Best Cities to Buy a Coastal Home in Australia in 2021

Here we explore 10 of our favourite coastal cities that demonstrate excellent value if you are looking for that seachange lifestyle when buying your home.

Article published 21 January 2021

Australia has always been known for its great beaches and spectacular coastline. Over the years, coastal cities in Australia have seen more than just tourism boosts as many Australians have opted to migrate to coastal homes in cities with beaches rather than a move closer to their state’s capital. 

In 2020, we saw remote work become more normalised, causing the appeal and value of coastal properties to rise even further as the option of working remotely in a seaside town has become even more possible. Here we explore 10 of our favourite coastal cities that demonstrate excellent value if you are looking for that seachange lifestyle when buying your home. 

Top coastal cities by state

Wollongong, NSW

Coastal city and coastal properties summary

Median unit price: $550,000

Median house price: $811,000

Distance from capital city: 1 hour 30 minute drive to Sydney CBD

Beaches: 17 patrolled beaches in Wollongong LGA

Wollongong is a coastal city in NSW that has long been popular with people looking for a seaside change as the lifestyle allows a strong connection to Sydney CBD, due to it’s direct train line. Units in Wollongong have shown to be a popular destination for first home buyers, receiving the highest amount of enquiries in regional NSW from April - September 2020. With close access to many great beaches, without giving up too much of a city lifestyle, it’s clear why Wollongong is becoming a coastal town for many home buyers. 

Coffs Harbour, NSW

Coastal city and coastal properties summary

Median unit price: $368,000

Median house price: $545,000

Distance from capital city: 4hr 26min drive to Brisbane CBD / 5hr 23min drive to Sydney CBD

Beaches: 8 patrolled beaches in Coffs Harbour LGA

On the mid-north coast of NSW, essentially the halfway point between Sydney and Brisbane, lies Coffs Harbour, one of NSW’s popular tourist destinations. Most famous for the famous Big Banana, Coffs Harbour also boasts beautiful beaches, an airport, mountains and a coastal city full of working potential. The increase in remote working that has come from many business in 2020, along with new government infrastructure included in the Federal Budget is likely to have contributed to Coffs Harbour’s increasing popularity among home buyers, with Coffs Harbor seeing the strongest prices growth of any city in NSW between June and September 2020 of 8.7%.

Belmont, VIC

Coastal city and coastal properties summary

Median unit price: $482,000

Median house price: $605,500

Distance from capital city: 1 hour 13 minute drive to Melbourne CBD

Beaches: 16 beaches within 15k of Belmont

Belmont is a coastal city in VIC, part of the greater Geelong region. It holds a similar appeal to Wollongong for Victorians as it provides a close proximity to major cities while still getting direct benefits to a seaside town. Houses in Belmont have seen the highest number of enquiries from first home buyers in Victoria that may be attributed to the lower value in house prices whilst still being close to many popular spots in Victoria. 

Jan Juc, VIC

Coastal city and coastal properties summary

Median house price: $960,000

Distance from capital city: 1 hour 21 minutes from Melbourne CBD

Beaches: 7 beaches within 15km of Jan Juc

The city of Jan Juc is located at the beginning of the Great Ocean Road. Whilst being home to some of Australia’s best beaches, Jan Juc benefits from being a 20 minute drive to the city of Geelong and only 1 hour 20 minutes from the capital city of Melbourne, providing that flexibility of living in a seaside town, with the option to commute for work. Properties for sale in Jan Juc have received the highest views per listing across all regions suburbs in Victoria from April to September 2020, indicating its growing popularity for all home buyers. 

Surfers Paradise, QLD

Coastal city and coastal properties summary

Median unit price: $400,000

Median house price: $1,800,000

Distance from capital city: 1 hour 4 minute drive to Brisbane CBD

Beaches: 16 beaches within 15km of Surfers Paradise

Surfers Paradise has long been a popular coastal city in Australia due to being the major city of the Gold Coast region. With beaches and many shopping centres available to keep you busy during the day, Surfers Paradise is well known for its lively nightlife. The low price of units in this city along with the proximity to Brisbane and the fun lifestyle showcased has led to Surfers Paradise units becoming the most enquired suburb in Queensland for first home buyers and investors from April to September 2020. 

