Bulletproof suburbs set to defy the cooling property market

Despite the slowdown in the housing market, experts say there are a number of areas that will retain their value and even continue to experience price growth.

These bulletproof pockets range from blue-chip suburbs that are continually sought after through to up-and-coming areas steadily growing in popularity.

The key to finding areas that have the best growth prospects in an uncertain market is to steer clear of those already experiencing jitters, according to Peter Koulizos, director of the Master of Property program at the University of Adelaide.

Capital cities that have traditionally seen bigger price falls than others when markets head south can also be challenging in the short- to mid-term.

“Sydney and Melbourne are already dropping in price at the moment and historically it’s these cities that have had the biggest slips in prices,” Mr Koulizos said.

“The two stellar cities at the moment are Brisbane and Adelaide, and traditionally they don’t tend to have as bigger falls as Sydney and Melbourne.”

Adelaide’s housing market has defied the recent cooling trend seen in other capitals. Picture: Getty

PropTrack economist Angus Moore said rising interest rates are being felt across the country, with housing markets either falling or slowing in many areas.

“Through the pandemic, Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart, and many regional areas saw stronger price growth than the national average, as they benefited from their relative affordability and a shift towards lifestyle locations and larger homes.

“That continues to be the case this year. The PropTrack Home Price Index shows that prices are still growing in Adelaide and Hobart, and in many regional areas. 

“Brisbane recorded its first decline in prices in June, but it’s continuing to outperform Sydney and Melbourne.”

Australia’s two biggest capitals may see lower growth overall than other cities, but there are still sought-after areas in Sydney and Melbourne that have the strong fundamentals to ensure their continued growth.

Several property pundits have shared their top picks for areas best placed to defy the cooling market.

Mile End and Thebarton, South Australia

As the name suggests, Mile End is only one short mile from Adelaide’s city centre.

The suburb has almost finished a long gentrification process but is also experiencing a resurgence in popularity more recently, Mr Koulizos said.

This has been kicked off by projects in the health and medical precinct in the western part of the CBD, close to Mile End, including the new Royal Adelaide Hospital, Women’s and Children’s Hospital, and the University of Adelaide building.

“There is a lot of interest in Mile End from doctors and medical specialists – people with money,” he said.

Mile End is a suburb with great prospects – and some great homes, like this one. Picture: realestate.com.au/buy

The suburb right next door to Mile End, Thebarton, has also been picked as potentially bulletproof by Mr Koulizos, also considered “up and coming” and “soon-to-be blue-chip suburbs”.

He said Thebarton will benefit from the same things as Mile End, but the bonus is that the suburb is only just gentrifying, so housing is at a lower price point.

Mile End’s median house price is $818,000, while Thebarton is sitting at $738,000, according to PropTrack data.

“Both suburbs are full of character homes and in walking distance to the city,” Mr Koulizos said.

Woolloongabba, Brisbane, Queensland

Just 2km from the Brisbane CBD, Woolloongabba is close to both the city and the Brisbane River, which are two big capital growth drivers, Mr Koulizos said.

But another big thing going for the suburb is investing in major infrastructure projects, particularly as it will be a hub for the 2032 Olympic Games.

Investment ahead of the 2032 Olympic Games in Brisbane will change the face of Woolloongabba. Picture: Queensland Government

Its well-known ‘Gabba’ stadium will undergo a $1 billion redevelopment to increase its capacity and will be the main stadium for the Games, hosting the opening and closing ceremonies and athletics events.

Woolloongabba is also central to the Cross River Rail project under construction – a new rail line in Brisbane, with a new pedestrian plaza being built to link the stadium to the new station.

“Woolloongabba is going to have a lot of focus on it for the next 10 years leading up to the Olympics,” Mr Koulizos said.

“While other areas or suburbs might have diminished investment in infrastructure, it will continue in Woolloongabba.”

The Cross River Rail project will also drive growth. Picture: Queensland Government

Adelaide’s coastal suburbs, including Seaford, Port Noarlunga, Christies Beach, and Moana, South Australia

Historically, Adelaide’s coastal suburbs, around 30km south of the Adelaide CBD, were considered to be relatively cheap.

But prices are growing rapidly, according to Pete Wargent, buyer’s agent and co-founder of BuyersBuyers

“These suburbs are becoming more expensive thanks to their access to amenities and great beaches, and with some of the older housing being demolished and rebuilt by aspirational buyers,” Mr Wargent said.

Demand for homes in coastal parts of Adelaide is rising. Picture: Getty

Adelaide is entering a rental crisis, he adds, with vacancies chronically tight in this part of the city, tracking at practically zero in some coastal areas. 

“There is extremely strong demand both locally and from interstate, driven by the relative affordability of housing and the outstanding lifestyle on offer in this location.”

Brisbane’s bayside suburbs, including Sandgate, Brighton, Shorncliffe, Wynnum, and Manly, Queensland

Brisbane’s bayside suburbs, around 15km northeast of the CBD, are expected to perform well in the future for many of the same reasons as Adelaide’s coastal suburbs, Mr Wargent said.

“While Brisbane doesn’t have the same beach lifestyle that Sydney can offer, water tends to be a strong drawcard, and the relative affordability and ease of access to the city and airport has piqued the interest of interstate movers,” he said.

“Vacancy rates in Brisbane’s bayside suburbs are extremely tight, reflecting both the popularity of the location and a dearth of new family-friendly housing supply.”

