Post rate hike property search: What can $1 million get you in a capital city?

houses everyhwere in australia arial view

Wherever you look you’ll find that the median house price in most Australian capital cities has moved closer to one million dollars.

A recent Australian Bureau of Statistics report has found that the combined national mean price of a capital city house sits at around $920,100.

So the likelihood of paying $1 million or more for a new house is high. But what exactly can that sum get you in each capital city?

For starters, the cost of your new home depends on which city you’re in and the property's location. Usually, the closer you’re to the central business district (CBD), the more expensive and smaller the property will be. 

Chances are that you’ll probably be looking at apartments or townhouses rather than detached houses. However, farther out you travel from the CBD, it’s more likely you’ll find bigger places and lots for the same amount. 

Using data and property insights from Domain and CoreLogic, together with the ABS figures, let’s take a general look at how far your money can go around the country.

Buying in Sydney

sydney skyline

Famous for its iconic Opera House and Harbor Bridge, property competition in Sydney is fierce, with the mean price of a house being $1,207,200 – making it one of the most expensive in the country. 

The chance of finding a house in the heart of the city for $1 million is like finding a needle in a haystack. You are more likely to find a 1 bedroom 1 bath apartment for that price, and if you’re really lucky it’ll even come with a parking spot. Sadly, many apartments tend to be small with an average of just 55 metres squared.

However, once you start travelling out of the main CBD area, the size of the property grows and typically, the price tends to decrease. 

Below is a nifty graph showing what $1 million could get you. As you can see, farther out from the CBD, the likelihood of getting a good house with 2-3 spacious bedrooms for the same price increases. You can also find 2 bedroom apartments below the $1 million mark.

The exception is Parramatta, which has basically become another city precinct with skyrocketing property prices over the years.

property sydney

Buying in Melbourne

melbourne skyline

Famous for its coffee, cafes and vibrant art culture, finding a property in Melbourne for $1 million is a smidge easier than in Sydney. ABS data shows a property's average price is $956,100.

Living in the heart of any city isn’t cheap but in Melbourne, you can potentially find a 2 bedroom place with an average size of 68 metres squared. 

Several Domain property listings have 2 bedroom apartments to be under $800,000. 

Venturing away from the city into St. Kilda, Ashwood or Narren Warren, you’ll more likely find a house with several bedrooms, a garage and even a backyard for a dog.

property melbourne

Buying in Brisbane

brisbane skyline

Queensland’s capital is well known for its constantly warm and sunny weather. If the thongs and shorts lifestyle is for you, this could be an excellent place to live. The mean price for property here is $749,100, which means that $1 million might get you a lovely 3-bedroom apartment with a parking spot (and potentially more) with breathtaking views of the city.

In nearby suburbs like Enoggera, Windsor and Woolloongabba, you might find several 3 to 4 bedroom houses with a garage and a backyard well below $1 million.

property in brisbane

Buying in Adelaide

adelaide skyline

Australia’s fifth largest is known for its vibrant city life filled with several festivals and being near some of the best wineries in the country. You’d think this city would be competing with Melbourne and Sydney as the most expensive place to buy, but the reality is that Adelaide is one of the more affordable Australian cities.

The mean house price here sits at $614,300, and it’s worth noting that at the high end, Adelaide’s property market has listings for 2 and 3 bedroom penthouses for less than $1 million.

Also, if you travel to nearby suburbs like Norwood, Dulwich and Richmond you’ll find that $1 million could get you larger properties and houses that would possibly be three times the price in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra.

adelaide property

Buying in Canberra

canberra skyline

Canberra has become one of the most expensive cities to buy property in, which could be fair given its pleasant, low key vibe and scenery.

The mean house cost is $979,600, putting it right after Sydney on price.

Even though property values are rising generally, finding a 1 or 2 bedroom apartment in the CBD is still cheaper than in Sydney and Melbourne. You can even find a 3 bedroom apartment well within a $ 1 million budget. Houses are another story. 

To find a house with 2 to 3 bedrooms for less than $1 million, it’s best to venture out to suburbs like Narrabundah, Red Hill, Kingston and Griffith. The graph below shows what you may find when you leave the main CBD area.

property canberra

Buying in Perth

perth skyline

Filled with white sand beaches, a sunny climate and a laid-back vibe, Perth has become a popular place to live and buy in recent years. Its current mean price is $614,300–the same as Adelaide’s. 

With $1 million you can find 2 to 3 bedroom apartments, terraces, duplexes and houses in the CBD and the nearby suburbs. 

In the last few years, the Perth housing market has experienced a steady decline due to an oversupply of properties and a lack of buyer demand. Consider that in a recent CoreLogic report, only 50% of the properties available in Perth sold.

property perth

Buying in Darwin

darwin skyline

The Northern Territory capital is known for its rugged geography and wonderful crocodiles. Australia’s smallest capital has the lowest mean price for properties at just $489,000.

With $1 million, you might find a stunning modern house with 5 bedrooms and ocean views in suburbs like Bayview, Woolner and Fannie Bay. Alternatively, you might buy 1 or 2 bedroom apartments in the CBD for half a million dollars, or a 3 bedroom place for just over $600,000.

property darwin

Buying in Hobart

hobart skyline

Known for Mt. Wellington and beautiful weather, Tasmania’s capital city has a mean property price of $649,200–making it slightly more expensive than Perth and Adelaide. 

With $1 million, you could find 2 to 3 bedroom houses and apartments in the city's heart. But if you travel to suburbs like Mt. Stuart, West Hobart and Sandy Bay, you may find much bigger places.

property hobart

If you’re looking for a home loan to buy a lovely property in a capital city, check out our home loan comparison table below to get started.

Home loan comparisons on Mozo - last updated 13 August 2022

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* WARNING: This comparison rate applies only to the example or examples given. Different amounts and terms will result in different comparison rates. Costs such as redraw fees or early repayment fees, and cost savings such as fee waivers, are not included in the comparison rate but may influence the cost of the loan. The comparison rate displayed is for a secured loan with monthly principal and interest repayments for $150,000 over 25 years.

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