Nila Sweeney

If your goal is to crack the inner city unit market but don't know where to start, read on most affordable units near the CBD's of Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra, Darwin, and Hobart are unveiled.

Brisbane

Brisbane's inner city unit market continues to supply pockets of highly undervalued suburbs, which provide perfect targets for both owner occupier and investor first home buyers.

Tarragindi
Located  right near the South East Busway and the Pacific Motorway and just 6kms from Brisbane CBD is one area to watch according to  Cameron Kusher, senior research analyst, RP Data. "It is a very well established residential area, and to have a median unit price which is still under $300,000 is surprising. It is one of my top picks."

Although there are not a lot of units in the Tarragindi area, the rental market is strong with a weekly median advertised rent of $350, against a median unit price of just $298,450, according to RP Data September 2008.

Tarragindi has its own small set of shops, although residents usually prefer to travel to larger retail offerings in the nearby suburbs of Annerley and Moorooka.

Wooloowin
Located just 6kms from the CBD, Wooloowin is another popular suburb which is ideal for first home buyers searching for an inner city bargain. It's right next to the expensive suburbs of Ascot and Gladesville and benefits from their prime amenities.

"Wooloowin has two train stations and easy access to major roads leading into the CBD," explains Kusher. "It is also next door to Albion where there is a lot of gentrification going on at the moment."

Kusher says areas such as Tarragindi and Wooloowin remain affordable for first home buyers thanks to their limited amounts of new stock and abundance of older style 1970's and 1980's style blocks. In suburbs such as these you are likely to get a one and sometimes two bedroom units in three and four story walk-up building for around $300,000.

Nundah
Nundah has a plentiful supply of public transport, thanks to its local train station and stations in the surrounding suburbs of Toombul and Northgate. Residents have a short drive to the arterial Gateway Motorway (M1), leading them directly into the CBD of Brisbane and linking the city with the Sunshine and Gold Coasts.

The suburb also has easy access to Airport Drive as it lies on the western side of Brisbane airport.

Nundah is only around 10 minutes drive from the popular and amenity rich suburb of Chermside and around the same distance from The Prince Charles Hospital. The nearby suburb of Nudgee also provides Nundah residents with a beach and a golf course, both within about a 5-10 minute drive.

Kusher says the relatively affordable suburbs of Annerley and Nundah are happily bucking the trend of their region, and are receiving quite a bit of redevelopment at the moment.

"Nundah has a huge amount of older stock, but new stock and retail stock is being introduced," explains Kusher. "This suburb is just 9kms from the CBD and has great retail amenities. It is very close to the Australia Catholic University, has a train station and has as strong rental markets."

Albion
Albion is located just 4kms north of Brisbane city and has good train access into the CBD. As traffic congestion in Brisbane increases, these train lines are becoming more and more important for residents working in the city. This is now evident in the amount of interest in suburbs such as Albion.

Peter Koulizos, The Property School lecturer, property investor and author of 'The Property Professor's Top Australian Suburbs' says Albion benefits from neighbouring million dollar suburbs like Ascot, Hamilton and Newstead.

The suburb is also known for providing home owners and investors with great renovation prospects.

"Albion is great renovation territory because of the older style art deco units and timber framed homes," Koulizos says. "Around 43% of dwellings in Albion are separate houses, so there is higher percentage of units, which is great for investors."

Herston
Many of the affordable areas located in Brisbane's inner areas have benefited from the ripple effect of surrounding prime areas, and Herston is no exception. It is just 2 kms from the CBD and adjacent to the prime suburb of Spring Hill, where median unit prices are about $10,000 higher. Herston provides first home buyers with the opportunity to buy in at lower prices and still reap the benefits that Spring Hill has to offer.

Similar to Spring Hill, Herston is filled with beautiful old cottages and Queenslanders which are high in demand and great for renovating.

If you're looking to buy a unit in Herston, Koulizos recommends looking for a building with a view of the city or located close to parks and open spaces.

