Get in while you can: The once-booming suburbs offering a window of opportunity

Home values are rising across the country, but prices in some suburbs have become a bit more affordable after a period of exceptionally strong growth.

New data from PropTrack has revealed the suburbs where prices declined over the past year after surging in value the year prior, highlighting the previously-booming areas where homes may now be selling cheaper.

Comparing changes in median sale prices over the past two years shows prices soared by hundreds of thousands of dollars in one year in some suburbs, before coming back down to earth the next year.

Causes for the swings in pricing vary, and contrast with trends seen in the property market over the past few years.

A broad downturn was triggered by interest rate rises starting in May 2022, but by 2023 prices started to recover, eventually pushing prices to record highs in many areas.

But a different trend can be seen in some suburbs, with strong growth recorded during the trough in the market, before a pullback in prices at the time when most areas were recovering.


Many of the once-booming suburbs with the biggest declines were highly desirable hotspots with multi-million price tags to match, which may have since lost a bit of their lustre.

An example is Noosa Heads, where surging property prices fuelled by waves of sea-changers pushed unit prices in the exclusive Sunshine Coast enclave up by $550,000 in the year to May 2023 – a whopping 41% increase.

But over the past year, the suburb’s median sale price fell by about 17%, or $317,500.

Property prices in sea change hotspot Noosa have swung up and down over recent years. Picture: Getty

The swings in pricing in popular coastal hotspots could reflect a shift in the balance of supply and demand, PropTrack senior economist Eleanor Creagh said.

“In some sea-change and holiday destinations, we have also seen an uplift in properties for sale,” she said.

This two-bedroom Noosa Heads unit sold for $1.565 million, just below the suburb's median unit price. Picture:

“At the same time higher interest rates, the ability to travel internationally and restrictions on Airbnb have weakened demand to purchase from the heights reached during the pandemic boom.”

“This has seen median sale prices in some of these destinations falling over the past year.”

Capital city suburbs with big price swings - houses

Source: PropTrack. Suburbs ranked by % decline in value between May 2023 to May 2024.
  Suburb State Region (SA4)  Median sale price  % change May 22 to May 23  % change May 23 to May 24
1 Warrandyte VIC Melbourne - Outer East  $1,400,000 10.6% -15.2%
2 Throsby ACT Australian Capital Territory  $1,030,000 16.3% -14.9%
3 Joyner QLD Moreton Bay - South  $ 870,000 19.0% -11.9%
4 Glenorie NSW Sydney - Baulkham Hills and Hawkesbury  $2,510,000 19.1% -10.4%
5 Bonner ACT Australian Capital Territory  $895,000 10.9% -8.7%
6 South Maclean QLD Logan - Beaudesert  $ 70,000 11.1% -8.2%
7 Henley Beach SA Adelaide - West  $1,377,500 17.1% -6.6%
8 Glenhaven NSW Sydney - Baulkham Hills and Hawkesbury  $2,470,000 15.9% -6.1%
9 Deanside VIC Melbourne - West  $ 600,000 13.7% -4.9%
10 Maddingley VIC Melbourne - West  $ 620,000 11.1% -4.6%

Prices have also gone through ups and downs in leafy suburbs on the urban fringe, such as Glenorie on Sydney’s northwest. 

The median house price in the semi-rural suburb rose $450,000 in the year to May 2023 to reach $2.8 million. A year later, homes were selling for $290,000 cheaper.

This four-bedroom home on a large leafy block in Glenorie recently sold for $1.975 million. Picture:

The rise and fall of prices in these suburbs reflects trends stemming from the pandemic, when buyers sought lifestyle changes, bigger properties or both as a way of escaping or coping with lockdowns.

But with the pandemic behind us and interest rates much higher, demand has normalised.

In leafy Warrandyte in Melbourne’s northwest, the median house price fell about 15% over the past year after rising about 11% the year prior.

Local real estate agent Traci Stella of Marshall White Manningham said the suburb’s popularity had boomed since the pandemic.

“We saw a big shift post-Covid for Warrandyte because everyone wanted to get out of the hustle and bustle of the city and they wanted big spaces for the kids,” she said.

“Many years ago you couldn’t sell anything out here, but now it tends to be very trendy, particularly with a lot of the younger generation coming from the inner city markets.”

This older-style three-bedroom Warrandyte home recently home sold for just under $1 million. Picture:

Ms Stella said prices plateaued over the past year as high building and borrowing costs affected the kinds of properties buyers were targeting, and they prices they were willing to pay.

“We’re finding the homes that are renovated or well-presented are still selling well with multiple offers,” she said. 

“Some people love the mid-century feel and those properties can go nuts too.”

“But properties that are really old and needing a lot of work, buyers are steering clear because of the cost of renovating. Interest rates are still scaring people a bit.”

