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Units tipped to overtake homes in NSW suburbs

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A unit may get you closer to the dream of owning a house, these are the best places where you can leap from one property to the next.

BBQ conversations would have you believe the great Australian dream of owning a house is out of reach, especially after more than 18 months of pandemic-fuelled price growth.

But new research has revealed 10 regional locations in NSW where the median price of a house is only slightly higher than that of a unit and, in one suburb’s case, actually cheaper.

And with unit markets expected to rise in value as houses run out of steam this year, apartment owers may get the opportunity to ride that growth and upgrade into a freestanding house.
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The realestate.com.au data revealed that a house in Yamba, an idyllic coastal town and favourite holiday spot on the state’s north coast, will set you back $785,000, a handy $56,450 cheaper than the $841,450 unit median price.

Realestate.com.au senior economist Cameron Kusher explained that Yamba was unique in its layout, with units designed for holiday letting taking up the most ideal locations.

“It is likely due to the majority of units in Yamba being located on the beach and commanding a premium,” Mr Kusher said. “In regional markets, the supply of units is quite low and generally very centrally located, while the housing stock varies much more and

there’s a smaller difference in median prices between units and houses in some of these regional locations.”

David Lovell, founding member of First National Real Estate Yamba has over 28 years of experience selling properties in the area and said unit medians had been pushed upwards by out of towners falling in love with the location, which could benefit locals looking to make an upgrade.

“A majority of apartments purchased are on the beach, many of them are emotional purchases – supply and demand has pushed prices up and effectively reversed the price gap between homes and units,” Mr Lovell said, adding that he expected local property values to continue to perform strongly.

“Yamba isn’t making new housing supply. We’re in a land-locked area where the ocean is to the east and the Clarence River is to the north. There’s not much room for it to (expand).”

Toronto, to Newcastle’s south, was second on the list, with houses only $35,000 more expensive than the unit median.

That gap is expected to narrow further this year, with demand for units ramping up in the area, according to Paul Wrigley, a principal at Ray White Toronto and Lake Macquarie.

“Empty nesters often come here from Sydney to downsize to a unit with less maintenance,” Mr Wrigley explained, adding that waterfront houses were also popular. “We’ve been blown away by the sales we’re seeing in Toronto.”

Casino in the state’s far north was third on the list, with units $52,500 cheaper than houses, while Armidale ($104,000) and Glenfield Park ($107,000) rounded out the top five.

SQM Research founder Louis Christopher expects units to continue to perform well in regional areas.

“Affordability is a major factor in both regional and inner city areas…if houses in one suburb are $30,000 more expensive than units, that can make all the difference – particularly for first home buyers,” Mr Christopher said. “Buyers are likely to benefit from entering a relatively new unit as opposed to an old home that would require more upkeep… It’s likely we will see the unit market continue to grow over the course of the year.”

The data also looked at locations with the biggest gap between median house and unit prices, revealing unsurprisingly that the top 10 were all in Sydney’ most prestigious property markets.

Vaucluse in the eastern suburbs topped that list, with a $7.6 million gap between house median ($9.2 million) and unit ($1.58 million).

Other suburbs with million dollar gaps between houses and units included Bellevue Hill, Bronte, Clovelly and Mosman.

According to Mr Kusher, these suburbs were often seen as premium due to their prices and, in the case of Vaucluse, were highly sought after due to their location and views of the harbour.

“These premium suburbs have very high property prices and most people seeking to live in these suburbs are looking for houses rather than units,” Mr Kusher explained.

“While units are still expensive, they remain significantly cheaper than houses in the suburbs of Sydney.”

SUBURBS WITH THE SMALLEST PRICE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HOMES AND UNITS

#1 Yamba – $56,450

#2 Toronto – $35,000

#3 Casino – $52,500

#4 Armidale – $104,000

#5 Glenfield Park – $107,000

#6 Wagga Wagga – $107,500

#7 Grafton – $109,500

#8 Cessnock – $125,000

#9 Young – $140,000

#10 Taree – $146,500

SUBURBS WITH THE BIGGEST PRICE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HOMES AND UNITS

#1 Vaucluse – $7,620,000

#2 Bellevue Hill – $6,617,500

#3 Bronte – $5,288,000

#4 Clovelly – $4,371,000

#5 Mosman – $4,251,000

#6 Rose Bay – $3,882,500

#7 Toorak – $3,865,000

#8 Hunters Hill – $3,442,500

#9 Lindfield – $3,340,000

#10 Killara – $3,240,000

Originally published as Units tipped to overtake homes in NSW suburbs



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