"This is a drawcard for families and can offer great potential for investors in the future," explains Koulizos. "One of the other big assets for Herston is the amount of medical facilities in the area. There is Royal Brisbane Hospital, Royal Women's Hospital and Royal Children's Hospital and then the University of Queensland Medical School."

These amenities provide plenty of opportunity for employment and lots of potential tenants for investors. Avoid buying property along Herston Road, as it does not tend to be as popular and is affected by more noise.

Sydney

The unit market in Sydney is traditionally reserved for those wanting to spend $500,000 and above. Although, looking closely into the market we can see that there are still some areas of interest for first home buyers wanting to buy in a unit at rock bottom prices.

Greenwich
Greenwich is located just across the harbour from Sydney city, near North Sydney and Crows Nest, presenting buyers with an alternative to the immediate inner city regions. It is still close by, at just 4kms from the CBD.

"Greenwich has a lot of offices, so you can live and work there at the same time. It also has a range of bars and restaurants, and that café style atmosphere is directly at your fingertips that young people like," says Kusher.

Many properties in Greenwich would have a view of the waters which harbour Cockatoo Island and Goat Island, especially those which are located along Greenwich Road down towards Shell Park and Banns Point Park.

The closest train station is off Shirley Road in neighbouring Wollstonecraft, but Greenwich has adequate private and public bus services for local residents and visitors to the area. On top of this, there is also a local ferry service which travels to Balmain and Woolwich.

Greenwich is within close distance to Sydney's second biggest employment hub, North Sydney, and the Royal North Shore Hospital in the nearby residential and business suburb of St Leonards.

Greenwich has many traditions such as the Greenwich Village Games which has been held every Olympic year since 1988..

Darlington
The suburbs of Greenwich and Darlington are both surprisingly affordable, but buyers should know that the stock in these areas tend to be older blocks of units according to Kusher. Staying optimistic, if you have a fetish for DIY renovations, there is potential value to added to many of these units.

Both Greenwich and Darlington have a unit market with a median price less than $340,000, but stock is usually restricted to one bedroom apartments. Nevertheless, these properties are in ideal locations just a stone's throw away from Sydney's CBD. They also both have good transport infrastructure supporting their property markets.

Darlington has excellent access to the Princes Highway via Parramatta Road and is located just 4 kms from Sydney CBD. It is within walking distance to the University of Sydney and the local Broadway shopping centre, where the majority of amenities are located and 169 specialty stores are situated.

Darlington is within a five minute walk to nearby Redfern train station and has bus services running at all times of the day within a two to three minute walk to City Road and Cleveland Streets. To top things off, central bus and train station are within a 10 minute walk away - hence Darlington's popularity within young renting professionals and university students.

Kusher says Darlington is primarily comprised of semi-detached (terrace style) housing which accounts for three out of every four dwellings within the suburb.

"The remaining dwellings are almost entirely units which account for 24% of all dwellings," explains Kusher.

"The rental market in this area is very active with almost 60% of properties in the area being rented."

If you're looking to buy in Darlington, locate yourself away from railway lines and distance yourself from the Princes Highway. Kusher also advises buyers to avoid buying near The Block' to the north east of the suburb as it adjoins the neighbouring suburb of Redfern. Streets such as Abercrombie and Sheppard are popular as they are further away from Redfern and tend to have wider streets.

Newtown
Kusher also recommends the ultra-popular suburb of Newtown, which surprisingly has a median unit price of just $340,000. Again, these units are likely to be older style character buildings with one bedroom only. But, if you can buy anywhere close to the action streets in Newtown - such as King Street - you've got yourself an unbeatable deal.

"Newtown has the alternative drawcard which has a fairly substantial appeal to many renters and investors," explains Kusher.

Newtown is located around 5 kms from Sydney's CBD and is surrounded by the popular and high frequented suburbs of Darlington, Erskineville and Enmore.

Newtown has its own train station, located off King Street, as well as excellent bus services which pass through the suburb frequently, making it very accessible to residents and visitors.

