Thor’s haven Australia’s most expensive town

IT is home to some of our biggest celebrity names, and Thor’s mega mansion.

And now Byron Bay can lay claim to another title — Australia’s most expensive median house price.

New research from property market research firm Propertyology has identified the top 40 most expensive cities by median house price, and the popular hipster and hippie enclave has taken out top spot, even beating Sydney.

“With a population of just 34,500 people and a median house price as at December 2018 of $987,500, Australia’s most expensive city is Byron Bay in northern New South Wales,” Propertyology head of research Simon Pressley said.

“Byron’s median house price increased by a whopping 64 per cent over the past five calendar years, propelling it to the top of the national table.

“Sydney and Melbourne both produced a 44 per cent increase over the same five years to be $950,000 and $772,500, respectively.”

Mr Pressley said the price gap between Australia’s two largest cities and Byron Bay was likely to widen further given house prices in Byron Bay continued to rise while in Sydney and Melbourne they have continued to fall.
In fact, Melbourne didn’t even make the top five list for expensive major regions by median house price, he said.

“Ahead of Melbourne, in sixth place, are three other major regional locations: Kiama and Wingecarribee, both in New South Wales, as well as Victoria’s Surf Coast,” Mr Pressley said.

Rounding out the top 10 most expensive major locations were Wollongong, Noosa, Ballina and Canberra.

The data showed that seven of the 10 most expensive major locations in Australia are in regional areas, Mr Pressley said.

Byron Bay is just a two-hour drive from Brisbane and a one hour flight from Sydney.

The median house price in Byron Bay was just $140,000 back in 1998.

Meanwhile, with only three capital cities making the cut for the top 20 most expensive major locations, what do the non-capital cities have in common?

Mr Pressley said that many of the regional cities listed on Australia’s 40 most expensive had a median household age that is well above the national average, had a smaller number of people living within those households, and the rate of outright ownership was significantly better than the national average.

However, expensive locations with very high age demographics generally aren’t particularly good for property investors, Mr Pressley said.
“In addition to having so much capital tied up in one asset, rental yields are lower, and the pool of renters is often low, too, while the local economy is generally less robust because the older demographic is at the financial preservation stage of their life,” he said.

“That said, these results again prove that there are myriad locations around Australia where capital growth can be achieved without being a megacity.”

He said one case in point was Hobart which, even though it is a capital city, only just scraped in as the 40th most expensive location in Australia.

“Hobart was Australia’s best-performed capital city property market over the past three years. While Sydney is Australia’s largest city, property markets performed better over the past three years in 30 out of the 40 most expensive cities.”
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