Regional suburbs with big price swings - houses

Source: PropTrack. Suburbs ranked by % decline in value between May 2023 to May 2024.
  Suburb State Region (SA4)  Median sale price  % change May 22 to May 23  % change May 23 to May 24
1 Tocumwal NSW Murray  $477,500 42.3% -22.4%
2 Tweed Heads NSW Richmond - Tweed  $1,125,000 17.8% -18.7%
3 Portland NSW Central West  $415,000 24.1% -16.4%
4 East Launceston TAS Launceston and North East  $790,000 16.6% -15.3%
5 Queenton QLD Townsville  $215,000 12.4% -14.0%
6 Beaufort VIC Ballarat  $405,000 13.3% -13.8%
7 Westbury TAS Launceston and North East  $547,500 20.2% -12.4%
8 Ballarat North VIC Ballarat  $570,000 14.6% -12.0%
9 Clear Island Waters QLD Gold Coast  $1,817,500 13.9% -11.3%
10 Merimbula NSW Capital Region  $862,500 11.1% -11.3%

Many regional suburbs where house prices came off the boil were relatively affordable areas, with most having a median sale price below $1 million.

In Tocumwal, a small town in the Murray region of NSW near the Victorian border, the median price shot up 42% to $615,500 in one year before falling 22% to $477,500 in the next.

Local real estate agent Jonathan Graham of Kerr Estate Agents said the initial surge was driven by buyers escaping the city, but prices pulled back as the cost of living rose.

This three-bedroom Tweed Heads house sold for $1.195 million in May, a little higher than the suburb's median house price. Picture:

Meanwhile in Tweed Heads, the big post-pandemic run-up in prices had prompted more people to look in surrounding suburbs such as Tweed Heads West and Tweed Heads South, where properties were a bit more affordable, according to local real estate agent and PRD Coolangatta Tweed principal Jason Abbott

He said prices in the area did plateau for a period of time, but the lack of stock had prevented significant price falls as interest rates rose.

In the unit market, there were big price jumps in the year to May 2023 in city suburbs such as Caulfield South in Melbourne and Unley in Adelaide, as well as regional areas such as East Toowoomba in Queensland and East Albury in NSW.

Capital city suburbs with big price swings - units

Source: PropTrack. Suburbs ranked by % decline in value between May 2023 to May 2024.
  Suburb State Region (SA4)  Median sale price  % change May 22 to May 23  % change May 23 to May 24
1 Milton QLD Brisbane Inner City  $481,000 14.1% -23.7%
2 Point Frederick NSW Central Coast  $740,000 25.2% -23.3%
3 North Fremantle WA Perth - South West  $827,500 14.1% -18.1%
4 Campbelltown SA Adelaide - Central and Hills  $460,000 14.5% -17.9%
5 Unley SA Adelaide - Central and Hills  $566,000 21.9% -17.9%
6 Caulfield South VIC Melbourne - Inner South  $772,000 31.9% -17.0%
7 Petersham NSW Sydney - City and Inner South  $780,000 15.1% -14.8%
8 Annandale NSW Sydney - City and Inner South  $952,500 13.3% -14.2%
9 Claremont TAS Hobart  $447,250 17.5% -13.5%
10 Brighton East VIC Melbourne - Inner South  $1,025,900 16.5% -10.8%

However, prices peaked last year in these suburbs, with median sale prices now more than 20% lower than a year ago.

Ms Creagh said a pullback in median prices could sometimes indicate a softening in market conditions, which could stem from buyers having more choice, and the supply of properties for sale outweighing demand.

The median unit price in Caulfield South is $772,000, which is 17% lower than a year ago. This two-bedroom unit sold for a little higher than that. Picture:

“The apartment market held up better when prices were falling in 2022, with city living having resumed and the relative discount units offer buoying demand as interest rates quickly rose, denting borrowing capacities,” she said,

“Since then some inner city regions have seen a large uplift in the number of new listings hitting the market increasing choice for buyers.

“As a result, even though housing affordability has deteriorated significantly as interest rates have risen and the apartment market offers a relative discount, some suburbs have seen median sales prices fall.”

Regional suburbs with big price swings - units

Source: PropTrack. Suburbs ranked by % decline in value between May 2023 to May 2024.
  Suburb State Region (SA4)  Median sale price  % change May 22 to May 23  % change May 23 to May 24
1 East Toowoomba QLD Toowoomba  $400,000 57.6% -23.1%
2 Tewantin QLD Sunshine Coast  $665,000 45.4% -17.4%
3 East Albury NSW Murray  $310,000 43.9% -17.2%
4 Noosa Heads QLD Sunshine Coast  $1,582,500 40.7% -16.7%
5 Dubbo NSW Far West and Orana  $330,000 21.0% -12.0%
6 Armidale NSW New England and North West  $320,000 12.5% -11.1%
7 Morwell VIC Latrobe - Gippsland  $262,500 30.0% -10.3%
8 Geelong VIC Geelong  $657,500 12.3% -9.9%
9 Muswellbrook NSW Hunter Valley exc Newcastle  $295,000 41.3% -9.2%
10 Queanbeyan NSW Capital Region  $420,000 17.1% -9.2%

Ms Creagh said big swings in median sale prices could also reflect the different types of properties sold over the 12 month period.

For example, a greater proportion of one-bedroom units selling in one year could cause a suburb’s overall median unit price to be a little lower.