Multiple property scenarios producing different results in Melbourne: Hotspotting's Terry Ryder

Multiple property scenarios producing different results in Melbourne: Hotspotting's Terry Ryder
Multiple property scenarios producing different results in Melbourne: Hotspotting's Terry Ryder


Melbourne shows that even in a city with a distinct overall trend, there are many diverse scenarios in play. Melbourne generally continues to decline but different sectors are producing different results, especially with price outcomes.

Apartment markets in particular are holding up well and there are more suburbs with rising unit prices than those with prices down. That runs contrary to the general media rhetoric of prices down across the board, thanks to generalised data and bad analysis.

Across the Melbourne metropolitan area, Hotspotting has analysed price trends in 435 house and unit markets and found that 44% have median prices higher than a year ago, while 56% have prices lower than last year.

Markets with significant declines in prices are relatively rare. Only 35% of the 435 suburban markets analysed have had median prices fall by more than 5% in the past 12 months – and it’s mostly the top end markets where prices have dropped a lot. Conversely, the locations where prices are still up substantially are primarily in the outer-ring areas where buyers are chasing affordability.

But, as we frequently observe, prices take time to respond to market realities, as shown by sales activity. The trends with buyer demand suggest Melbourne overall is at the bottom of the trough – suburbs with rising demand are virtually non-existent (the worst outcome since we started our quarterly surveys four years ago) and there are 73 suburbs which we have classified as “decline” markets (more than Sydney currently has).

In terms of trends with buyer demand, the steadiest markets are the areas where most suburbs are “plateau” or “consistency” markets. These are mostly the more affordable areas, either outer-ring precincts or middle market ones.

The City of Melton LGA on the western outskirts of the Melbourne Metro area is a stand-out, both with sales trends and price outcomes. There are no “rising” suburbs in terms of sales activity but there are 11 classified as “plateau” markets. And many of the Melbourne suburbs where median prices have risen by more than 10% in the past 12 months are in the Melton LGA.

Other municipalities with steady buyer demand include the Hume LGA in the north, Casey in the far south-east, Brimbank in the western suburbs and Wyndham in the far south-west, as well as middle-ring areas like Darebin, Nillumbik and Moreland. The only LGAs in the Melbourne Metro areas with no suburbs classified as “decline” markets are those three middle-ring areas, plus Melton City in the far west.

The middle-market Kingston LGA demonstrates the many different scenarios that can be found in real estate, even within one municipality. We have ranked 13 suburbs in the Kingston LGA: 2 rising, 6 plateau, 2 consistency and 3 decline. The rising suburbs are Chelsea and Chelsea Heights, the only two suburbs across Melbourne to be identified as having rising buyer demand in this Autumn survey.

The strongly-emerging trend is the number of Melbourne locations with significant declines in sales activity – and they are found right throughout the metropolitan area.

Many of the upmarket areas have multiple decline suburbs, including the LGAs of Boroondara, Glen Eira and Melbourne. But middle-markets LGAs like Whitehorse and Monash, as well as more downmarket locations like Greater Dandenong, have multiple decline markets.

And suburbs classified as decline markets are now starting to appear in the outer-ring LGAs like Casey and Hume, which provides further evidence that the previous growth cycle is over.

But the worst of the decline markets is the Mornington Peninsula – in this outlying LGA, we have classified 10 suburbs as decline markets.

Price levels remain quite resilient in many parts of Melbourne. Among the housing markets, 36% of suburbs have median prices higher than a year ago, while in the apartment sector 57% have higher prices.

In the housing markets, 94 suburbs have median prices higher than last year, while among the apartment markets, 98 suburbs have higher prices (compared to 73 with lower medians).

In terms of locations with significant price decline (a drop of more than 5% in the median price), only 38% of housing markets and 25% of apartment markets are in this category.

The suburbs with major decline in median house prices are all millionaire suburbs. Those where the median house price has dropped more than 20% in the past 12 months are Box Hill, Brighton, Canterbury, Carlton, Caulfield North, Hawthorn, North Melbourne, South Melbourne, South Yarra, St Kilda, St Kilda East and Toorak. 

The biggest drops in median house prices have occurred in Box Hill (down 36%), St Kilda (35%), Toorak (31%) and Hawthorn (30%).

Conversely, the areas still delivering good price growth are at the affordable end of the market. Of 11 suburbs with median house price growth above 10% in the past year, 5 are in the Melton LGA, 2 are in Hume and 2 are in Casey. Virtually all of these 11 suburbs are suburbs with median house prices under $600,000.

Terry Ryder is the founder of

Terry Ryder

Terry Ryder

Terry Ryder is the founder of

Terry Ryder Melbourne

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