There has long been a joke in Brisbane that anyone who lives further than five kilometres from the CBD is too far out to be worth visiting.
This is obviously not true (I live 12 kilometres out), and considering Brisbane’s house prices have risen by nearly 25 per cent over the past year alone, also now exceedingly difficult.
That being said, there will always be buyers for whom an inner city location is a dream worth holding onto. If that’s you, there are still opportunities to crack the coveted five-kilometre ring for less. However, it must be said that for many buyers, the inner city will never be within reach – not a single suburb within five kilometres of Brisbane’s city centre has a median house price under $1 million.
According to the latest data from Domain, the most affordable – which also happens to be the closest – inner-city suburb is Spring Hill, with a median house price of just over $1 million.
Also making the top five most affordable are Kelvin Grove, Windsor and Newmarket – all in Brisbane’s inner north – and Annerley, in Brisbane’s inner south.
Perched on the northern CBD fringe and edging the beautiful Roma Street Parklands, Spring Hill is one of Brisbane’s oldest established suburbs, but somehow, says Ray White New Farm agent Megan Bakker, it still flies under the radar.
She’s marketing a Queenslander cottage at Isaac Street within walking distance of the CBD and some of Brisbane’s most elite private schools. She says she’s been surprised by the number of buyers who say they have never considered Spring Hill an option for somewhere to live.
“I get it. If you’re looking inner city Brisbane you think New Farm, but in terms of affordability, that ship sailed some time ago,” she says.
“If I picked up this Spring Hill house and dropped it literally one kilometre that way [in New Farm], it would have a two in front of it. In Spring Hill, we’re looking for offers from $1.1 million. That’s nearly a million dollars difference. And that’s simply because Spring Hill is overlooked.”
Bakker likened Spring Hill to some of Sydney’s inner city suburbs like Surry Hills, where the houses were often two-bedroom cottages on small blocks of land.
“People in Brisbane – not in Sydney and Melbourne – struggle with 200-square-metre blocks of land. We are Hills-Hoist-in-the-backyard kind of people,” she laughs. “When you talk about 200 square metres with no grass and your front door on the street, some buyers can’t get past that.”
Kelvin Grove, located just 2.6 kilometres from the CBD, neighbours Red Hill and Paddington, two suburbs long-favoured by Brisbane’s inner-city blue-chip set.
The median price of a house in Red Hill is nearly $1.4 million, and in Paddington, the median is $1.6 million.
Kelvin Grove is closer to the city than Red Hill and Paddington, but its median price is nearly $300,000 to $500,000 less, at $1,125,500.
“I don’t understand it. It’s bizarre it’s still so cheap,” says Nicholas Casey of Coronis Inner North.
“I think this is the most overlooked suburb in Brisbane, which means this is where the opportunity is. Those overlooked suburbs always find exponential growth in excellent markets. Whether it’s five or 10 years, it will have its day in the sun.
“I think Kelvin Grove will one day have a disgusting amount of growth.”
Casey says there are houses in Red Hill where you could “take a lazy throw of a stone”, hit Kelvin Grove, and the price goes down 30 per cent for a comparable property.
“The reason? I put it down to the demographic. Unfortunately, there is still a perception that Kelvin Grove is a student area. I think that’s what’s holding it back,” he says.
“But we’ve seen, of course, throughout Brisbane’s history that this has happened before – 20 years ago, New Farm was a no-go zone. Now it’s one of the most expensive areas in the city because the demographic has changed and perceptions have shifted.”
But it may not be the case for long. Casey says he is seeing a shift underway in Kelvin Grove.
“I see the potential there. Little cafes and restaurants are starting to pop up and become popular. That’s always an indicator that a suburb is moving,” he says.
“The other thing is that Red Hill and Paddington have become very expensive over the past couple of years. People will get priced out of those areas, and if they don’t want to give up on the convenience of the inner city, this will be their answer.
“Lastly, I’m seeing a lot more architectural properties pop up around the area. People are spending money on houses here. They see the value and are dropping big money on renovations. That will give buyers the confidence that this is a safe suburb to buy or invest in.”
Article source: www.domain.com.au