The million dollar club

The million dollar clubOver the 12 months to February 2010 there were 165 suburbs nationwide that recorded a median price of at least $1 million for either houses or units. In comparison, during the previous 12 months there were 147 suburbs nationally with a median price of at least $1 million, indicating that the number of $1 million suburbs has increased by 12% over the last year. Despite the jump in $million suburbs, there are still fewer than what was recorded pre-GFC.

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Interestingly, during the year to February 2008, Western Australia had 36 suburbs with a median price of more than $1 million. As at February 2010 there were 26 suburbs with a median of at least $1 million, 10 fewer than that recorded at the peak. The total number of $1 million suburbs remains below the Feb-08 peak also in New South Wales, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory but in each instance it is only one suburb fewer than the peak.

New South Wales has recorded 95 suburbs with a median house price of at least $1 million in comparison to 84 suburbs last year. Of these 95 suburbs, only one is located outside of Sydney, Bar Beach in Newcastle. In fact, across the country out of 165 suburbs with a median price of at least $1 million only four suburbs, or 2.4%, are situated outside of the capital cities. Two of these suburbs are located on Queensland’s Gold Coast.

Across the list, houses obviously dominate over units with only four entries for units and the remaining 161 for houses.

In comparison to five years ago the number of suburbs with a price tag of at least $1 million has increased by 104%, jumping from 81 suburbs nationally to 165 suburbs.

New South Wales has consistently had the greatest number of $1 million plus suburbs. During the last 12 months Sydney suburbs have accounted for 58% of all $1 million plus suburbs, five years ago Sydney accounted for 79% of all $1 million plus sales nationally.

Looking across Local Government Areas (LGA), North Sydney had the greatest number of suburbs with a median price of at least $1 million with 11 followed by other Sydney regions such as: Woollahra and Ku-Ring-Gai (both 10) and Waverley and Willoughby (both 8).

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Outside of Sydney, Boroondarra has Victoria’s greatest number of $1 million plus suburbs with 7 and the Brisbane LGA was home to 7.

Across the country, the suburb with the current highest median price is Peppermint Grove in Perth where prices sit at $4,537,500. The median price at Peppermint Grove is more than $1 million higher than the second most expensive suburb, Vaucluse

Of the nation’s 20 most expensive suburbs, 14 are located in New South Wales (all of which are in Sydney), four suburbs are in Western Australia (3 in Perth), and there is one each in Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory.

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A notable absentee from the list is Sydney’s Point Piper. No doubt Point Piper is probably the nation’s most expensive suburb however, it rarely records 10 sales or more during a 12 month period and as a result reliable median prices can’t be calculated.

Overall, the results show that the $1 million plus market has generally bounced back well during the last year. This has occurred off the back of many of these suburbs recording a slump in median prices during the previous 12 months as a lack of willing buyers hampered growth in the premium market. Moving forward, we anticipate as the overall market slows the premium end of the market will continue to outperform.

Tim Lawless is the Director of Property Research at RP Data.

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