Property values are soaring in Melbourne, which now has a median house price of over $1 million, compared to around $770,000 five years ago.
So, if we could take back the last five years, where in Melbourne could you still buy at 2016 prices?
Despite ongoing record low interest rates and pandemic stimulus measures driving up prices, there’s sill pockets of Melbourne where you can buy like it’s 2016 – if you’re willing to go a little further again from the city and do a little renovating.
As the coronavirus and associated lockdowns took hold, it’s well documented that scores of inner-city types looked to move further out to the suburbs and into more space, pools and backyards.
Belgrave and the surrounding outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne have fit the bill perfectly here and the median house price was still only $752,500 for the 12 months to September.
Bell Real Estate’s Elliott Bell told Fairfax media entry-level buyers could get a tidy 2-3 bedroom home in the area in the $700s with the potential to upgrade or renovate.
Mr Elliott said he’d been getting a lot of inquiries from apartment dwellers in Brunswick, Fitzroy and Northcote looking to upgrade to a house.
“There’s certainly some beautiful properties in the area where you might not be buying a big parcel of land, but it would have an amazing outlook,” he said.
The surrounding suburbs of Monbulk, Boronia, Bayswater North, Mooroolbark and Healesville all offer similar scenarios.
In the south east and with that same 2016 budget of $770,000, you’d be realistically still be able to get something in Springvale, Springvale South, Noble Park North and maybe Noble Park.
iSell Group’s Mitchell Nguyen said you might still have to do some work to the house yourself with that sort of budget in Springvale, but in Springvale South or Noble Park the houses were more likely to be better maintained for the same price.
“If a buyer did engage me with a budget of $770,000, I would say Springvale definitely is possible, if the user is willing to commit to doing work to the house,” he told Fairfax, adding that he’s seeing plenty of buyers coming from bayside suburbs like Cheltenham or Aspendale looking to upsize.
If you’re happy to go further out from the city but stay closer to the beach, Seaford was your other option.
North of the river and buyers on a budget would be looking at Fawkner or Hadfield, but they might require budgets to be stretched or expectations of land size tempered to stay in the market.
Ray White Coburg’s Nazih Abbouchi told Fairfax a family home in the area unfortunately would no longer go for anything under $800,000.
“They were probably the two areas that saw a fair bit of growth, and stabilised a bit and took off again,” he said.
“It came down to affordability, being 15km out of the CBD, it’s where you can buy and stay under that $1 million mark.”
Those wanting to pretend it’s still 2016 might be better served giving the north a miss and heading west instead.
In fact, in places like Melton, you can score a property for the mid-$500s, and that was actually Melbourne’s median house price way back in 2011.
Harcourts West sales consultant Avin Kumar told Fairfax that a standard three-bedroom, one bathroom on a 500-square block that was old, but renovated already, would be well within reach in the $500,000s.
Mr Kumar says buyers from all over Melbourne, from Werribee to the south eastern suburbs to the northern suburbs, are using their apartment budgets to buy houses on land in the western suburbs.
Along with Melton, the surrounding suburbs of Melton South, Kurunjang and Rockbank are all available for that $450,000 – $550,000 price range.