-dollar home once meant a luxury design with a backyard in a great postcode.
But as Greater Sydney’s median property price rises to almost $1.5 million, it’s increasingly rare to find a large home in a suburb of your dreams on a budget of less than seven figures.
But even with soaring prices, it’s still possible to snap-up a fabulous home below the million-dollar mark.
Prices sky high
The number of Sydney suburbs joining the million-dollar-postcode club for the first time has skyrocketed in 2021.
- Use the interactive below to see how property valuations have changed in your suburb
Suburbs had to have at least 30 high-confidence valuations in both March 2020 and March 2021 to be included in the analysis.
The high price tags are primarily driven by years of record-low interest rates that have let people take out bigger loans, says Anne Flaherty, economist at realestate.com.au.
But more recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has been shifting people’s lifestyle choices and fuelling price increases for certain types of property.
“We’ve seen a real shift in where people want to live,” Flaherty says.
“Now that people are working remotely, proximity to their offices is not as much of an issue.
“This means they are moving from inner-city locations to nicer outer suburbs that were once considered affordable — but that’s driving up prices.”
Flaherty says there’s also evidence of some households squirrelling away savings at a higher rate since the 2020 lockdowns began, which is also helping them acquire larger loans.
Where to look
Rising property prices are always a concern for buyers, but there are still opportunities to buy into a million-dollar suburb on a six-figure budget, according to Flaherty.
“The median refers to the middle value of the residential market,” she says.
“So, if the suburb median is close to that million-dollar mark, then there are going to be some properties that are slightly under — or a lot under — that amount.”
Flaherty says buyers may be able to find a bargain if they adjust their expectations for what type of house they can afford or look in up-and-coming suburbs further out of town.
Here are some options when it comes to purchasing below the million-dollar mark.
To the west, with a median price of $1.28 million, is Parramatta.
Its proportion of million-dollar properties sits at 88.7% — up from 83.2% in 2020.
Here the housing is more varied and it’s likely buyers on a modest budget may need to set their sights on something smaller.
Currently, a four-bedroom townhouse at 4/12 Pemberton Street is on the market with a price guide of $920,000 to $980,000.
Twenty minutes north of the city, $1 million will no longer secure a house, but there’s plenty of apartments to choose from.
More than 44% of the unit market is valued below a million.
Recently a conveniently located two-bedroom unit was snapped up for $730,000 at 4/832 Pacific Highway.
It’s a similar story in character-filled Eastwood.
House prices have soared, but a two-bedroom unit within walking distance of the train station at 21 Glen Street is advertised with a price guide of $850,000 to $900,000.
Located 43 kilometres north-west of Sydney’s CBD, Rouse Hill offers great lifestyle perks, access to employment, transport connections and larger homes.
It joined the million-dollar club earlier this year, with the median house price hitting $1.15 million in July — up 25% year-on-year.
However, realestate.com.au shows 11.9% of houses are still valued below a million dollars, leaving the door open for buyers on a six-figure budget.
A dream opportunity
Buyers looking for a large family home priced under $1 million will want to check out Park Avenue in Rouse Hill.
The Park Avenue development by local developer Castle Group has everything buyers need and the properties are well priced starting from $900,000, according to its director Ritchie Perera.
“Most buyers now want everything – a beautiful inside as well as outside, high-quality finishes, functionality, low maintenance, close amenities. And at an affordable price that isn’t an apartment,” Perera says.
“In the rare occasion, if you can give people what they want, there will be strong demand, and this is what we have seen despite us launching this during the lockdown in August 2021.”
Key features fuelling the interest close by to Park Avenue include the new Sydney Metro station which makes commuting easy and the upcoming Rouse Hill Hospital.
The Rouse Hill Town Centre provides plenty of retail and dining options, and there are several quality private schools in the area – including the well-known Santa Sophia College.