Newtown's King Street formed the first major shopping district outside of Sydney's CBD. Today it is filled with hundreds of boutique retail stores and lifestyle hangouts, including cafes, restaurants, bars and clubs.

There is also a large number of parks, sporting facilities, libraries, galleries and theatres nearby. It is for this reason that Newtown is so popular with a large variety of cultures and ages.

Haberfield
Haberfield is also an affordable option for first home buyers wanting to live within 6 kms to the CBD. At a median unit price of just $275,500 it is located close to the city, amenities and the Roselle Hospital.

The suburb is described as being similar to 1950's Italy, which houses both modern and traditional Italian bakeries, cafes and restaurants. It is also said that the main street, Ramsay Street, transforms into a food lovers heaven each Saturday morning.

Haberfield is filled with Federation style brick homes, fit for both families and young professionals. The suburb has adequate parking for those who drive, which is a bonus because is not serviced by a train station. Residents can either take local bus services into the city or drive to the neighbouring suburb of Summer Hill, for the nearest train station (located off Carlton Crescent)..

Marrickville
Marrickville is located 8 kms south west from the CBD and adjacent to popular Stanmore. It has a with a median unit price of $332,000, is poised for some urban renewal over the next couple of years says Kusher.

This suburb is traditionally a working class suburb which is becoming increasing popular with young professionals and investors. The majority of streets are tree-lined and dwellings are commonly small, single story cottages, red-brick federation homes, or fibro houses.

The suburb's popular café and restaurant strip along Marrickville Road is known for its Greek and Vietnamese influences.

Koulizos says there are plenty of amenities in the town, including numerous public and private schools.

"There is also an abundance of shopping in this suburb. The large Marrickville Metro Shopping Centre is in the north east section of Marrickville. There are also a number of shops on Illawarra and Marrickville roads," explains Koulizos.

"There are also three stations - Marrickville Station is in the middle of the suburb, Dulwich Hill Station is to the west and Sydenham Station is to the east."

Koulizos says it is best to buy properties with character or period style features, with off-street parking in a wide street. Concentrate your search on properties that could use some cosmetic renovation and properties located closer to Stanmore.

Avoid any properties directly under a flight path or on the main roads.

Chippendale
Chippendale is located in the inner west of Sydney next door to Redfern and Broadway just 3-5kms from the centre of Sydney city. It is the ideal location for young professionals working in the city and wanting to live close by, and highly desirable for the many international students who want to rent close to adjacent Sydney University.

"Chippendale is also very popular with renters as it is right next door to the prime suburb of Glebe, which has all of the lifestyle factors such as the weekly Glebe Markets, restaurants and cafes," Koulizos points out.

Amenities such as the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital are also within walking distance and Darling Harbour is just a short drive away.

"The old Carlton United Brewery (off Broadway) is being re-developed into 11 towers which will include residential, commercial and retail. This will increase activity in the suburb as well," says Koulizos.

If you're looking to buy in the Chippendale area, stick to the western side of the suburb, where residential dwellings are concentrated. Koulizos advises buyers to steer clear of properties directly on Broadway, Cleveland Street, City Road, Regent Street and Abercrombie Street as these are all very busy.

Arncliffe
Arncliffe is located 10kms south of Sydney's CBD and sits next door to the prime suburb of Brighten Le Sands. This region is a little bit further out from the city centre, near the Sydney international and domestic airports. Luckily, it is far enough away from the airport and is not greatly affected by aircraft noise.

Koulizos says some pockets in Arncliffe are being re-zoned from industrial to residential in order to improve the suburb. If you're an owner occupier wanting to buy a house or unit to renovate here, it is ideal territory.

"There is great opportunity to renovate because of the older style properties. These period style unit blocks can benefit from some decent internal renovations," explains Koulizos.

If you're looking to snap up a bargain in Arncliffe, try and secure a property which has views towards the city. Arncliffe offers this rare feature as it is a hilly suburb.

Avoid buying a unit on any of the main roads especially the Princes Highway and Forest Road, and be aware of the M5 which runs underground in Arncliffe, as this can present problems if you're considering redeveloping any blocks of land.

