The Illawarra has featured prominently in a list of the top 10 most affordable suburbs in NSW.
RiskWise Property Research has analysed the housing market and identified the top suburbs for affordable houses.
Suburbs in the Central Coast region, Illawarra and Sydney's Outer West have all made it into the list, with houses coming in between $700,000 and $800,000, compared to Greater Sydney's median price of $1.01 million.
The Illawarra suburbs to make the list were Cordeaux Heights (median house price of $709,667 as of September), Figtree ($713,522), West Wollongong ($726,476) and Shellharbour ($732,861).
This list focuses on houses, not units, and is based on suburbs that are about 70 per cent of Sydney's medium price and with at least 1000 houses in the existing stock.
Pete Wargent, co-founder of buyer's agency service BuyersBuyers.com.au said despite COVID-19, the Sydney property is strongly forging ahead.
However, he said there are still "irresistible" pockets of affordable houses about 70 per cent of the median price compared to the capital city.
"The lowest mortgage rates on record mean that all cities now offer opportunities for those with a reasonable buffer and a level of employment security," Mr Wargent said.
Mr Wargent said price growth over the past five years in some parts of the Illawarra has been less pronounced than in Sydney, especially areas that aren't so easily connected to the capital.
"However, COVID-19 has seen more people willing to work from home, hold virtual meetings, and seek lower density areas, so there is a real sea change movement afoot, which will a positive factor for the South Coast," he said.
Mr Wargent said the Illawarra market offered a number of advantages.
"Outstanding lifestyle, great beaches, attractive countryside nearby, fresh produce, a family-friendly atmosphere, and still within striking distance of Sydney," he said.
"What's not to like about the Illawarra region?"
A shortage of stock?
Pete Wargent from BuyersBuyers.com.au said housing stock levels have been unusually low this year in the Illawarra, "as many potential sellers have opted to sit on their hands and wait things out".
"So it's a difficult environment for buyers with not much choice," he said.
"Use a local buyer's agent with local market knowledge to help with sourcing stock if you can."
However, he said first home buyers are coming surging back into the market due to the incentives on offer, so advised buyers to make sure they understood what they qualified for.
"Sometimes incentives are to buy new property, but buying brand new can come with its own risks, so take professional advice if you aren't sure," he said.
RiskWise CEO Doron Peleg said the latest analysis indicated that houses, not units, represented solid buying opportunities for those with long-term strategies.
He said this was reflected in the latest Westpac Consumer House Price Expectations Index, which saw a surge of 21.7 per cent in September after falling 51 per cent in April.
Mr Peleg said the Sydney property market in particular had been on the improve with preliminary auction clearance rates above the 70 per cent mark, similar to those levels of 12 months ago.
"But there are still areas where bargains can be had and if you have a long-term strategy you can expect solid capital growth over the next few years," he said.
"The current ultra-low interest rates have created a unique environment where buying a house in many areas was cheaper than paying rent on one."
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