Every aspect of life was touched by the COVID-19 pandemic, and Australia’s property markets were no exception.
With fierce buyer demand and intense competition, coupled with a limited supply of homes and record-low interest rates, home prices across Australia shot up sharply over the past few years.
Would-be buyers with limited budgets likely struggled to find properties that fit their needs.
PropTrack economist Angus Moore said housing markets in most areas are beginning to stabilize.
“We have clearly seen buyer demand softening from earlier in the year right around Australia,” Mr Moore said.
That leveling out could signal the time to strike for buyers on tight budgets, with properties under $500,000 not impossible to sniff out.
What you’ll find in Brisbane
Finding a four-bedroom home for sale under $500,000 in southeast Queensland is a tough ask, but not entirely impossible.
For example, this four-bedroom, one-bathroom home at 47 Nuttall Street in Lawnton is 28km from the Brisbane CBD and nestled in a quiet location.
This four-bedroom home in Lawnton has a guide price of $489,000. Picture: realestate.com.au/buy
It needs some work but is priced to sell at $489,000 and boasts good potential.
On the southside of the River City, modest houses can be found in suburbs like Redbank Plains and Goodna.
Goodna is approximately 28km from the Brisbane CBD but just a 20-minute drive from the booming city of Ipswich.
This contemporary four-bedroom brick house at 29 Storr Circuit is contemporary and suited to family living.
For $449,000-plus, buyers can snap up this Goodna home. Picture: realestate.com.au/buy
It’s conveniently located to local amenities and has an appealing guide price of $449,0000 plus.
On the northside of the city, there are a number of townhouses in affordable price brackets available in suburbs like Brendale, which is 25km from the CBD.
Local agent Debbie Allen of Cottee Real Estate in Bracken Ridge has several three-bedroom townhouses on the market, like 128/350 Leitchs Road in Brendale, with more to come.
There are a few properties up for sale in this Bracken Ridge townhouse complex. Picture: realestate.com.au/buy
The complex has evolved into a community for young families with generously proportioned homes on leafy streets.
“Initially, the whole complex was sold to investors but their time has now come to fruition so they’re turning over [assets] and the complex is now mostly home to owner-occupiers,” Ms Allen said.
Another three-bedroom townhouse in the complex that Ms Allen is marketing is at 7/350 Leitchs Road and features a large main bathroom and air-conditioning in the master bedroom and living area.
Another townhouse on Leitchs Road currently on the market. Picture: realestate.com.au/buy
Both are for sale by negotiation but similar townhouses in the same complex have recently sold for around the $400,000 mark.
Other agencies have properties in a similar style throughout Brendale, Lawnton, Bracken Ridge, and Kallangur.
Lots of options in Ipswich
The city of Ipswich is about 45km west of Brisbane, with a train line linking it to the Queensland capital and beyond.
It’s a fast-growing region with plenty of its own desirable attributes, from good schools to employment hubs.
Ipswich has become a hot destination for homebuyers looking for value for money – so much so that it’s the fastest-growing local government area in regional Queensland.
The fast-growing city of Ipswich offers plenty of opportunity for first-home buyers. Picture: Getty
The suburb of Brassall is not far from the highway but is a quiet and peaceful area with schools and a shopping centre.
This four-bedroom house at 47 Aramac Street has two living areas, a double garage, and a large backyard, and is seeking offers above $429,000.
Buyers looking for a bigger block in a leafy and picturesque pocket could look at Rosewood, which is 20km from the CBD but has a rural look and feel.
This four-bedroom character home at 6 Berlin Street has four bedrooms and is enveloped in lush gardens, sitting on a generous 1012sqm block.
There’s plenty of living space and a large kitchen to suit growing families. It has a guide price of $429,000 plus.
Somewhat slimmer pickings in Sydney
It’s perhaps unsurprising that finding a home in Australia’s most expensive property market for under $500,000 is a very tough ask.
But there are some quality units available, which offer younger buyers a way onto the ladder. And they’re not as far from the action as one might expect.
Steve Krnjulac of Quay Property Agents in Liverpool believes units will boom in popularity in coming years due to affordability constraints and a growing availability of stock.
