The 21 hotspots that weren't

Alistair WalshJuly 29, 20120 min read

With 15,000 suburbs across the country, investors are spoilt for choice.

Especially when – if you had two lots of $9.95 to spend – Australia’s two leading property investor magazines simultaneously published their annual guides on the best 100 suburbs in which to buy.

It’s a year since Property Observer ascertained there were 21 hotspots that featured on both annual hotspot lists.

The lists represented the shared outlook of two dozen property industry talking heads who helped Australian Property Investor and Your Investment Property compile the lists.

Sadly, few have performed very well, with Property Observer unable to find much evidence of double-digit hotspot growth in the list.

But more than half of the 21 offerings recorded negative momentum.

Ainslie in the ACT was said to be well located, with good services and still affordable, despite 12% average annual growth over the past decade leading to 2011. It all sounds rosy but RP Data figures show the median house price has actually dropped 5% over the last year. Unit prices experienced a slight growth of 1.5%.

Warrnambool in Victoria was said to have good prospects as a town in the centre of a regional Victorian district with gas-fired and geothermal power stations, plus wind farms. It was forecast to have a strong unit market. The figures show house prices have stayed unchanged and unit prices have dropped 5%.

In Queensland, Townsville, Gladstone and Rockhampton were all expected to do well. Townsville wasn’t brilliant – house prices dropped 8.9% and the unit price median plummeted 21.6%. Gladstone has been hot – but just for houses, not units. House prices in Rockhampton have risen 4.4%, while units have dropped 1.0%.

Again in Queensland, this time in the Surat Basin, the mining towns of Toowoomba and Chinchilla were both tipped to do well. In Toowoomba, house prices have risen 4.2%, while unit prices have dropped 5.5%. RP Data shows the median house price in Chinchilla has risen 4.7% but unit prices have dropped 1.1%.

In Brisbane, the suburb of Paddington was the only entrant in the 21. The lists celebrated its easy CBD access and lifestyle at affordable pricing for unit landlords. House prices dropped 5.1% over the year though units grew 4.4%.

Sydney had three suburbs in the list with Dulwich Hill, Tempe and Baulkham Hills. House prices in Dulwich Hill dropped 1.6% and unit prices dropped 1.1%. In Tempe RP Data noted house prices dropped 10.9%. In Baulkham Hills house prices rose 1.4% and unit prices fell 1%.

Bathurst and Port Macquarie were NSW’s two regional appearances on the list. House prices in Bathurst rose 3.4% and unit prices rose 1.3%. Port Macquarie wasn’t so lucky with house prices dropping 3.9% and unit prices down 5.8%.


WA’s only appearance on the list was Geraldton, where house prices have slipped 0.3% but unit prices have skyrocketed 27.3%.

Melbourne was expected to do well with the five suburbs, Broadmeadows, Thornbury, St Kilda, Brunswick and Balaclava, all appearing. Broadmeadows house prices fell 9.2% and unit prices dropped 13.9%. In Thornbury, house prices fell 4.2% and units fell 2.9%. In St Kilda house prices fell 3.2% and unit prices fell 2.8%. Brunswick house prices fell 6.5% but unit prices rose 2.4%. And in Balaclava, house prices fell 9.8% and units increased 0.3%.

In South Australia, Kensington and Port Noarlunga both featured on the lists, respectively four and 27 kilometres from the Adelaide CBD. Kensington house prices fell 10% while unit prices increased 1.4%. In Port Noarlunga, house prices slipped 0.1% with no data for units.

So from the 21 offerings, only Gladstone houses and Geraldton units withstood the current downtown. With double-digit growth, they stand, at the moment, above all other nominations.

For advice on navigating hotspots, download our free eBook: Tools for Getting Through the Hotspot Maze.

Alistair Walsh

Deutsche Welle online reporter
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