Tugun, QLD

Coastal city and coastal properties summary

Median unit price: $496,500

Median house price: $730,000

Distance from capital city: 1 hour 9 minutes to Brisbane CBD

Beaches: 16 beaches within 10km of Tugun

Similarly to Surfers Paradise, Tugun is a coastal town in the Gold Coast region, however Tugun is viewed as quite a different lifestyle to that of Surfers Paradise due to having a more small town feel. Unlike Surfers Paradise, Tugun does not boast about a thriving nightlife, yet the appeal comes from its homey streets, offering a more relaxing lifestyle, while still only being just over an hour away from Brisbane’s CBD. These factors as well as the lower house prices when compared to Surfers Paradise showcases Tugun’s increasing popularity as it has become the suburb in regional Queensland to receive the highest views per listing from April to September 2020. 

Burleigh Heads, QLD

Coastal city and coastal properties summary

Median unit price: $570,000

Median house price: $910,000

Distance from capital city: 1 hour 5 minutes to Brisbane CBD

Beaches: 16 beaches within 7km of Burleigh Heads

Located in between Surfers Paradise and Tugun, Burleigh Heads is another great coastal town in the Gold Coast region of Queensland that has generated a lot of interest from home buyers recently. Although more of a tourist destination than Tugun, Burleigh Heads still benefits from a small town feel that you won't find in Surfers Paradise. It’s these attributes that make Burleigh Heads a thriving community and just behind Tugun as the suburb in regional Queensland with the 2nd highest views per listing on properties for sale between April and September 2020. 

Port Eliot, SA

Coastal city and coastal properties summary

Median house price: $525,000

Distance from capital city: 1 hour 14 minute drive to Adelaide CBD

Beaches: 16 beaches within 7km of Port Elliot

Located between Victor Harbor and Middleton on the Fleurieu Peninsula of SA, Port Elliot has quickly become a popular destination for people looking at buying a property in a coastal town while still being possible to commute to Adelaide. Whilst it is traditionally seen as a holiday location, Port Elliot has received the highest number of views for house listing for sale during April to September 2020. The popularity of Port Elliot is shown through a 383% increase in median house price from 2000 to 2020, as it appears more and more people are inclined to take advantage of living in a town that is home to the most famous beaches in South Australia, while still having the opportunity to work in Adelaide either through commuting or remote work opportunities.

Mount Gambier, SA

Coastal city and coastal properties summary

Median unit price: $188,500

Median house price: $275,000

Distance from capital city: 4hr 36min to Adelaide CBD / 4hr 5min drive to Melbourne CBD

Beaches: No local beaches, although surrounded by lakes, caves and gardens 

Unlike the other coastal cities listed here, Mount Gambier is not known for stunning beaches, but for being home to the Blue lake, craters, cakes, sinkholes, underground waterways and beautiful gardens. Whilst having all these natural wonders in the city, Mount Gambier is still only a 20 minute drive to the coast. Despite not being able to commute to a major city from Mount Gambier, it is the major service centre for the Limestone Coast region, and provides many city amenities. In April to September 2020, Mount Gambier received the most enquiries from both first home buyers and investors of any South Australian suburb, as more people are looking to relocate to remote areas and Mount Gambier is able to offer a unique volcanic atmosphere with low house prices.  

If you are looking for a lifestyle change to be close to the beach but want the option of travelling to a capital city, these coastal cities are a great starting point for that sea change lifestyle. As many industries are beginning to embrace working from home, now may be the to speak to your local Mortgage Choice broker and take advantage of the relaxing lifestyle that comes with living in a coastal home. 

Margaret River, WA

Coastal city and coastal properties summary

Median unit price: $300,000

Median house price: $488,500

Distance from capital city: 3 hour 4 minute drive to Perth CBD 

Beaches: 16 beaches within 9km of Margaret River

Unlike other seaside towns mentioned in this list, Margaret River does not provide an easy commute to the nearest major city. However, with it’s famous wines, beaches, and nature trails there is no real reason to want to leave. Margaret River has become the 2nd most enquired town in WA, and in most years draws over 1.5 million tourists to bask in its beauty. The main street of Margaret River is currently undergoing a major development transformation to accommodate the demand for this city and help create a more enjoyable and livable community. 

If you are looking for a lifestyle change to be close to the beach but want the option of travelling to a capital city, these coastal cities are a great starting point for that sea change lifestyle. As many industries are beginning to embrace working from home, now may be the to speak to your local Mortgage Choice broker and take advantage of the relaxing lifestyle that comes with living in a coastal home. 



Posted in: Property market


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