Melbourne

The majority of cheaper inner city units in Melbourne's CBD are located to the west of the region, which is not surprising, according to Kusher, as these areas have traditionally had lower socio-economic reputations.

Footscray
Footscray is located just 6 kms from Melbourne's CBD and is known for its post World War Two type dwellings. Kusher says areas such as Footscray are undergoing fairly substantial urban renewal, which will encourage growth in the local market.

"Once the urban renewal kicks off in Footscray the growth will flow onto areas such as West Footscray and Seddon. These inner city units are very good buying all being around or under $300,000. When you compare these prices to places like Brisbane and Sydney, these units are a lot more affordable as well."

Footscray has a large variety of shopping, schools and amenities, and is home to Victoria University and the Footscray Nicholson campus, the TAFE division of Victoria University. All amenities are easily accessible via public transport - buses, trains and trams.

Buying into these areas means you have to be realistic with your property styles and you can expect to be buying a one bedroom apartment for under $300,000 and a two bedroom apartment from there on up.

Concentrate your buying efforts on properties in the northern area of Footscray. Koulizos says the best region is in between the train station and Ballarat Road - but not on Ballarat Road. The streets that run from east to west are also a catch as they offer wider streets and are close to Victoria University and the Maribyrnong River.

Koulizos says steer clear of main roads such as Buckley Street and the Princes Highway.

Fairfield, Thornbury
Kusher believes the suburbs of Flemington (5kms from the CBD), Fairfield (6kms from the CBD) and Thornbury (8kms from the CBD) all provide good areas for buying, thanks to median prices below $305,000.

"A lot of these areas have good transport via Melbourne's trams system, which helps these inner city areas substantially," explains Kusher.

Fairfield is located in Melbourne's north west and is split by the Darebin Creek arm of the Yarra River.

The Fairfield Industrial Dog Object (FIDO), which is situated opposite Fairfield Village, is a popular tourist attraction. The recycled hardwood and galvanised steel art project was designed as a symbol of connection between humans and pets, and often wags its tail and speaks as passers by stop to admire it.

Fairfield has a number of quality restaurants and motels as well as an adequate supply of educational facilities, shopping and parks. The town dates back to the 1980's.

Flemington
Flemington is the home of the famous Melbourne Cup and is just minutes from the centre of Melbourne. It is just two train stops from Southern Cross station - which Koulizos equates to Erskineville in Sydney.

"There is great renovation opportunity because of older style homes in area and the State Govt has targeted the area for urban renewal in the Melbourne 2030 Strategy," explains Koulizos.

If you're looking to buy in the western regions of Melbourne, make it you goal to focus on period style homes with views to the city, although stay away from the Flemington Flats housing commission area.

Coburg
Located just 10kms north of Melbourne is the suburb of Coburg. Coburg had a median unit price of $350,000 in September last year, according to results by RP Data.

The suburb is said to have excellent access to city via public transport (bus, tram and train), and is known for its period style homes.

The region is very popular with students from the local Latrobe University, REMIT and University of Melbourne close by.

"Coburg has been targeted by local council and state Governments for urban renewal so there is plenty of public money being spent to upgrade the area," says Koulizos.

"Look for period homes in the wide tree lined streets. Stay away from Sydney Road and Bell Street because of the noise from the 24 hour traffic in this region."

Adelaide
In Adelaide, a budget of $250,000 is likely to score you an existing two bedroom unit in the majority of suburbs within a 10km radius of the CBD. Hence its appeal to many first home buyers and savvy investors over the past year and a half.

Clarence Gardens
If buying in Adelaide, attempt to steer clear of northern regions, where lower socio-economic pockets might delay future growth potential.

"Instead, I would pick suburbs like Clarence Gardens to the south which is just 6kms to the Adelaide's CBD," explains Kusher.

