Crossing state lines: Where to after Sydney for property investors?: Sam Khalil

Crossing state lines: Where to after Sydney for property investors?: Sam Khalil
Crossing state lines: Where to after Sydney for property investors?: Sam Khalil


For the last few years, Sydney has been virtually synonymous with investing in property in Australia. Sometimes it seems like it's all anyone is talking out.

It's not surprising, given that property prices have seen a year-on-year increase of 14.5%, as noted by the latest RP Data Hedonic Home Value Index. But over time, this focus on Sydney has come to seem less like excitement over a well-performing market and more like tunnel vision.

Starting from the top

A lot of the reason why people are excited about Sydney is because of this exceptional growth. And make no mistake, there are still areas in the Harbour City where you can get incredible value. However, it seems like many people are basing this enthusiasm on how well it's performed in the past, and as I've cautioned before, past performance is no guarantee of future returns.

In fact, those who are trying to invest in some parts of Sydney now could well be buying at the top of the market. Future capital growth in these suburbs that have seen extraordinary increases is likely to be subdued going forward - so it's best to avoid following the herd. It would be unwise to buy something that has increased in value considerably, hoping that this will simply continue on and on.

Expanding your horizons

Of course, one shouldn't discount Sydney entirely. But if you're desperate to buy into the city, you'll need to be more selective, less emotional and buy in emerging markets instead of the ones doing spectacularly well. Those suburbs do still exist in the New South Wales capital.

Alternatively, it could be just as beneficial to look at the emerging markets outside of Sydney.

In New South Wales, for instance, two cities that show some promise are Newcastle and Wollongong. Here, the house prices are lower, the yields are better and the cities boast strong, diversified economies and population centres.

Meanwhile, outside the state, Brisbane is looking increasingly attractive. The Queensland capital has a greater degree of potential as its real estate values haven't seen as much growth as cities like Sydney and Melbourne, and yields are higher on average. In particular, I'm thinking of the suburbs in the corridors between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, and the northern and northeastern areas.

In the latter two, you've got neighbourhoods that are close to the coastline, have a billion dollar train line coming in and are a mere 25 minutes from the Brisbane CBD. Suburbs in the North Lakes region are especially encouraging, given the large amounts of investment in retail, infrastructure and education. An equivalent area in Sydney would be triple the price.

Why Queensland is poised for big gains

I was at a barbecue over a weekend, and someone told me they were thinking of moving to Queensland because they could sell their house in Sydney and buy a large home there outright with cash. There is a huge divergence in price between Brisbane and Melbourne and Sydney, and people are taking notice.

Interstate migration is picking up, with Melburnians and Sydneysiders moving over to Brisbane for its warmer climate and the cheaper house prices. It's appealing for both foreigners and Australian families looking for a certain lifestyle without the stress and burden of large debts. All of this means that there are likely to be a lot of investment property buyers in Brisbane in the coming years.

It's all about applying the same methodology of finding emerging growth suburbs, but applying it to new areas and suburbs. If you've had your fill of Sydney, expand your horizons and look across state lines.

SAM KHALIL is founder and director of Direct Property Network. He can be contacted here.


Investment Property


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