Brisbane’s bayside suburbs are poised for growth, experts say. Picture: Getty

Balmoral, Brisbane, Queensland

Balmoral, positioned 4km east of Brisbane’s CBD, is the very definition of a ‘bridesmaid’ suburb packed with potential, according to Rich Harvey, chief executive officer and founder of Propertybuyer.com.au.

“It’s often in the shadows of its higher-profile neighbours Morningside, Hawthorne, and Bulimba, but Balmoral has plenty to offer that they don’t,” Mr Harvey said.

“It’s a lower density address than Bulimba, which is starting to fill with apartments.

“Balmoral State High School, whose catchment area includes Bulimba, [is an easy walk for students], which means parents can enjoy [not having to do] morning drop-offs and afternoon pick-ups.

“Families moving to Brisbane from interstate are really embracing the parks, local amenities, and more open space than you’ll find in some of the surrounding suburbs.”

Balmoral is home to some stunning prestige properties, like this one that’s currently on the market. Picture: realestate.com.au/buy

The extensive Bulimba Barracks development will have flow-on effects for Balmoral, he said.

Balmoral is more commutable than its neighbours, providing alternate routes to the city without the bottlenecks seen in neighbouring suburbs.

It remains comparably affordable too, Mr Harvey said. While the median house price is around $1.5 million, it’s cheaper than Bulimba and Hawthorne.

Frenchs Forest, Sydney, New South Wales

Frenchs Forest is located 13km north of the Sydney CBD, on the leafy Northern Beaches.

Strategically situated just 15 minutes from the ocean and about a 25-minute drive or bus journey to the city, it offers an excellent array of amenities as well as relative affordability, Mr Harvey said.

As older families move out, younger generations are moving in, with significant infrastructure upgrades happening, he said.

“A new 488-bed Northern Beaches Hospital opened just a few years ago, and there have been some improved traffic bypasses.

“Areas immediately adjacent to the hospital are currently being rezoned for medium to higher density, and a new Frenchs Forest town centre is being developed next door to the hospital.”

The current median house price is $2.275 million, which shot up dramatically during Covid, along with the rest of the Northern Beaches, Mr Harvey added. 

“Investors also do well in this pocket as rental vacancy rates are incredibly low and there is high demand for rental properties.  

“Days on market is currently 25, which indicates a very healthy demand.”

Langwarrin, Melbourne, Victoria 

Langwarrin, 40km southeast of the Melbourne CBD, is a family-friendly suburb primed for house price growth, Mr Harvey predicted. 

The median house price is now $865,500 following 20% growth over the past 12 months, according to PropTrack data, but Mr Harvey said the area remains ripe for family buyers to drive prices higher.

“Langwarrin is the gateway to the Mornington Peninsula and is next to Frankston, which makes it prime as a ‘next growth’ address.

“Many of the suburb’s older residents will move out in the coming years, opening Langwarrin up to more opportunities and gentrification.”

Langwarrin offers a quieter way of life, but a location not too far from the city. Picture: Getty

There are a wide range of properties available, from smaller blocks through to semi-rural holdings, he added. 

“Its family appeal credentials are assured by good quality schools, excellent retail, and easy access to the freeways allowing direct routes to the city and south.

“There is chatter about a future rail connection too, which bodes well for growth.”

Mornington Peninsula suburbs, including Mornington, Rye, Mount Eliza, and Mount Martha, Victoria

The Mornington Peninsula has seen some of the biggest growth figures in the few years since the onset of the pandemic.

Buyer’s agent Greville Pabst said areas like Rye, Mount Eliza, Mount Martha, and Mornington have been particularly in demand because of the lifestyle on offer.

“There is perhaps some lag, with Sorrento, Portsea, and Blairgowrie surging first,” he said.

The Mornington Peninsula exploded during Covid, but there are still good long-term prospects. Picture: Getty

With a new Covid-normal setting in, and some heading back to the office for work, that lifestyle drawcard might not be as urgent and dramatic, Mr Pabst said.

“Long-term, however, this part of the world will always be solid and perform well,” he said.

“If you look at the Peninsula from the air, it’s a narrow strip of land with Westernport on one side and Port Phillip on the other. This scarcity of land will continue to underpin land prices into the future.

“The beauty is that it’s a 45-minute drive from Melbourne, having surf and bay beaches front and back, and in between is filled with wonderful wineries and restaurants.” 

Source: PropTrack. Note: Data not available for every suburb mentioned
Suburb Dwelling type Median price 3-month growth 12-month growth
Frenchs Forest, NSW House $2,275,000 1% 33%
Langwarrin, VIC House $865,500 5% 20%
Langwarrin, VIC Unit $570,000 4% 17%
Balmoral, QLD House  $1,520,000 12% 21%
Balmoral, QLD Unit $725,000 11% 16%
Brighton, QLD House $841,000 8% 30%
Manly, QLD House $1,262,500 3% 27%
Sandgate, QLD House $950,000 8% 25%
Shorncliffe, QLD House $1,312,500 8% 23%
Woollooongabba, QLD House $1,265,000 7% 24%
Woolloongabba, QLD Unit $492,000 3% 9%
Wynnum, QLD House $991,500 8% 29%
Wynnum, QLD Unit $505,000 4% 17%
Christies Beach, SA House $505,000 7% 24%
Christies Beach, SA Unit $400,000 3% 10%
Mile End, SA House $818,000 5% 15%
Moana, SA House $687,500 11% 25%
Port Noarlunga, SA House $580,000 5% 22%
Seaford, SA House  $562,000 9% 28%
Thebarton, SA House $738,000 4% 12%

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