Clarence Gardens is located in the City of Mitcham around 6 kms from the Adelaide CBD. The suburb is said to be within walking distance to the nearby beachside suburb of Glenelg and within driving distance to the Belair National Park. This gives residents the best of both worlds and makes it more appealing to owner occupied buyers and renters.

Residents and visitors to the area can travel through the national park by foot, or by bike, along the established tracks. Just outside the national park are amenities such as tennis courts, sporting ovals, picnic areas and Old Government House.

Royal Park
Another of Kusher's top picks was Royal Park. Although it is situated to the north of Adelaide, it happens to be about 10kms out of the city and positioned closer to the water in the Le Fevre area, closer to Port Adelaide where the local redevelopment will benefit surrounding suburbs quite substantially.

Royal Park is just 3 kms from Port Adelaide is surrounded by popular golf courses around West Lakes, Tennyson and Seaton. AAMI Stadium, Hendon Oval and the Sanfl Football Park are also close by, as is the arterial Port Road for easy access to Adelaide city.

Nearby West Lakes is home to the region's main shopping centre (called The West Lakes Shopping Centre), which is just a short 1 km from Royal Park. West Lakes and nearby Tennyson also provide residents and visitors of Royal Park the beauty of their beaches and waterfront locations. This means that buyers into the area can take advantage of lower median prices, and still enjoy the amenities of the more expensive nearby suburbs.

The median unit price in Royal Park as of September 2008 was $220,000 and the weekly median advertised rent was a solid $190.

Woodville Gardens
Woodville Gardens remains the cheapest of all unit markets in the city of Adelaide, mainly due to its northern region reputation and its close proximity to a lot of industry, says Kusher.

The suburb has quite a few parks and open spaces, but all in all, is a smaller suburb. It is surrounded by the suburbs of Ferryden Park, Angle Park, Mansfield Park, Athol Park, Kilkenny and Woodville North.

It is located around 8 kms from the city of Adelaide and around 6 kms from the beaches and water views characteristic of popular Semaphore. Even closer is the development hub of Port Adelaide only around 4 kms away, or about five minutes in the car.

Woodville Gardens is within minutes drive from Regency Park Gold Course and Cheltenham Racecourse. Residents also have easy access to arterial Roads of South Road (A13) and Port Road (A7) which lead directly into the Adelaide city area.

Torrensville
Torrensville is next door to Thebarton and the CBD of Adelaide, and is only a short distance to the sea. "This is a good place for first home buyers to look for many reasons," says Koulizos.

"It is right next door to Thebarton's developing eat street' at Henley Beach Road and is very popular with young professionals because of its proximity to the city. It is popular with international students because three out of the six university campuses are on North Terrace which is 2kms from Thebarton and Torrensville."

Torrensville is located right next door to the prime suburb of Mile End and it provides good opportunities for redevelopments, thanks to the many character style stone front symmetrical cottages.

The median unit price in Torrensville was $307,500 during the month of September 2008, with a median weekly advertised rent of $290 - or 4.9% gross rental yield.

Avoid buying a property too close to any local factories and stay off South Road as it is a big arterial road, and steer clear of Ashwin Parade which is used as a short cut by trucks.

West Hindmarsh
West Hindmarsh is situated next door to Thebarton and only 2-3kms to the city. It has the beautiful River Torrens Liner Park running through it, which gives you direct access to the city and the sea.

The median unit price for the suburb of West Hindmarsh was around $270,500 during September last year, and vendors are currently advertising two bedroom units closer to $300,000.

Koulizos says, this suburb offers great opportunities to renovate because of character homes. Buyers should focus their searches north of Port Road and if you're interested in redevelopment focus on the southern end of west Hindmarsh where zoning is more favourable. Avoid South Road and Port Road altogether.

Perth

The inner city Perth market offers some very well priced unit markets for first home buyers, with the majority of cheaper unit suburbs located within 7kms of the CBD.

West Perth
West Perth for instance is just 2kms from Perth's CBD and is predicted to move up in price relatively soon, according to Kusher, off the back of a 6.7% fall in capital growth over the year to September 2008.

