A new property report has revealed what $500,000 or less could buy you throughout the Illawarra - and the findings may be surprising.
According to the latest report from property valuation and advisory firm Herron Todd White, declining residential property prices throughout 2018 and 2019 means that $500,000 is now "back in play" in many areas of the Illawarra.
They analysed market data and highlighted a series of recent sales of properties under $500,000.
*An older three-bedroom home on 643qm at 246 Tongarra Road, Albion Park sold for $480,000 in June.
*A basic updated three-bedroom home at 15 Morgan Avenue, Mount Warrigal sold for $395,000 in June.
*A 1970s renovated two-bedroom ground floor unit at 2/30 Kembla Street, Wollongong sold for $425,000 in June.
*A partially renovated three-bedroom villa at 3/4 Edyth Street, Bellambi sold for $420,000 in May.
Meanwhile, the report also notes that for buyers after volume, $500,000 could purchase two blocks of land such as an 800sqm block in Bomaderry that recently sold for $242,000, or a 640sqm split level lot in Calderwood which sold for $220,000.
In the report, Herron Todd White's residential director for South East NSW Chris McKenna also said that the property market is cyclical and will return to an upward trend at some stage.
"Recent indications are that buyer activity has picked up and auction clearance rates are returning to decent levels," he said.
"These are signs that the market may have bottomed, however we will need to see a longer term trend to be confident of this."
Mr McKenna also said that investors with $500,000 to spend need to consider factors including the immediate return from rental income along with longer term capital growth.
"While rental growth has also slowed recently, we haven't seen too much decline," he said.
"This means that returns to investors are looking a lot more inviting than 12 to 18 months ago.
"Consider an older style two-bedroom unit in Wollongong for $400,000 and rented at $375 per week, a gross return of 4.9 per cent.
"The same unit would have sold for $460,000 just 18 months ago and the return then would have been 4.2 per cent.
"On the other hand, capital growth is a lot harder to predict.
"From 2013 to 2017, the market grew across all residential sectors in the Illawarra and it is very difficult to say that one spot will perform better than another."