Melbourne Property Investment Update 2021

Despite a tough 2020 with the impacts of COVID-19, Melbourne’s housing market and economy is showing signs of recovery, making now a great time to invest in this city.

Updated 06 May 2021

Since 2002 Melbourne has consistently ranked in the world’s top three livable cities by the Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) Global Liveability Index, even taking out the top spot for 7 consecutive years from 2011 to 20171. This achievement has made Melbourne an ideal location for international and national migration and has resulted in the demand for the city to steadily increase every year. 

Melbourne Housing Market

When investing in property, an understanding of a location's housing market in relation to current and previous trends can be beneficial. Melbourne’s property market has historically been one of the top performers in Australia.

The popularity of living in Melbourne can be reflected in the median house and unit prices of the city as shown below. From December 2003 to 2020, both the house and unit prices in Melbourne have experienced significant growth with houses increasing from $320,000 to $750,000 and units seeing an increase from $285,000 to $605,000.

Source: Median price (unstratified) and number of transfers (capital city and rest of state)

Of course, 2020 was particularly rough for Melbourne as it experienced the longest lockdown period of any capital city in Australia. This resulted in the median house price seeing a 1.57% decrease in December 2020, compared to December 20192. However, despite the decrease in median house prices, units in Melbourne managed to see a 0.83% increase over the same period. 

Despite a difficult time in Melbourne in 2020, the resilience of the property market has been evident as in early 2021 we are starting to see an upward trend in the market. Following the trends of other capital cities, in April 2021 Melbourne’s housing market is recording a 1.29% growth month on month on Corelogic’s Home Value Index3.

This steady recovery and resilience to COVID-19 in Melbourne’s housing market can be attributed to many factors such as the historic low interest rates, mortgage repayment holiday options during the peak of COVID-19 and extension of the JobKeeper program by the Federal Government. 

Based on the historical data and current market trends, we can expect to see the Melbourne property market continue to grow. A recent report by ANZ has forecasted that property prices are expected to increase by 16% in Melbourne in 20214 - its strongest growth year since the 1980s. This makes now a great time to enter the market by investing in property in Melbourne. 

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Melbourne Economy and Infrastructure

Being the state capital, Melbourne is the central hub of Victoria when it comes to business, culture and recreational activities. With a booming economy, Melbourne’s 3 biggest industries are finance, IT and hospitality and in 2019 the city contributed to 7% of Australia’s total economy5

As Melbourne endured the longest lockdown period in Australia due to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, the city saw significant impacts to their economy. PWC forecasted in September 2020 that the top 3 industries would see 38,300 in job losses and a drop of $8.86b in economic output in 2020 compared to the figures in 20196.

Despite the setbacks that COVID-19 had to their economy, the City of Melbourne acted quickly to support businesses and begin its recovery immediately. 

The City’s recovery plan included these key initiatives:

  • $50m economic support package

    Rates relief, rental relief, grants and a virtual summit.

  • Business concierge service

    One-on-one support for local businesses

  • $175.8m Capital works budget

    Including Queen Victoria Market renewal project, climate action initiatives and community and cycling infrastructure projects .

  • 40km of protected bike lanes

    Fast tracked to ensure the city stays connected.

  • $17m Arts investment

    In grants and art organisations

  • Greening the City Program 

    150,000 new trees and shrubs planted throughout the city. 

These key initiatives put in place by the Melbourne Government have been selected to reactivate the city and begin building economic resilience. 

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Melbourne Rental Yields

Rental yield is one of the most important figures to understand when investing in a property. It is essentially the amount of money you make on an investment property by measuring the gap between your overall costs and the income you receive from renting out your property. 

The impact of 2020 has also affected the rental yield to both houses and units in Melbourne, with the city experiencing a 10 year low rental yield in April 2021 of 3.3% for units and 2.6% for houses7. Traditionally Melbourne’s rental market has remained relatively steady, however the effects of coronavirus and the extended lockdowns in the city have increased the vacancy rates in Melbourne to its peak in December 2020 of 4.7%8

With the withdrawal of international students and the decline in rental accommodation in 2020, Melbourne’s rental market has taken a hit, with rental yields and asking rent decreasing while vacancies have increased. This is important to consider when looking to invest in Melbourne as despite the property market looking to recover with increases in property prices, the rental market is still seeing low numbers compared to the previous trends.  

Best Suburbs in Melbourne to Invest

There are of course many suburbs in Melbourne that are great locations to begin or grow your investment portfolio. Through our analysis of the Melbourne property market, we have identified suburbs in the high, medium and low end that may be a great opportunity to begin your investment journey with. These 3 suburbs were chosen due to their proximity to the CBD, historical property growth and potential rental yields and may serve as a guide that we believe can provide strong results if you’re looking to invest in property. 

Key Stats

House

Unit

Median buying price 

$398,250

$335,000

Median rent (per week)

$320

$300

Rental Yield

4.2%

4.7%

Distance to CBD

43.2km

Source: https://www.realestate.com.au/neighbourhoods/melton-3337-vic

Melton, located in the Greater Melbourne area, is a great location for entering Melbourne’s property market as an investor. With low median prices and strong rental yield figures, Melton provides itself as an affordable opportunity for any investor looking to receive a good rental return on their property. Despite the low prices compared to the city’s median, houses and units in Melton have seen a compound growth rate of 9.3% and 7.3%, respectively, over the past 5 years.

Key Stats

House

Unit

Median buying price 

$740,000

$642,500

Median rent (per week)

$420

$430

Rental Yield

3.0%

3.5%

Distance to CBD

13km

Source: https://www.realestate.com.au/neighbourhoods/brooklyn-3012-vic

Located just 13km from Melbourne’s CBD, Brooklyn is an affordable suburb with great appeal. With house and unit prices sitting close to the city’s median, Brooklyn is seen as a cheaper alternative to bordering suburbs such as Yarraville, which sees its’ median house prices sit at over $1 million9. Along with its affordability, properties in Brooklyn are seeing rental yields above the city’s median and are experiencing a consistently high compound growth rate of 5.7% for houses and 6.7% for units over 5 years.

Key Stats

House

Unit

Median buying price

$1,044,500

$533,750

Median rent (per week)

$580

$400

Rental Yield

2.9%

3.9%

Distance to CBD

4.8km

Source: https://www.realestate.com.au/neighbourhoods/kensington-3031-vic 

If you are looking to invest in the Melbourne market with a larger budget and closer to the CBD, now is a good time to invest in Kensington. Despite maintaining an upward trend in house prices in 2020, the housing market has slightly dropped at the start of 2021 in Kensington seeing a 5.33% decrease in the median price from December 2020  to March 2021. This decrease can make now a good time to invest in Kensington as the compound growth rate over 5 years is still strong at 4.5% and the rental yields for houses are performing above the city’s median.

How to invest in the Melbourne property market

If you’re ready to start investing in Melbourne, the next step in your journey is to speak with a broker to apply for an investment loan. 

For your first investment property, we have created a beginners guide to outline the main factors you need to consider and the costs involved here

When applying for an investment home loan, it is best to understand what type of loan is right for you and the associated rates. You can compare investment loans across multiple lenders from our panel here or speak to a Mortgage Choice Broker who can go through your situation, compare the loans available and find the loan that’s right for you. 

We’re here to help

Of course, this is only a starting point, as there are many areas in Melbourne that can offer similar or greater investment opportunities. If you’re interested in investing in Melbourne and are ready to get the process started, it is best to speak with your local Mortgage Choice broker to get expert advice on your property investing journey.

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