Still, West Perth had a median unit value of $270,000 for the month of September last year, which is $50,000 less than median unit prices recorded in Cannington, 10kms from the CBD.

"West Perth has Kings Park next door and is elevated with views. The stock is older though, so be aware of this when looking in this area. But to emphasis the more important point, I don't expect prices will be this low for long," Kusher explains.

Jolimont
Jolimont, located just 5kms from the city, is due for an upgrade by the state Government, says Kusher (although not announced), and may pay dividends to home buyers getting into the current depressed market were growth has slowed. Jolimont decreased in value by 5.9% over the year to September 2008, taking its median unit price to $320,000.

"There has been urban renewal conducted in Perth and south Perth, so strategically speaking, these areas such as Jolimont, are the next areas to be paid some attention, which provides good opportunities for first home buyers and investors to buy in early and benefit from this," says Kusher.

"The quality of stock in these areas is not as good as the south and east of Perth, although these areas will move ahead in price, because they are the only areas left to experience growth. You will be buying one bedroom units for the $300,000 range, but above that you will find quite affordable two bedroom units as well."

East Victoria Park
East Victoria Park is one of the very few inner city regions which has maintained some of its character homes and sheik unit blocks. However this shows in the price. The median value of units, according to RP Data for the September period 2008, was $397,500.

Researching the internet for up to date property listings we find that many one bedroom units in East Victoria Park are asking anything as low as $200,000, while two bedroom units are likely to sell more around the $260,000.

East Victoria Park is close to the southern of Perth's CBD and offers great opportunities for first home buyers who can score a character unit or house in the elevated part of the suburb with views of the surrounding area as a bonus.

"Avoid the industrial section in the south east of East Victoria Park and stay clear of Bank Street and Shepparton Road," warns Koulizos.

Victoria Park
Victoria Park is located right next to East Victoria Park and adjacent to the Swan River just 4kms out from Perth CBD. The prime suburbs of South Perth and Kensington surround Victoria Park, putting a floor under the local property market.

"The suburb is full of older style homes and units and breathes renovation opportunities for first time buyers," explains Koulizos. "You really just can't go past the desirable café strip along Albany Highway which has paved footpaths, trees with large canopies, cafes and restaurants."

Victoria Park has direct train access to the city and vendors are currently asking for between $290,000 and $340,000 for a two bedroom unit with a car space/garage, usually with a view overlooking Perth's scenic landscape.

Victoria Park is well known for its variety of active and passive parks, which house everything from soccer, football, hockey and cricket. To the more leisurely activities such as picnics, BBQs and weddings.

McCallum Park and Raphael Park are both located in Victoria Park, while Harold Rossiter Reserve is located in East Victoria Park.

Canberra

If you're buying an owner occupied or an investment unit in Canberra, there is one very important factor that should be on your list of criteria - distance to the CBD. The majority of the action in Canberra is centred around Civic in its CBD, and the closer you are to this area the better. This is mainly because the public transport system in Canberra relies solely on a bus system which unfortunately, isn't quite up to scratch for those having to utilise its facilities.

For this reason Kusher advises buyers to focus their search on suburbs such as Campbell (3kms to the CBD), Curtin (6kms from the CBD) and Belconnen (7kms from the CBD) which all have great amenities in their individual suburb as well.

"The better inner city units in Canberra are those located close to Parliament House or the Closer to Parliament house or the city. There is not a mass transit system in Canberra so those areas and properties close to main roads and the city will grow well in terms of capital growth and will be much better for tenants if you're an investor," explains Kusher.

Campbell
In September last year Campbell had a median unit price of $300,000 and the average unit was being advertising on the market for $280 a week - equating to a gross rental yield of around 4.9%.

Angus Howell, team leader of residential division, Herron Todd White Canberra says Campbell is a very popular suburbs for buyers, as prices provide a more affordable option that the northern side of Canberra.

"Campbell is very close to the city and has a lot of older style cottages on large blocks that people pay big money for," Howell explains.

