Affordable suburbs top house sales list

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They may not have topped any investor lists of hot locations, but some of the most affordable suburban spots across Australia are leading the house sales count in recent months.

Young family havens with lower prices like Sydney's Blacktown, Belconnen of Canberra, Stirling of Perth, and Palmerston of Darwin, were amongst the locations that topped sales activity in the March quarter, according to a report this week by RP Data.

Across the nation's capital cities, the largest jump in market activity occurred in the range of $300,000 to $400,000, said the report. First homebuyers have led this charge, and the numbers are now coming out to back preliminary reports of increased buyer activity. As a percentage of all owner occupiers, first homebuyers have increased from just 12.6% of the market to 27.3% in the five years to March 2009.

It's also translated to some price growth in these areas, fueled by the demand. RP Data National Research Director Tim Lawless said this growth is likely to be durable, despite some speculation by other experts that prices would go bust once government incentives to first homebuyers end, as planned, at the end of the year.

"Home values in Australia's mortgage belts, which are the prime first homebuyer markets, were flat or falling between 2004-2007, while the inner city and affluent markets enjoyed consistent growth," he said. "In 2008-2009, we've seen a reversal of those fortunes."

The RP Data report also shows these new buyers have tried to stay near the major cities they once rented in, albeit in more affordable locations. In each state and territory, the largest amount of sales in the March quarter were mostly in suburbs below the median price of the area.

In Sydney, Blacktown, Wyong, Gosford, Lake Macquarie and Penrith sold the most houses in the quarter. Around Melbourne, it was Greater Geelong, Casey, the Mornington Peninsula, Frankston and Melville.

Brisbane, with a house price median of $474,977 had the highest percentage of national sales for one location in the quarter, at 4.4%, followed by fellow Queensland locations Moreton Bay at 2.4% and Gold Coast City at 2.4%.


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