Mr Krnjulac is marketing a two-bedroom, two-bathroom unit at 16/57-61 Bathhurst Street in Liverpool with a guide price of $439,000 to $459,000.
It has a modern look with new timber flooring, a balcony, and a convenient location within walking distance of a Westfield Shopping Centre
Older-style apartments are in abundance in these areas and offer good opportunities to add value with a renovation, he said.
“Many probably aren’t going to be to your liking from the outside, but you can make whatever you want for the inside.
“There is stuff selling for $350,000 to $450,000. You just have to sacrifice a little bit. You’re not going to have a lift inside!“
An example of an older property under the $400,000 mark is this one in 4/19 Hart Street, Warwick Farm. It’s an older building that isn’t the prettiest, but the two-bedroom unit is very tidy and close to local amenities, including a train station.
The price guide is $339,000 to $359,000.
This pad requires a small budget, but buyers won’t have to compromise. Picture: realestate.com.au/buy
There are a number of suburbs where two-bedroom units can be find for under $500,000, such as Lakemba, Bankstown, Campbeltown, Marylands, and even North Paramatta.
If you are happy to live a bit further afield then it is possible to purchase a three-bedroom property.
This townhouse at 2/9 Gauss Place in Tregear, north of Mount Druitt, has high ceilings, a modern kitchen, a good-sized backyard and a price guide of $450,000 to $490,000.
Mount Druitt is a suburb on the rise and this townhouse is priced to sell. Picture: realestate.com.au/buy
Meanwhile, this modern three-bedroom townhouse at 71/2 Hythe Street in Mount Druitt has an immaculate kitchen, two bathrooms, generously proportioned bedrooms, and a large living area.
It has a price guide of $449,000 to $479,000.
More options in Melbourne
While the Victorian capital is notoriously expensive, there are a few more suburbs within a quick commute of the CBD where you can find an affordably priced apartment.
And even just a little further out, would-be buyers can get more bang for their buck.
Take Melton South, which is roughly a 45-minute drive from the it, where a budget of $500,000 can get you a three-bedroom house.
This three-bedroom, one-bathroom house at 11 Bourke Road needs a bit of love inside, unless pink is your favorite colour, but is boasts a spacious living area and a backyard with a pool and entertaining space.
It has a guide price of $389,000 to $427,900.
Buyers will need to give this home a refresh inside but it has great bones. Picture: realestate.com.au/buy
Oakleigh South, some 25 minutes from the CBD, has a range of two-bedroom units available, like 101/1215 Center Road, which has a modern bathroom and kitchen, plus basement parking, for $430,000 to $470,000.
It’s close to the train station and local shopping areas.
This apartment in Oakleigh South boasts modern interiors. Picture: realestate.com.au/buy
Other suburbs not far from the city, where two-bedroom ubnits under $500,000 can be found, include Balaclava, Bundoora, Glen Huntly, and Travancore.
And there are some units in the CBD itself up for grabs, like this two-bedder at 1208/39 Lonsdale Street, with a price guide of $340,000 to $360,000.
Great buys in Geelong
The bustling satellite city of Geelong has a commute time to Melbourne of an hour by train but also has a lot going for it – a pleasant lifestyle, good amenities, and affordable homes.
With its stunning waterfront precinct and popular dining scene, Geelong has become a popular arts and culture hub.
There are outer suburbs such as Corio, Newcomb, Whittington, and Norlane where you can find three-bedroom houses for under $500,000. That said, many of them need work.
Take this three-bedroom property at 11 Coleraine Crescent in Corio, which is a renovator’s delight but has lots of potential – not to mention a mammoth backyard.
It has a price guide of $420,000 to $450,000.
This house in Corio has an appealing price tag. Picture: realestate.com.au/buy
If you want walking distance to the Geelong CBD, there are several two-bedroom units available.
This centrally located unit at 4/48 Mundy Street has a stylish kitchen air-conditioned living space, and a courtyard.
This unit is centrally located in Geelong and could be snapped up for less than $500,000. Picture: realestate.com.au/buy
Within walking distance of the CBD, waterfront, and train station, and priced at just $449,000 to $479,000, this property has good appeal.