Campbell is viewed as a "bit of a sleeper of suburb" as Howell explains it, and property is tightly held in the area by owner occupiers.

"Units are older style, not a lot of new development going on," explains Howell.

Campbell has a very good bus route which runs about every half an hour beginning at the City Bus Interchange on Alinga Street.

Curtin
Curtin was slightly more affordable during the month of September 2008, with the median unit price recorded at $274,500. The weekly median advertised rent stood a fraction lower than Campbell at $275 per week. Although due to lower median, Curtin units provides investors with a substantial gross rental yield of 5.2%.

Curtin is just 6 kms from the Canberra CBD area, making it extremely popular for young professionals, families and renters.

Amenities such as Curtin Park, Canberra Nature Park and John James Memorial Hospital are all within close proximity, within a three to five minute drive away.

Belconnen
Belconnen had a median unit price of a slightly higher $330,000 back in September of 2008, and the weekly median advertised rent came in at $350, or 5.5% gross rental yield.

Howell says there are a lot of unit developments going up in the suburb, thanks to increasing demand from buyers and renters.

"Belconnen is very well located as the suburb is also the town centre for the wider Belconnen area. The area has good amenities for residents and there is a high demand for unit accommodation by tenants and from investors to show for it," Howell explains.

"Units in the Belconnen region rent quite well and are popular with owner occupiers who work in the employment hub of Belconnen."

Belconnen is home to the major shopping centre, Westfield Shoppingtown, located on Benjamin Way. Lake Ginninderra is situated at the centre of the suburb at the southern side of the shopping centre. There are also a number of other retail centres surrounding the lake.

Belconnen is also home to the University of Canberra, the Canberra Institute of Technology, the Australian Institute of Sport, Canberra Stadium, the Bruce Indoor Stadium and Calvary Hospital.

Braddon
Koulizos' top pick for the affordable suburbs of Canberra is Braddon, just 1km outside of Civic, in Canberra's CBD. Braddon is adjacent to the suburbs of Turner and Reid and houses older style units which respond excellently well to a bit of TLC and upgrading.

"Look for properties north of Haig Park and avoid North Borne Avenue, which is the main road from Canberra to Sydney," says Koulizos.

The median price for Braddon in September last year was $373,750. The slightly higher median was offset by outstanding median weekly advertised rent of $450, which equated to a very handsome 6.3% gross rental yield figure for investors.

A downward trend over the September quarter of negative 2.9% growth will lower prices slightly, but should not affect the high demand from renters in the area, which is producing the great rental yields.

Braddon highlights some great pubs, restaurants and cafes, has vital amenities such as schools, parks, retail and industrial precincts, and provides as a variety of social and recreational activities.

Howell says renters are paying large rents for units located in the immediate city areas such as Braddon and Turner.

"There are lots of new city development going on in the inner city regions, and because they're so centrally located people are paying big rents. There is a bigger unit market in these inner city regions, and investors are receiving better rental returns and higher capital growth than the outer lying areas for units," explains Howell.

Tasmania

Kusher says the key to buying well in Hobart is securing property close to the CBD and amongst waterfront locations.

"The waterfront areas of Hobart which are also close to the city and areas such as New Town, Howrah and Rokeby can be great places to purchase," Kusher explains.

New Town
The area is popular with families as it offers a range of public high schools. New town's close proximity to Hobart's CBD means that residents and visitors have quick and easy access to facilities such as the Royal Hobart Hospital.

New Town is within walking distance to the CBD, making it easier for residents to enjoy events and lifestyle features such as the Hobart Waterfront Celebration, Hobart's Aquatic Centre, the city's many parks, the weekly Salamanca Markets, as well as its endless supply of boutique and modern shopping, bistros and cafés.

New Town itself is known for its suburban like shopping strip filled with a mixture of both unique stores and large country wide chains.

There is plenty of parking in Hobart, but this can also be a burden to those who own property along main roads. Steer clear of buying property along any main roads and major highways.

New Town is sufficiently serviced with public transport buses provided by Metro Tasmania.

