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PRD  →  Research Hub  →  Roaring Regions - Top 10 Affordable Regional Areas 2024

Roaring Regions - Top 10 Affordable Regional Areas 2024

As of the December quarter of 2023, housing affordability in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, and the Australian Capital Territory have been all at their lowest in 20 years. In the past 12 months (to the December quarter of 2023), the weighted average capital city Australian median house price grew by 5.3% to $$1,005,242, making us officially a ‘million-dollar country’.

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The start of 2024 marks a new economic period in Australia, with the cash rate being held steady for the first time after a series of cash rate hikes. This brought cautious hope for many, regardless of their property journey. There is now evidence of a market recovery, which is mostly occurring in undersupplied areas, with no-to-very-little new stock planned for construction. With interest rates currently steady and demand growing, prices are gaining momentum.

The PRD ‘Roaring Regions: Top 10 Affordable Regional Areas 2024’ report presents options to those looking to achieve the great Australian dream of home ownership, looking at areas outside of metro and capital cities.

The number of first home buyers grew by 16.8% in the quarter and by 12.8% in the past 12 months (to December 2023). Thus, now is the time to act, before house prices inevitable travel further up.

Five selection criteria were used to select the top 10 regional areas:

  1. Affordability – the Local Government Area (LGA) has a median house price below the calculated maximum affordable property sale price, which is the state average loan + 20% (assumed deposit for an approved mortgage home loan).
  2. Property trends – to ensure statistical reliability, the LGA considered must have 20 sales or more in 2023 and 2024, with positive median house price growth within that time period.
  3. Investment – to ensure conducive investment opportunities, the LGA will have an on-par or higher rental yield than its capital city, as well as an on-par or lower vacancy rate compared to its capital city.
  4. Project development – the LGA will have a high estimated value of future project development, with a higher concentration of commercial and infrastructure projects to ensure a positive economic outlook.
  5. Unemployment rate – as of January 2024, the Australian unemployment rate was 4.1%. The LGA will have an on-par or lower unemployment rate than the Australian average, to ensure local job growth.

Based on the above methodology and selection criteria, the following 10 regional locations were deemed to be affordable areas with solid fundamentals for sustainable future growth:

  • Mackay Regional Council, QLD
  • Toowoomba Regional Council, QLD
  • Townsville City Council, QLD
  • Dubbo Regional Council, NSW
  • Tamworth City Council, NSW
  • Griffith City Council, NSW
  • City of Ballarat, VIC
  • City of Greater Shepparton, VIC
  • Wodonga City Council, VIC
  • City of Burnie, TAS

All chosen LGAs have a median house price of less than $600,000, which is a much higher threshold than the 2023 report of $500,000. These further drives home the unaffordability of homes.

That said, the $600,000 highest threshold (among chosen LGAs) is approximately 27.3% lower than Brisbane’s, 33.9% lower than Melbourne’s, 62.4% less than Sydney’s and 18.9% lower than Hobart’s median house prices as of the December quarter of 2023; providing hope to first home buyers.



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