The median unit price for properties in New Town sat at an affordable $217,500 for the month of September last year. This is a 9.4% growth for unit prices over the past 12 months, also ending September 2008.

Montrose
If you're willing to travel a little further to get into Hobart city , and are willing to sacrifice proximity for unbelievably low prices and significant capital growth, you should look towards the suburb of Montrose, 8 kms from Hobart CBD.

Units in Montrose average around the $184,500 mark and have experienced a massive 15.3% growth in prices over the last year ending September 2008.

Montrose is filled with classic weatherboard style houses selling for under $250,000, and some newer style units beginning from around $150,000. There are also quite a few 1960's style red brick homes beginning for around $215,000 for a two bedroom, one bathroom, one car space house.

Montrose is home to the Montrose Yacht Club, and is very close to the arterial Brooker Highway, which gives residents and visitors easy access to King George Fifth Park and Elwick Racecourse. The Broker Highway also leads directly into the heart of Hobart, through Goodwood. Lutana, Cornelian Bay, Queens Domain (off Domain Highway), North Hobart and Glebe.

If you're buying in the area steer clear of properties located directly on the highway, due to noise.

North Hobart
North Hobart is just 1 km away from the city and the harbour in Hobart. It is filled with beautiful Georgian style homes and units blocks which Koulizos says each make up 50% of dwellings in the suburb.

Median unit prices in the suburb were around $334,000 for the month of September last year and vendors are currently asking around $300,000 for a two bedroom unit with one bathroom and one car space or garage.

"If you're looking to buy in North Hobart, look to buy a period style home or character style unit in any of North Hobart's wide streets, as these properties respond well to renovations," explains Koulizos.

"Attempt to get a property with views and attempt to get close to the cafes in Elizabeth Street."

If you're buying in North Hobart stick with period style units or houses in wide streets located within close proximity to restaurants and cafés in Elizabeth Street. Koulizos says the most popular streets tend to be Newdegate and Browne streets.

Although it can be a good idea to buy close to Elizabeth Street, Koulizos recommends you steer clear of the eastern side of Elizabeth Street where there are lots of warehouses and live industry. Also avoid buying property east of Argyle Street.

Koulizos also recommends the suburb of South Hobart, which is next door to the prime suburbs of Sandy Bay and Battery Point, and very close to the University of Tasmania. Vendors of properties located in South Hobart are asking a very affordable $340,000 to $360,000 for a three to five bedroom character home. If you're focusing your search on South Perth, avoid the light industrial precinct next to the Hobart Rivulet.

Darwin

The inner city unit market of Darwin is fast becoming a popular area for first home buyers and investors to score great buys. Hence, the median unit prices have begun to increase to between $243,000 for the low end of the market to around $325,000 for the more desirable suburbs.

Stuart Park
Stuart Park, located just 2kms from the CBD in Darwin offers a wide range of units, ideal for first home buyers living or investing in the area. Vendors in Stuart Park are currently asking between $240,000 for an older style two bedroom apartment, all the way up to $400,000 for a newer style two bedroom apartment.

"Stuart Park is so close to the city and has the bonus of looking over Charles Darwin National Park, which is a major drawcard," explains Kusher.

Stuart Park achieves an even more impressive yield for investors - of 7.0%, or $390 per week - providing a good cash flow position for first time investors buying in at medians of $290,000.

Nightcliff
Nightcliff (8kms from Darwin's CBD) and Coconut Grove (7kms from Darwin's CBD) are also extremely popular because of their waterfront locations.

The median unit price for Nightcliff was recorded at $245,000 for the month of September last year, while Coconut Grove came in at a slightly higher $296,250. Both suburbs achieve decent rental yields, for those thinking of buying for investment purposes.

Nightcliff achieves around $270 a week in rent, which translates to a gross rental yield of 5.7%. Coconut Grove achieves a weekly median advertised rent of around $350 and a gross rental yield of 6.1%.

*This article was first published in the February, 2009 issue of Your Mortgage magazine.